Year 12 school captain and valued member of the Wilsonton Academy (Toowoomba, QLD), Bundharra Wightman experienced a voyage of a lifetime as a member of the Young Endeavour crew in July.
He was invited aboard the 30 year old twin-masted ship by Westside, part of Clontarf partner Landbridge. Following his epic journey, Bundharra penned a speech which he delivered to fellow Wilsonton Academy members, outlining his adventure with the amazing new friends he had made. The speech can be read in full below.
“First of all I want you all to imagine spending 10 days without your phone, 10 days without Wifi, 10 days without your family, 10 days without Fortnite (video game), 10 nights in a triple deck bunk with 27 complete strangers and a toilet the size of a school locker. Well, this is exactly what I did during the school holidays.
Through Clontarf and their partner Landbridge, I was selected to hop on board the Young Endeavour and sail from Gladstone to Brisbane on a tall ship known as a brigantine – a two-masted sailing ship with a square-rigged foremast and a mainmast rigged fore and aft. She measures 44 metres and displaces 239 tonnes of water. This ship, known as the Young Endeavour, was a gift from the UK Government to the Australian Navy and serves for the soul purpose of challenging and educating the youth of Australia.
We were taught how to set and furl sails, navigate the seas, master the swells and most importantly, how to work together as a team.
I learnt many things on this trip. I found out that I am definitely a fresh water murri. I spent roughly three hours of nonstop gagging and vomiting when the captain had told me to have a rest on the top deck. Little did I know I had spent two whole days and nights face planted, passed out with no knowledge of what was going on around me. It literally felt like time travel – it was by far the worst experience of my life.
But despite the sea sickness, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. The people I met, the things I learnt and the moments I had upon that ship will never leave me.
Throughout our time upon the Young Endeavour, we were luckily enough to visit places such as, Herron Island, Lady Musgrave Island and Tangelooma. It was filled with excitement and curiosity as we had no idea about what was to come next. The only thing we were sure of was ‘Command Day’. This tasked us ‘youthies’ with sailing and productively running the entire ship for a whole 24 hours with no guidance by the staff what so ever – just the things we had learnt about the boat in previous days to successfully keep the ship afloat.
At one point our student navigator, who happened to be the youngest person on the boat, had mislead us, resulting in a lot of panic, but we got through it. We were voted into certain positions – captain, sail master, navigator, watch leaders and (most importantly) the chefs. I was voted to be a chef and let’s just say that my chicken pesto was a hit.
Who knew these 11 days would be the best experience of my life. As Captain Adam Charlie Farely had told us at the beginning of the journey, “we might be complete strangers now but I guarantee you guys will be family the day we reach Brisbane.”
Me being me, I looked around and thought there is now way in hell that I’m going to like these people, I’m not going to fit in, I am the only Indigenous person here.
I was just a little too quick to judge.
If you were to ask me what my favorite experience was I would have to say meeting these amazing people. And snorkelling! I can’t forget the time I was enjoying a nice little swim and a white tipped reef shark decided to say g’day. Honestly I needed to change my boardie’s. Luckily the nerves were settled by a few turtles and sting rays.
I seriously recommend this opportunity to all, you will learn life lessons and how to overcome challenges. It will change you. As if I haven’t said this enough, this was the best experience of my life.
It’s opportunities like this that are provided by the Clontarf Foundation and their wide array of partners across Australia, that enable us to step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves that will help set us up for life after school.
Today I challenge you boys to step outside your comfort zone, tell your story, make a great impression on our partners and who knows what could happen in the days, weeks, months, years to come.”
Bundarra’s amazing journey represents the third time that a Clontarf academy member has had the opportunity to sail aboard the Young Endeavour as a result of our partnership with Landbridge. The Foundation would like to thank Landbridge for their ongoing support and for providing life changing opportunities for the young men in our programme.