Winter Survival Camp, Riverhead
Early on Saturday morning, a hustle and a bustle were occurring at the Salthouse boat ramp. The cause? The scouts were going to riverhead on camp! The boats were loaded, the weather was fair, and the gear was sealed. At 9:00 the boats slowly slipped into the water and were under way.
As we sailed with a good wing up the estuary, everyone was in high spirits. The cutters (sailing/rowing boats) moved smoothly and everyone on board was relaxing on the water, what a life! Barley sugars went round the boats, a few inter ship competitions were imminent, and enjoyment was felt all round. Only one small problem occurred during the sail up, a bridge. We had to lower the mast and break out the oars to pass through. But safely on the other side we continued our peaceful journey upriver.
When we landed ashore, the first step was to choose a campsite. We decided on the meadow overlooking the river, and at last the gear was bought ashore. In groups, we pitched our tents and got to work preparing a fire, cutting wood (my job!) and organising the tent interior.
When dinner time came, our luck turned for the worst, one scout lost his gumboots in knee high river mud, the weather turned against us and it rained, clothes were soaked and the fires were dying. But with some care, we kept our bonfires going long enough to cook dinner. We were all tired and wet as we clambered into our tents to sleep for the night.
The next cold, wet morning, it was blowing a gale and the tents were shaking. We had to restart our fires and cook breakfast while an unlikely visitor came past. It was an old, sick DOLPHIN! Sadly it died later that day but its sorrow was felt by all the scouts. But some joy was bought back to us when we went to see the wrecks of a Grumman avenger bomber and some old army trucks!
At long last it was time to leave. We packed the boats and prepared to sail home. But on the way back we had a rather unpleasant surprise, a storm front! It bought with it gale force wind and more rain. One boat tried to ride the storm while the other turned into the wind, not risking anything! Luckily the first boat made it and so did the second one, about half an hour later.
At least we were greeted with a heart warming sight, all our parents were there to greet us and sighs of relief went all round. A group photo was taken, bags unloaded and we all went home to a hot bath and a nice cup of warm tea. All and all everyone had some great times and experiences and we all can’t wait till next year! See you then!
By Robin Page,