South West Navigator – 2015

Day 1

It was a late afternoon arrival for the newly formed team so they got straight into getting their gear and learning the ins and outs of camping with Outward bound. They settled into camp well and although there are still some nerves, there are also laughs as well. Everyone is looking forward to getting stuck into the adventure ahead.

Day 2

“Take things one step at a time and focus on what you’re doing in the moment. Keep moving and don’t stop or it’ll be harder to start again (despite how good it feels).”

Today was the crews first full day on program. The group has learnt a lot already and after a lesson on navigation they set off hiking. They found it funny watching people fall over whilst putting on and carrying their packs for the first time. Mother Nature turned it on for the gang as the sun was out whilst they hiked along the epic expanse of beach away from Conspicuous Cliffs. They made their way across sand dunes and into the thick shrub to find their way to their next camp spot – Rocky Crossing, on the banks of the Franklin River.

A mixed bag of emotions by the end of the day as the team was exhausted from bush bashing. Nonetheless they’re feeling a sense of achievement on completing their first full day and coming together as a team.

Day 3

Today the gang spent the morning learning about leadership, so that they could later appoint leaders for each day. The opportunity to lead the team for an entire day provides each participant with an opportunity to feel out where their strengths lie in management. They also spent the morning on group building activities and initiatives focusing on what they want to achieve from course and setting some goals to that end.

After lunch the group swam across the beautiful Frankland River where they found a hideaway of rafting gear to use for the next leg of the journey. After pumping up the rafts they loaded them up with their packs, said goodbye to the land and paddled to their next campsite at Colemine Beach. The crew are starting to feel confident with each other and the routine of camp set up and pack down. They all enjoyed a rest day for their legs, however currents are strong (especially if you have a head wind to paddle against) so instead they got to give their arms a work out. It also meant having to be a bit more dependent and trusting of your team mates, even though by the end of it they all wished they could have walked on water.

Day 4

Day four saw the group raft 9km across the Nornalup Inlet and up the Deep River near the coast. They pulled up at the Gerner’s property and had the opportunity to do some service. This is where the crew was asked to help out the Gerner’s, long-time friends and supporters of Outward bound. The gang was invited to pull out weeds and clean up the area, which kindly they all agreed to do. The group learnt how important teamwork was as today they were a little divided on decision making and it made things difficult. Nonetheless they persevered with themselves and each other making the day a success overall. The team then walked a short distance to their camp next to the Deep river in the heart of the Karri forest. After another long day on the water the crew are excited about having a fire in camp tonight.

Day 5

Today the group spent a more relaxed day at the Giant ladder, Low Ropes and High Ropes courses. They focused on obstacles and how to get over them both literally and figuratively, as well as goal setting and more importantly achieving those goals. Everyone had a crack at the high ropes course which is suspended up in the Karri trees and ends with a flying fox. For some in the crew this was a radical activity and a big achievement. The group is feeling closer and comfortable with each other as the journey goes on and is evident in how they are working as a unit and the laughter around the camp fire.

Day 6

“If we really put our minds to it we can achieve our goals no matter how impossible it seems”.

The instructors stepped back from the group today giving the team more responsibility for their own management, as the group left the block and navigated themselves to Long Point. This can be a challenge for a dysfunctional team but not our crew as they successfully made it to the campsite on time and together. Even though it was a slow morning getting out of camp they still met their time goals later in the day. They cooked dinner and watched the spectacular sunset over the Southern ocean.

Overall our adventures are proud of their new found independence and a bit nervous for the challenges to come.

Day 7

Today the group faced a challenge of a different kind. They were given a tarp and some food then placed in solitude for 24 hours to reflect on their achievements so far. It is also an opportunity to think about their lives past, present and future. The weather tested their skills on building a shelter as the rain poured down and the winds were strong. However they persevered and the instructors were happy that everyone was as safe and as dry as they could be.

Whilst the group found it challenging to be alone for a whole day, the also enjoyed a break and time to relax.

Day 8

Reunited again after a night on solo the team came together to talk about their experience on solo and the course so far. They then began to prepare for their final expedition. This is the time to put everything they’ve learnt over the last week into action as they take full responsibility and independence of themselves for the rest of the program. Planning their route they set off on their hike to their next campsite following a track leading them along a cliffy edge of the coast and down along the beach.

The gang are feeling well rested and excited for their final expedition. Being alone for 24 hours on solo was challenging, as has been the weather. The crews biggest learning has been communication as it “is the key to navigating well and having fun along the way”.

Day 9

Today saw the gang start their expedition proper up an over Cliffy Head. This is an amazing little mountain overlooking the cliffy coastline of the great Southern Ocean on one side and the Broke inlet on the other. It was goodbye to the coast as the team turned back inland, descending into the dunes and coastal swamp. Today’s biggest challenge was climbing 242m above sea level and navigating themselves through large hills and valleys. Tonight the crew search for an expedition campsite and make the best of what places there are along the way.

Day 10

This morning the group were given a bunch of initiatives to test their teamwork skills. They have been through much the last week and have come together as a unit, which was evident in the success they had in the challenge. Today sees the last day of expedition and what is the final day of real hiking for our crew. They were also given the challenge to teach a skill throughout the day to the rest of the group. There is an excited atmosphere in the air even though the guys are tired, they want to finish strong. They continued to battle their way through the marshes making their way to Broke Inlet and a delightful little campsite called Fisherman’s hut. The guys were stoked to get there in daylight and felt fresh from a swim in the inlet. The guys then had a serious chat and a peer feedback session during an amazing sunset which was both positive and constructive.

Day 11

The last full day of program and the guys are stoked. A morning paddle is what the doctor ordered, so off they went across the Broke inlet to a waiting bus on the other side. The guys were wrapped to be in a seat of a car for the first time in 10 days as they were driven back to the heart of the Karri forest for their final debrief and celebration dinner. The group spent the rest of the night explaining what this trip meant to them and what they learnt whilst giving feedback to other group members and thinking about the feedback received. The group is feeling proud of themselves, you can feel a sense of accomplishment radiating from the group however they are also sad they have to say goodbye to new friends.

Day 12

Today was a day of mixed emotions as it is the last day of the navigator program. The gang did some service for Outward Bound this morning by helping them clean and store the gear they had been borrowing. Then it was time for a shower and presentation to receive their certificate of completion and compass rose pin. It was then time to say their final goodbyes before one by one they were picked up.

Outward Bound would like to thank all participants and parents for their support and involvement on this program.

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