Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Silver Expedition
Early on Saturday 10th September, 15 intrepid MCM pupils and 3 beaks departed for the adventure of a lifetime.
Travelling by bus to the Endau Rompin State Park Headquarters, the group was soon packing their canoes for their three night IA Silver Adventurous Journey that would see them travel through hundreds of thousands of acres of ancient primary rainforest.
Carrying everything that they needed for the trip, planning and packing was a task in itself. Food, water, clothing, tents and stoves were the obvious essentials and with limited space in their barrels, the pupils had to learn quickly about the art of packing light.
After some further training on paddling in moving water, as well as how to handle oneself in the rapids and swimming against currents, the journey began in earnest.
What became immediately apparent was what a genuine wilderness we were travelling through. Mile after mile of rainforest banked the river with no sign of human existence. It was a privilege to experience.
On the first night, we camped at a remote campsite that had some basic facilities. Nights two and three were spent on a riverside beach for a genuine wild camping experience. Such was the beauty surrounding us, that we hardly noticed the lack of customary amenities. Indeed, the group embraced it.
Half of the group was fortunate enough to see an elephant feeding beside the river on our first day of paddling, a wondrous experience that reminded us that we were the guests in the jungle. On the final night as we set up camp, one of the pupils noticed what he thought were tiger footprints. After much excitement and some nerves, our guides reassured us that the footprints were a few days old and that the tiger would be tens of kilometres away by now. Phew!
To say that I was proud of our pupils is an understatement. Their determination, appreciation of the natural environment, the way that they supported each other and remained positive in all conditions was outstanding. For all of these reasons and more, the pupils deserve great praise for what they achieved. I know that they will remember the trip for the rest of their lives, as will I.
Mr Clarke | HM of Thompson, IA Co-ordinator