Year 11 Outdoor Education: SeaTrek Expedition!

At the start of this week, our Year 11 Outdoor Education students set off on their two-day SeaTrek!

From East Fremantle, the girls set sail visiting several different locations, including Bathers Beach, Garden Island, Carnac Island, Woodman Point, and Coogee Marina.

To finish off, students even snuck in a snorkel at the famous Omeo Shipwreck in Coogee!

We sat down with Jo Beechey, SeaTrek Coordinator, to talk us through the SeaTrek expedition and what students can take away from it. 

What is the purpose of SeaTrek?

The purpose of SeaTrek is for students to experience the outdoors while putting into practise new skills they have learned, in this case, sailing skills.

How did the girls prepare for SeaTrek?

The girls participated in both practical and theory lessons preparing for SeaTrek. Students completed six practical sessions at the Marine Education Boatshed, learning the required skills. The skills included how to set sails and sail safely, read the wind, work together as a crew, and the rules of the water. Students prepared with practical skills by completing theory lessons in ‘leave no trace’, equipment and menu planning, risk management, route planning, flora and fauna, leadership, and goal setting. 

What skills did the girls gain from participating in the expedition?

Skills that students learn from participating in the expedition vary from student to student. However, some of the more common skills girls learn in Outdoor Education expeditions include leadership skills, decision making, resilience, teamwork, gratitude, organisation, communication, and appreciation of the environment.

What are some of the different locations the girls sailed to?

We were fortunate to have two amazing days of weather for this expedition. Day one saw us exit the harbour, pass by Bathers Beach and sail towards Garden Island. The girls enjoyed their lunch on the island before heading to Carnac Island and returning to the boatshed. Day two saw the students sail south towards Woodman Point, where they enjoyed a lunch at the beautiful Coogee Marina, before stopping for a snorkel at the Omeo Shipwreck in Coogee.

Were the girls faced with any challenges? If so, how did they overcome them? 

Taking on a new experience of this nature always presents challenges, which is what we love about this subject. For this expedition, students were challenged with the variation in wind conditions over the two days. On the first day, the winds were very light, making it difficult to gain speed and be able to sail for long periods. Tuesday, however, presented a far greater challenge with much stronger winds, which required more communication and the use of sailing skills and knowledge to navigate the waters safely.

What were some of the highlights of the expedition?

Highlights included seeing the students put their sailing skills into practice so successfully, as well as seeing them work so well together as a team to complete the two day trips. Having the students reach Garden Island by sailboat, and seeing a shark and the sea lions at Carnac Island, were also awesome highlights.

What do you love most about teaching and coordinating SeaTrek? 

I love the independence students get while on SeaTrek. Students in groups of three or four are on their own sailboats and have to trust their own skills and knowledge while working as a team. As the teacher, I have very little contact with the students while they navigate their way to their chosen destination. The expedition belongs to the students who decide their food, route, and groups. It is a fantastic way for students to build confidence while learning new skills and getting to experience the wonderful outdoors.

Why would you encourage students to give Outdoor Education a go? 

I would encourage anyone who loves challenging themselves, learning new skills, being part of a team, and being in the outdoors to give Outdoor Education a go. We provide so many amazing opportunities for Outdoor Education students at Santa Maria to learn skills they can use in everyday life both here at the College and in the outside world. Who knows – they might just find a new outdoor activity!

Here is what some of the girls had to say about SeaTrek:

“I think SeaTrek forced everyone to persevere when times got hard, teaching us to stay positive and bring each other up. We furthered our sailing skills and developed them under harsher conditions than we had ever experienced.” Alice Gosper 

“Some of my personal highlights were seeing all the different ocean wildlife and swimming at Carnac Island.” Olive Asquith – Flynn

“It’s a great way to connect with nature and get outdoors to experience new things you may not do again. It’s different from other classes as we aren’t always sitting at a desk but instead are outside experiencing the real world.” Ava Bennier

We look forward to hearing about Outdoor Education’s expeditions planned for the remainder of this year! 

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