Voyage of a lifetime for 'seasick' Leesa

Leesa (circled) joins the crew on board the Young Endeavour.
Leesa (circled) joins the crew on board the Young Endeavour.

Despite being seasick for three days, Leesa Challis's recent voyage on the Young Endeavour sailing ship was 'a trip of a lifetime'.

Leesa, 21, from Byron Bay was one of 24 young people aged between 16 and 23 years to be selected from a ballot to join the ship's voyage from Bundaberg to Mackay last month.

Leesa had applied to sail on the tall ship, which is operated by the Australian Navy in 2008, but missed out, so she was thrilled and excited when she learnt she had been selected for the 2009 trip.

“My dad was the one who suggested that I apply and as I have been around water all my life and am a member of the local surf club I thought it would be a great adventure,” Leesa said.

“But, I couldn't find my sea legs for the first three days and was sick, but you just have to push through it and keep going.

“The work is quite physical especially when you have to climb the 35-metre mast and you also have to do your share of the night shifts.

Leesa said the voyage was not just about learning how to sail a tall ship, but also about learning development and life skills.

She said she had met some fantastic people and had learnt how to live and work with people in confined spaces.

One of the most rewarding parts of the voyage for Leesa was when the ship pulled into Mackay and picked up a group of disadvantaged people.

“We then had to teach these people how to sail the ship for three hours and this was very special,” Leesa said.

The trip has given Leesa a new direction in her life and next year she hopes to go to university.

“I would recommend the Young Endeavour to everyone,” she said.

“It is so rewarding and challenging and shows you that there is life beyond Byron Bay.”

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