Amine was full of anticipation and excitement as he prepared for his Future Connect voyage on the tall ship Leeuwin ll, setting out from Fremantle Harbour. It didn’t take long for him to realise he had a challenge on his hands. “I was sea sick for three days,” he told NLSC News.
The sickness passed but the challenges didn’t as Amine and his fellow sailors got to know each other, learned how sails work and became accustomed to the strange language of sailing – a mixture of French, English, Greek and all sorts of ancient words and terms. A tall ship never stops when it’s out to sea so the sailors, who came from schools around WA, had something else to get used to – keeping watch at night.
“There were six people in bunk beds in each cabin,” Amine said, “It was very comfortable but every four hours you had to get up to take your turn at watch. It was hard, I don’t really get up at two in the morning!”
After a few days at sea the crew called for volunteers to give instructions: “I raised my hand and so I was a leader for two days,” Amine said. He also took on the biggest challenge of the journey – climbing to the top of the highest mast. “It was a bit scary. The sea was rough and the boat was moving around. But when I got to the top I was just laughing as I looked out at the amazing view.” Those who manage to get to the top of the 33-metre mast find a plaque containing a message in words and Braille. They are sworn to secrecy about the contents of the message.
When he got back to land things seemed different for Amine. “For a while it felt like everything was moving and it was strange to see houses and cars. I realised that I had been in a different world. It was definitely the best experience of my life.”
Ship note: After he returned from the Future Connect voyage Amine received a letter from the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation commending him on his enthusiasm and participation. He was been invited to sail again as a Leeuwin Volunteer Crew member and with training and experience he could one day receive a rating allowing him to sail as crew.