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Posted on May 16th 2016
Day one of USKA Boys sailing trip
The students and staff set off early Monday morning with a sense of expectation and wonder. What exactly did the sailing trip have in store for those involved? Would new skills be learnt? Would there be new challenges to be overcome? Maybe new friends could be made along with memories to keep for a lifetime.
Mr Baird was personally surprised by the amount of luggage that was brought by the boys involved; perhaps one of the large bags contained a kitchen sink. Surely though, the number of bags and supplies was sign of how concerned the boys’ parents were for their children’s welfare rather than a desire for some of the boys to show off their varied and fashionable wardrobes over the course of the three days...
The coach journey was uneventful. The boys were well behaved and there was not a mobile phone in sight; a positive start indeed. Rain did hang ominously over the roof of the bus along the way, but had dissipated by the time the merry troupe had reached the ferry terminal.
Once on the ferry, many of the boys occupied themselves with card games and continued to devour their never ending supplies of snacks supplied by home. Though not an army, we seemed to have enough sustenance in tow to feed one!
Ah! Arrival! Once at the Isle of Wight we were met by the USKA sailing team who promptly took care of our luggage and then led us on foot to the UKSA headquarters where we would reside for the next three days. The boys were placed into the spacious, warm bunks and quickly began to feel at home. Students were also given a master class in making their beds by Ms Richardson.
The comfort was not to last however...
Our first encounter with the water was imminent and in preparation students were given wet suits, life preservers and helmets; health and safety being of the upmost importance on such adventures.
The water was cold! Like ice it was! But the Invictus boys were brave! All took to the water with gusto and aplomb! Billy, Demoy, Rudi and Oghemetega especially loved "bombing" into the water off the pontoon. Many came out with more confidence than when they went in and, if they came out with less, it certainly didn’t show! All were tired and keen to have a well-deserved shower and hot meal. What would day two bring?
UKSA Day Two
The boys were woken early in order to get ready for the day's events. Kayaking was on the menu. All the boys did well to learn how to paddle properly and control the direction in which they were heading. Some struggled to stay in the kayak, however, thanks to their buoyancy aids and knowledge of what to do if a capsize did indeed occur, our sailors were off and ready to go again in no time!
Following the unpredicted snow and hail stones, the boys afternoon activities had to be amended. "Team Games" were on the menu instead. Rounders, races and football were just some of the activities on offer. These were organised and delivered by the instructors and took place at a nearby field. After a day of solid, unrelenting activity, many of our young mariners were utterly tired and were sent to bed soon after dinner. The lack of noise from the rooms suggested that there had indeed been a vast amount of energy expended over the last few hours!
UKSA Day Three
Students were up early for breakfast, ready for their final day on the water. The boys helped themselves to a big breakfast and packed up their belongings prior to check out. Some coped with the task of packing up better than others… all eventually got there.
Everyone was excited for the dingy trip! The conditions were perfect for a morning of sailing- clear blue skies with a light breeze. Typical conditions of the English summer time! Students were paired up and set sail down the river. The boys desperately tried not to capsize as the thought of being cold again was haunting them. Sadly, Billy and Diago capsized and fell in the water, but like the heroes of Dunkirk, they hauled themselves out of the salty water, back onto their ship, to make the voyage home! By the end of the session the boys were able to sail confidently and to navigate to different locations. It was a lot of fun.
We then sadly had to say goodbye to our instructors and leave the Isle of Wight and head back to England’s main land. This unique environment challenged all students to step out of their comfort zone and work together as a team.
A special well done to the following:
Kingsley- for getting in the open waters and overcoming his fear of water.
Demoy and Otega- for being so helpful during our stay and being the first to always say "I'll go first" .
Jevon- for optimism and a positive attitude.
Billy- for his efforts and verbal answers during discussion.
Taynile- for being the best all round boy and his gentlemanly conduct.
Deigo’s bag- for finding its way back to him.