Alexis Joins Spirit of New Zealand

04 Mar Alexis Joins Spirit of New Zealand

This summer, I went on a 10 day development trip on the Spirit of New Zealand because I’d heard so many good things about it. I loved the entire experience, from meeting so many new people that I can happily call friends (and even best friends), to the 11km walk from Fitzroy Bay to the top of Mt Hobson on Great Barrier Island. 

Every day started with a morning swim as our wash before breakfast and clean up. Being at sea for ten days means that the boat can get dirty if we don’t clean it. Usually we got the sails ready before a delicious lunch and then set them, before sailing for a couple hours before striking and anchoring. Some days we wouldn’t sail anywhere, instead going on hikes or taking the luggers, small sailing boats, to practice and have fun. One day we even got to have dinner ashore in Smokehouse Bay at the Webster Trust bath house and saw some phosphorescence from the rafts.  

The most challenging part of the trip was living in small quarters with 20 people, as well as 20 in other areas and crew in their accommodations. Some of us got a little on edge around day 6, aptly named ‘day six-itis’, but after a quiet time of 2 hours, all was great again.

My favourite parts had to include climbing the rigging to the top of the midship’s mast and being the first to complete a backflip using the Yard Swing. The 9th day is Trainee day, where the trainees take over and plan everything for the day, with only minor guidance from the proper crew. I was elected to be the Engineer by my peers. I’d gotten up slightly earlier every day to start up the engine and loved being able to see all the parts of the ship that some of the full-time crew hadn’t seen yet. 

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants to go, whether it be for a day or 10 days. I had an amazing time and made so many new friends and will certainly go again, this time as a Leading Hand.

by Alexis Usal, Year 13


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