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Challenger 2 – Wiltshire Scouts

By Kate Stewart - August 14th, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

On board Challengers 2 and 3 this week, we have two groups from Wiltshire Scouts joining us for a residential adventure to the Channel Islands and back.

Check out the blog below to find out what those on board Challenger 2 have been getting up to so far.

Day 1

Sunday 13

Today. What a day. We’re all still alive – although we may have left a little part of ourselves on that six-hour train journey. The look of universal despair when we discovered that we’d have to wait two hours for train number two was enough to convince the leaders that a trip to Bath for McDonald’s, Burger King, Greggs, Fudge, and a riveting toilet trip was necessary to keep us going. This was definitely a good decision, considering we were told our train wasn’t going to get to Portsmouth at all and could only face Fratton. Luckily the wait was only HALF AN HOUR.

After this arduous and eventful journey on which we have got to know ourselves (and certain others that we’d never met) better than ever before, we stepped off the final train to greet the swashbuckling Derek and his biscuits. It’s possible the latter were more welcome (there were custard creams!!). By supper (bolognese, garlic bread, and CHEESE) we had prepped the deck for our night sail towards Alderney, learnt the workings of the humble winch, fitted life jackets and oilskins, and made ourselves at home in our berths.

Now, we are fed, we are briefed, and we are ready.

By Astrid, Wren, and Elizabeth.

We would like to dedicate this blog to Molly and her partner Kevin. ​

Day 2

Monday 14

What a night!

Our first (and hopefully last!) night sail. Sitting on the cold hard steps and watching the stars (and meteors) flow past brings a calm sense of serenity. Being at the helm, however, does not. For someone who doesn’t like numbers, being told to go at 210 or 220 was a soul-twisting experience. The panic setting in after being told we were BEHIND THE OTHER CHALLENGER made a grim determination set in. This determination faded into humour after we learnt of Challenger 3’s losing battle to seasickness. After a while, the adrenaline faded and was replaced with teeth chattering cold that no amount of hot chocolate could cure. However, Steve never let the spirits drop with his tomfoolery.

What a morning!

To harbour in the lovely water of Alderney, we had to sacrifice the weaklings. We said our farewells to Kitty as she was unceremoniously chucked overboard to her untimely demise (we then came to the unfortunate conclusion that she was wearing two harnesses and it was all completely safe.) After almost losing two fine soldiers to a fatal case of seasickness we battled on and soon they awoke – just in time to see Challenger 3 mopping up their copious amounts of vomit from the deck. Somehow they managed to get it in the sail.

 What a day on land!

We hailed down a little diddy taxi (boat) and finally stepped foot on still, solid, dry ground once more. Unfortunately, the ground was not in fact still, solid or dry. Having survived the curse of seasickness, a new enemy struck us: LANDSICKNESS..

After taking a much-needed shower (some more than others), we set about integrating ourselves back into normal society. First mission of the day: climb a gargantuan hill to collect some bikes (and helmets, protection is key).

Upon completion of the mission, we took the bikes to visit the fort but only made it to the cows. There a disastrous accident occurred, a pedal rejected its bike and caused major inconvenience. Caught in a horrendous rainstorm, we took emergency shelter in an ice cream shop. Money was spent…

On return to the vessel, Steve was adamant he’d caught a fish – his words being ‘it was yeowge with big teef.’

By Molly, Elizabeth and Wrennifer.

We would like to dedicate this to Molly and her partner Kevin, and Wrennifer and her puffin cards.​

Day 3

Tuesday 15

What a day!

The sound of ‘Hey Macarena’ will forever haunt me. The image of a group of teenagers all dancing simultaneously but, also out of tune will be forever burnt into my mind (in a good way, I promise).  With this, we entertained our friends on Challenger 3, who were battling with their mooring buoy. After a slow but enjoyable start, we made our way past the Casquets (LOTS of rocks) and into the little Russel to the sound of Moana and Frozen, soon superseded by sea shanties.

With the Yankee and the Staysail up (overseen by Kitty and Molly), we made good time with NO seasickness. Everyone ate lunch! Washing up got decidedly wet as we approached St Peter’s Port (but luckily we’d already had a man overboard lesson, so we all made it out. Having arrived in Alderney to questionable weather, Guernsey welcomed us with shining seas and an azure sky.

The sea pool beckoned. This was surprisingly refreshing – and the actual sea on the other side was very entertaining. Some of us swam, but we all showered (except Derek, who had a nice diesel bath). The showers, oh the showers! They had hot water, space to hang belongings, A SEAT, and they properly drained (unlike the ones in Braye). We need no more from life.

Having tucked up our Challenger for a good night’s sleep, we wandered off into La Valette, while Terry journeyed TWO MILES for the premium (only) chips available on a Tuesday night. We savoured them with some fish and sausages. Refuelled, we set about scaling the mast – with no calamities and some stunning photos from the top (involving Kevin and Molly).

For something to sleep on, Steve told us Kevin’s backstory, a powerful one. Rubber ducks can be a beautiful metaphor for resilience.

Now we’re off to bed. What a day.

Written by Astrid, Kitty, Elizabeth, Wren, and Molly.

We would like to dedicate this blog to Molly and her partner Kevin, Wren and her puffin cards, and Terry and his chips!

Day 4

Wednesday

What a night!

To end another memorable day, we decided to scale the mast. One at a time, we clambered up the large 29m pole that is stuck up in the middle of the boat. (Honestly, its placement is quite unhelpful, and we don’t really need it). All sorts of shenanigans took place with Molly and her partner-in-crime Kevin taking selfies in the sunset and Kitty taking her Be Real at the top. The sun set beautifully, highlighting the soft blue sky with shots of pale petal pink and muted bright orange. It made the world glow and everything seemed so still. It was the perfect moment of self-reflection and peace. An amazing way to end the night.

What a morning!

We followed the lovely night with a lovely morning. There were pancakes made by our favourite on board chef, thank you Terry! He then became demoted to least favourite chef, after he announced to the boat that each watch had to do EXTRA RESEARCH! Can you believe it? We actually have to do work? What kind of twisted torture is this! The best watch, Port watch (Starboard*), was put onto researching flags. I now know more now about ensigns and Q-flags than I do maths. Starboard watch, the second best of two watches, was put to work researching the Beaufort scale and now, six hours later, nobody knows what it is (we do!). After a speedy breakfast clean-up, we escaped the claustrophobic confines of the boat and jumped on a bus to the luxurious Cobo Bay. The 20 scouts and two leaders took over the bay, while the other adults relaxed.

What a midday!

Once dumped on the other side of the island, the scouts dispersed. They scuttled away in the direction of the nearest Iceland (the shop not the country) and beaches. Over the course of the long hot day, many ice creams and cold drinks were bought, and immediately consumed by sweaty scouts. Eventually, they were attracted to a massive ancient fort.

From the bottom of the hill the fort is planted on, you can’t see the cliff face it precariously balances on. Most ‘normal’ people would see this cliff as an object of danger and stay well away from the edge. To a group of scouts however, it was seen immediately as a challenge of who can get to the gorgeous green water at the base the fastest. After a perilous climb to the bottom, which involved life-threatening jumps and drops, all the scouts arrived semi safely at the bottom. Swimsuits were thrown on and people nervously lowered themselves into the water. Some were braver than others, finding rocks to dive and jump off of, whereas others weren’t as stupid and stayed in the shallower end.

What a night!

By the time everyone got back to the boat, most people had showered and a few had even bought souvenirs for loved ones back home. We were greeted by our favourite task, making dinner. What kind of a trip is this? Having to do actual work? Sausages were cooked and gladly consumed. For some reason there was an excessive amount of sausages with many left over, even though everyone had two or three or SEVEN. The sausages were unable to be savoured properly when we couldn’t even hear ourselves over Terry’s complaints of the sausage quality. All in all, a good day overall.

Written by Molly and Kitty.

Edited by Elizabeth and Wrenice.

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