I went on my first Ultimate Challenge voyage in 2018. As a part of the KIC iDiversity program I got awarded this as a scholarship and it was the best time yet. There is nothing better than spending five days away from your devices and the real world to just have a go at something new. Last week I went back on the Leeuwin and it was the best time ever.
When I say to people, I’m going on the Leeuwin most people think it’s a holiday ship, but it’s really not. The Leeuwin is where you go to try something different and new, and for me it has just done exactly that.
The Ultimate Challenge is the only tall ship in Australia that has a voyage which is modified for disabled people. So, on this voyage there are about 40 participants on board, half of these guys have a disability and the other half are support workers, but we don’t know who our support worker is until we arrive on the Leeuwin on the day of the voyage.
When we arrived at the Leeuwin, we were given a watch to go to. There was green watch, red watch, blue watch and the best watch of them all … white watch. I was in white watch last time that I came on the boat as well as this time, I actually thought it would be the exact same trip 😅 Yes it was the same, but the people that you meet on the boat are always different. 7-8 people where in a watch each. Within those watches we were paired with our buddies. With having cerebral palsy; I need some help here and there and especially on a ship, as my balance isn’t that great. I needed help with getting my harness on as that is quite fiddly and sometimes getting around on the boat, as my legs aren’t always awake 😅
When I went on the Leeuwin the second time a few things have changed. One of the changes to the Leeuwin was climbing, when I went on in 2018 there wasn’t any hang test before you could climb up the mast. With me having cerebral palsy my hands tighten up when I hold onto something, in other words that naturally comes to me. We had to hang with our feet up in the air for 15 seconds, and in the end, I couldn’t even do that, but oh well. we can’t change everything … right?! My biggest goal for this voyage was to get up on the first platform of the mask as I didn’t get up their last time, but I’m happy with what I got out of it anyway.
With having no phone for five days it was a little bit challenging, but in the end, I got through it. I know that the support workers as well as the crew on board were allowed their phone, but I believed the best thing for me right then and there was to leave it at home. Throughout this voyage we had a lot of entertainment such as singing and dancing in the morning while cleaning the ship as well as some bits and pieces at night before everyone went to bed.
More stories are to come
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