"One day I will skipper a yacht and sail the world!"

 Learning at the helm, with HWDT staff.

Learning at the helm, with HWDT staff.

HWDT's Community Engagement Officer, Pippa Garrard talks to Rosie* (17) about her recent trips on board Silurian and finds out about the difference these surveys have made to her. Rosie first came on board Silurian in 2016, volunteering to join the Youth Trip with her young carers group. After enjoying the trip so much, she decided to come back and be part of the research team on this year’s Teen Team research survey.

Rosie, why did you decide to join the Youth Trip in 2016?

I wanted to gain more confidence when doing things without my parents, as I am so used to being away doing things with them. I love learning new things and when I realised I was going to be doing research about the wildlife, and sailing, I seen that it’s an experience I wouldn’t forget.

What was the Youth Trip like?

Going on the youth trip was truly amazing, being at sea and studying the wildlife was exciting but mentally challenging. Meeting the crew was brilliant, I was worried at first but I shouldn’t have been, they were a laugh and accepting. I honestly thought they would have judged me but actually, the crew, helped me overcome some challenging experiences. I remember being shown all the different types of sea animals and that encouraged me to keep my eye on the water, even when not on effort. When I got shown how to steer the boat and use the sails I was so proud of myself because I learnt how to do it so quickly, it was really interesting. I still laugh to this day when we were shown the birds, there was one called a shag and every time we seen one I was overly amused.
 "I still laugh to this day when we were shown the birds, there was one called a shag" Image © G.Leaper

"I still laugh to this day when we were shown the birds, there was one called a shag" Image © G.Leaper

What difference do you think the Youth Trip made to you?

I felt more independent being away from home without my family, and having to cook and things which brought a more mature side of me out. It totally recharged me, meaning that my mood was more calm and happy, this benefited my family as they weren’t concerned for me and the school was more laid back as my behaviour was different. Another benefit was that my gran, the person I care for, was over the moon to see me in the buzz that I was in, it felt as though nobody could burst my bubble.
 "Nobody could burst my bubble"

"Nobody could burst my bubble"

It was such a great experience the first time that I had to get back and do it again, and for longer.

So how did you feel when you reserved your spot to come back on the boat for the Teen Trip this year?

I was unbelievably excited! I couldn’t believe that I was going to be getting back on the boat, I started counting down the days till the trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

And what was it like, on the week-long research trip?

Being on board as one of the research team was an experience I will never forget.

I enjoyed the two hours on effort and having the hour off to enjoy the sights and do things round the boat. I especially enjoyed being at the mast, this was the best place on the boat as you could see everything. It was so exciting when someone shouted sighting as this got everyone’s adrenaline going.

The bird watching/relay was good as we got to see different kinds of birds (some I didn’t even know existed) this amazed me, it was also good as we got to enjoy the amazing scenery.

Being on relay was a tough job especially when the weather was bad because you had to try make out what the people at the mast where saying to pass it down to the person on the computer.

Computer was also good as I got the chance to understand all the different types of technology used to record wildlife in the Hebrides. I loved putting the headphones on and listening to see if there was anything nearby like dolphins, I seemed to hear a lot of ADDs.

Being off effort was just as exciting I loved steering the boat and just chilling out, this was a well-deserved break after being on effort for so long! I really loved seeing the bird “shag” this honestly amused me.
 "I loved steering the boat"

"I loved steering the boat"

We would love to hear about your most memorable moment from the Teen Team trip.

I think my most memorable moment was when we were sitting having breakfast, and we spotted a porpoise, this gave the full team a buzz for the rest of the day as we knew it was going to be a good day. I also really enjoyed bonding with the team as we became closer and better friends every night!
 "I gained more confidence when meeting new people, and I now call them some of my closest friends"

"I gained more confidence when meeting new people, and I now call them some of my closest friends"

How have you benefited from sailing with us?

I have benefitted massively from joining the teen team trip as my knowledge on the wildlife has improved and I now have more of an interest. I gained more confidence when meeting new people, and I now call them some of my closest friends.

My concentration improved also and I am now more aware of the wildlife around me and more passionate and caring about my environment. I have also become more thoughtful of other people’s feelings and beliefs as I spent so much time with people I had never met and I learnt that my beliefs may not be theirs. This experience also proved to people, especially teachers that I could do something, I proved myself! I believe in myself more now and with what I can achieve in life, I am now more positive about my skills and qualities and I know that I can achieve anything if I believe.
 Back in Tobermory after a successfull survey.

Back in Tobermory after a successfull survey.

So what's next for you? 

Well, these experiences have definitely shaped my future! I look forward to hopefully coming on board Silurian again in the next year or so, as I really enjoyed the experience.

I have also contacted other sailing organisations and am planning to join as a volunteer and help teach young people how to sail. Through this, I will gain my own qualifications to become a Skipper, so that one day I can skipper a yacht and sail the world!
 "These experiences have definately shaped my future"

"These experiences have definately shaped my future"

Feeling inspired? If you are interested in joining Silurian,  for a trip of a lifetime, check out our 2018 survey dates here.

Many thanks to Rosie* for sharing her story with us, and to all our volunteers that make our Silurian surveys possible. 

These trips are only possible due to the generous support of Scottish Natural Heritage, The Robertson Trust and players of People's Postcode Lottery for their support through the Postcode Local Trust. 

*This young person's name has been changed to protect their privacy in line with HWDT's Child Protection Policy.