Thursday, 16 June 2016

‘My highlight was climbing to the top of the mast!’

Hi! My name is Tracey and I took part in the Morgenster tall ship voyage from Belfast to the Isle of Man, Dublin and Cork.

I was the only person on board from Irish Girl Guides or, in fact, any uniformed organisation. I was one of 36 trainees. The group was mixed and from all walks of life and included two people who are partially-sighted.

We were placed into working groups and worked on a four-hour watch. My watch was from 8 to 12 morning and night. We also had a Happy Hour daily when everyone worked on cleaning the ship to music.

I was very nervous, shy and worried that I would find it hard as I have dyspraxia and don’t have a great sense of balance. My highlight was climbing the mast more than once and even going to the highest point. I did not fall off, did not get injured and was very pleased with myself.

In Belfast we visited a navy vessel. We berthed in Castletown in the
Isle of Man and went by bus into Douglas. In Dublin I acted as a guide to some of the other trainees and showed them around Dublin.  We went on a camping trip to Wicklow overnight and then went on to Cork.

I was very homesick and found it hard to be with 36 strangers 24/7 for two weeks in the ship’s confines. Most of the other trainees knew nothing about Girl Guides and were very interested in what I had done during my years in Guides.

I have been involved in Guiding since I came to live with my family when I was three. I have been at all the international camps here in Ireland during that time. I went to Saskatchewan in Canada as a Guide in 2007, and to India as a Leader in 2014.

The trip on the Tall Ship was the first time that I went anywhere without my friends in Guiding or a member of my family. I am very pleased that I did do it. It was the experience of a lifetime.

I did make a lot of friends and proved that I could overcome my disability and fears. I would encourage anyone who gets the chance to take it.

Thank you to IGG and Sail Training Ireland for the opportunity.

~ Tracey Cummins, Leader with Kiltale/Culmullen and Dunshaughlin Units

During her voyage Tracey was interviewed by RTE News2day. You can watch the clip here.  

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