Day 1 – 2
As each participant arrived to form this new group of navigators there were plenty of hugs and smiles to say goodbye to loved ones. Once a brief silly game had been played and names exchanged they got straight into their gear issue. They then transferred from the heart of the Walpole to the Nornalup National Park where they had a brief hike to their first night camp site. Arriving by head torch they got straight into setting up their shelters and dinner preparation. After learning a bit more about each other they retreated to their shelters for their first night’s sleep amongst the coast scrub and sand.
Morning broke early with bright rays of sunshine which delighted not only the participants but the instructors too! ‘Up and attam’ for a morning warm up before getting straight into camp pack down. Before leaving for their hike the group learnt about different navigation techniques and the art of expeditioning. Learning to navigate was a totally new experience for some of the group and working together to reach designated check points is certainly helping this group to bond as a team. Apart from hiking through some spectacular sand dunes and spotting dolphins surfing in 6-8 foot clean surf, the highlight of the day was definitely finding their campsite! This friendly, curious and at times shy group is showing great care for each other already.
Day 3 – 4
Today the group hiked through untracked terrain to a location opposite Rocky Crossing to collect their rafting gear. After an experiential team and initiative activity the group was rewarded with a beautiful paddle down the Frankland River and into the Nornalup Inlet before making their way to a camp site near the water’s edge. Rafting was a great opportunity for participants to get to know each other better and they learned a lot about their abilities to persist during a difficult expedition.
On Day 4 the group continued rafting through Nornalup Inlet and into Deep River. They undertook a service activity clearing creeper vines on nearby land. Service for the betterment of others and the environment is a big part of Outward Bound’s Core Values. During service the group was super enthusiastic, they easily grasped the benefits of service; why we do it and how they can do their own service in the future. Plus they had lots of laughs and completed the project in super time. Today the group felt happy and accomplished, informal leadership skills are developing and a sense of fun competitiveness is being created.
Today entailed a full day of roping activities in the gorgeous Karri and Peppe Trees South West WA is renowned for. The activities included a giant ladder, low ropes and high ropes. All participants faced their fears and pushed through their nerves. A deeper level of trust in others is developing, as well as a stronger belief in yourself. After such a great day the group was feeling proud that they completed the range of rope challenges in such a supportive environment. The group was also really inspired by their nominated leaders today.
Today’s expedition was to Long Point. There was some tricky and at times confusing navigation over the sand dunes. The group was challenged but came together to support each other and keep motivation high. Despite feeling tired and exhausted they were still able to appreciate the beauty of the local flora and fauna: catapilla chains, beautiful Dyandra style Banksia and an unknown insect! Along the way they held a mid-course debrief where they were treated to gorgeous views of the ocean, before arriving at their solo activity site. With everyone feeling tired, solo provided a good opportunity to rest, reflect and clear their minds.
The group continued their solo activity. With each participant allocated their own campsite, with basic rations and equipment, it was a fantastic opportunity to rejuvenate minds and bodies. As they returned back to the group it was amazing how time apart surprisingly bonded the group even more. They held an honest, genuine, worth while and heart felt feedback session, sharing poems, promises, stories drawings from their solo experience.
Now into Day 8 and the team is very close and have really accepted each other and become good friends which will prepare them well for their final expedition. During this time, the instructors step back even more, with the participants taking greater ownership of the course. Before heading off, the group undertook a range of navigation and team challenges in order to strengthen their skills and team work, as well as have fun! There was a little bit of disappointment with one of the initiative activities undertaken (‘The Box’) – too much good banter and solid friendships mean that sometimes you lose focus on the task as hand.
This expedition will take the group along part of the Bibbulumum Track. With beautiful coastal views, expanses of hundreds of grass trees, kangaroos and spotting a red strawberry bee, the group is having an awesome time full of lessons but most importantly fun. They are fired up and super keen for their final days on program.
The group continued their expedition today to Fisherman’s Hut. Their navigation skills were challenged yesterday and today, particularly navigating over Cliffy Head. There was quite a bit of burnt landscape from controlled burns that occurred in the area last year which made for charcoaled clothing and skin! It was a great relief to arrive at their destination today where they were rewarded with an extra solo session on the Broke Inlet shore. The group is feeling tired but happy to have finished this expedition and arrive at Fisherman’s Hut. The end point to their program is in sight and there is additional excitement in the air knowing their journey is close to complete.
The group started their final full-day on program in great spirits. A huge day was planned rafting across Broke Inlet – a paddle that takes some groups 2 days to achieve. However, for this highly functioning group they pushed hard to achieve it in one day where they had a final night bush cook celebration!
This has been an experience of a lifetime with great people! They have taken themselves to some remote parts of south west WA with spectacular views which seemed even more special, given the challenges (not just physical) it took to achieve them. Congratulations to all – a special network of friendships has developed over the last 12 days and the personal realisation that each participant is capable of achieving so much more than they ever thought possible!
Outward Bound has partnered with Australian Lions Clubs for over 50 years to give local youth the opportunity to take a unique journey of challenging, yet fun-filled self-discovery. Their contribution ensures that even more young Australians get the chance to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Outward Bound Australia wishes to thank the following Lions Clubs for sponsoring participants on this program: Northam, Manjimup, Cowaramup, Denmark. Also, a big thanks to the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund (AOBDF) and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation for sponsoring a participant on this program.