The weather was not ideal for the school holidays with torrential rain and wind warnings in force for much of the country, keeping most people hunkered down inside. However, with a short respite in the weather mid-break, the New Lynn Sea Scouts were quick to make use of the window to get out and explore the Hauraki Gulf.
The younger Scouts were the first to set off for three days on Ponui Island. The intention was to sail across from Kawakawa Bay on the Friday, but high winds forced the decision to journey under oars to minimise the chance of a capsize enroute. With the wind and tide off their stern quarter it was a fast, but challenging, one-hour row in the chop. Setting up camp on the foreshore with the sea breeze was the next challenge, but completed before sunset.
With Ponui’s donkeys proving an effective alarm clock, Saturday was spent exploring, sailing, relaxing, and setting a long line – the resulting fish quickly devoured with the evening meal. The main meal of roast chicken and veggies was cooked on an open fire, a new experience for many of the scouts.
“In the city it’s challenging to find a spot to relax around a fire at night, away from phones and internet” says Andrew, one of the leaders, “so it was an experience appreciated by all.”
On Sunday the boats were optimistically rigged in the morning, but in contrast to the heavy winds on Friday the little fleet was becalmed – so the oars were put to good use again.
Back at Kawakawa Bay the senior scouts took over the boats and headed off for their 4-day sailing expedition, taking in Ponui, Waiheke and Motuihe Islands before landing at Westhaven Marina in the city. With the wind a no-show on the third day, the oars were once again put to good use.
In Term 3 the group will focus on racing training as they prepare for their National Regatta title defence this Christmas/New Year in Porirua. A successful defence will see New Lynn claim the longest winning streak in the nearly one-hundred-year history of the competition, testing them on numerous skills including rowing, sailing, swimming, lifesaving, canoeing, ironman, seamanship and camping.
However, the programme is not all competition; the primary focus is on building confidence around water and developing life skills while having heaps of fun along the way.