Thursday, 11 June 2015

'My voyage on a tall ship was the best experience I've ever had!'

Four members of Irish Girl Guides took part in a tall ships voyage on board The Spirit of the Oystercatcher from Warrenpoint to Dublin from 25th – 29th May. Here Lisa Uhlemann, a Leader with Naas Girl Guides, writes about the experience:

The first day I set off from Naas, Co. Kildare, all the way up to Warrenpoint Harbour at 10am on that Monday morning. It was quite scary, but at the same time exciting, as I had no idea what I had let myself in for and what was needed to be done.

I met Owen and Zach - both the instructors for the week. They showed us the yacht inside and out, the rooms we were going to sleep in (which were very small), the kitchen, the living area, the control panels and the helm. The girls, including myself, either came from Irish Girl Guides or the Catholic Guides of Ireland.

We set sail around 3pm and that was the start of the journey onto the Irish Sea. We went down to Clogherhead, docked and spent the night there on the yacht. The next day we got up, ate breakfast and brought up the anchor and set sail. We did a lot of work; we were taught how to read maps and to also plan out a route for the adventure.

When we docked for that night in Balbriggan, the instructors were very nice to set up a rope swing and we all one-by-one swung on the rope and into the water. Mind you, the water was very cold but refreshing at the same time!

When we woke up on Wednesday morning we got up on deck after breakfast and I taught Zumba as we all wanted to warm up for the day ahead. I am a fully-qualified Zumba instructor. During the day, on the way to Howth, it got very windy and was pouring down with rain and, because the yacht was rocking up and down, most people got very sea-sick. The highlight, though, was that we got to see dolphins and a seal. We were also taught how to tie ropes and use them on the yacht.

On Thursday we started to make our way down towards Killiney Bay. We got off the yacht and walked into the village for supplies as we had run out of a few things. It was nice to stretch the legs; however, they felt like jelly and I was swaying from side to side like I was still on the yacht … not fun!

We found out that the next day we would be leading the Riverfest Tall Ships into Dublin Bay… it was quite exciting, don’t you think? The Friday was our last day and we started to move up to Dublin. When we got there, we saw all the other tall ships. All the boats followed us into Dublin Bay. After we docked into Dublin, we got off the boat and headed off home.

It was the best experience I’ve had and, if there was another opportunity to do it again, I would. I enjoyed every bit of it J

All I will say is that, if there is something you want to do, just give it a go! Never leave it and think that in the future you could have done it. Do it for yourself!

~ Lisa Uhlemann, Naas Girl Guides Leader

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