Friday, 18 July 2014

#5: Go Camping

I'm not going to lie, I was really dreading this one. I volunteered to help out with my school's year 7 camping trip in Herm as my project week activity instead of taking up work experience like most of my year group. I was far too scared to contact a company asking for a weeks worth of non-paid work so doing a project with the school appealed to me far more. However, I never like to take the easy route so knew that I had to choose a project that I would find challenging. The last time I went camping was when I was in year 7 myself and I knew  being off island would be tough for me as I never sleep well when I'm away from home. Added to this, I'm a very shy person. Looking after a large group of hyperactive year 7's, most of which were complete strangers, and keeping them entertained for a week was a very daunting thought. Nevertheless, I knew that I wanted to do it. It was out of my comfort zone but also on my summer bucket list. I had to go.

Beautiful view of Guernsey from the boat.

It was an early start on Monday morning at the harbour. I got a lift down there from my friend who was also helping out (there were eight of us sixth formers helping out) and she pretty much stayed by my side the whole trip. We were waiting awhile for the boat to board all our camping gear which only made me more nervous. Our boat parked up really awkwardly in front of a railing, meaning we all had to climb over it to make it on board without falling in. On top of that, I was the very last one on and I really didn't want to be the one that fell in. Needless to say my balance was not on point and the Travel Trident staff (name of the boat to Herm) pretty much grabbed and dragged me on. We stood at the back of the boat watching our home island as it descended further into the distance, never disappearing but far enough to still miss home.

I'm not aware of how much or how well you guys know the Channel Islands but basically, Herm is a very small island off the east coast of Guernsey. In fact, you can see it very clearly from the St. Peter Port sea front even in poor weather. The only way to travel to Herm is through Guernsey and is fairly cheap to get there, making a popular destination amongst islanders as well as for school trips. It's a very peaceful island, fairly cut off from the world. There are no cars, only the odd tractor and quad-bike for heavy equipment, and it literally takes half an hour to walk from one end of the island to the other.

Herm is the island peeping out from behind the boat. The smaller island next door is Jethou,
 which is privately owned, Then we have Sark in the faint background to the right.

The boat journey was very short (it's just over 6 miles away, I told you Herm was close) and we were in Herm in no time at all. We all grouped up (I was group 3 and, I know I'm biased but it was the best group) and made our way up to the camp site. All our belongings shortly followed us on a tractor which was a relief as I didn't know if I could carry all my junk up the hill to Moss Field, the site we were camping in. My friend and I flicked through a magazine before discovering we had to put up our own tent (the year 7's had their tents put up for them, so lucky). I had never put up a tent before but it looked like one of the most complicated puzzles ever. However, my friend goes camping quiet a lot so acted like she knew everything about tents and took charge. I read through the instructions and quickly realised that she was doing it completely wrong and in the end we had a lot of help from one of the teachers. I stood and watched for most of it. I'm not really the best of campers.

The rest of day one mainly consisted of relaxing on Shell Beach and a lot of sports activities in the evening. I was exhausted and had a massive headache, but it was insisted I took part in the spontaneous rounders match. Each team had a sixth former, of which I was picked first. It sounds lame but that is an achievement for me; I never get picked first for any type of sport. The boys of the team said they picked me because of my geek t-shirt. They picked me for my sense of fashion, how could I not feel honoured?

My hair is looking ridiculously long here.

The day finished with a night walk around the island. It was very long and tiring but the island did look beautiful. We got back to camp rather late and we all went straight to bed. Despite that, I just couldn't get to sleep. Sleeping mats are one of the most uncomfortable things to sleep on and I was so hot in my sleeping bag. Not long after I finally fell asleep, it began to rain and I was woken up by the sound of a fog horn very early in the morning. I predicted that day two was going to be a struggle.

Our home for the week. Definitely prefer my own bed.

However, I was wrong. We spent the day within our smaller groups and my friend and I were put in charge. The morning involved team building which turned more into a football match, much to my disappointment. I'm still not really sure how to play, which surprised a few of the year 7's, so I stayed near the goal with the people who also weren't too keen and had a little chat with everyone. Don't worry, I got a little crew together and kicked around a ball away from the main and more sporty group and took some penalties. As I'm horrendous at sports, they all scored at least one goal when I was the goalie which I think they were all happy about. 

Both the teachers in our group brought guitars with them and were really good singers so after lunch we all had a little sing-a-long. This was definitely more my cup of tea but I hope I didn't deafen anyone with my terrible singing voice. We then headed to town for a spot of shopping and then the year 7's went on a rib voyage. This involved being taken around the island on a type of speed boat and then they had to jump out, carrying all their belongings in a bin bag to keep them dry, and swim to shore. However, I opted out of this. I haven't properly swam since I was in year 9 and even then I was pretty bad. Also possessing a mild fear of the ocean, the whole idea of jumping out of a boat and swimming to shore terrified me. My teacher was lovely and completely understood and allowed my friend and I to walk to the beach and have a hot chocolate instead. I felt really guilty for leaving my group, especially since one confided in me saying that he really wasn't keen on the idea of swimming either, but they all had a wonderful time. I know swimming in the sea is another item on my list to do this summer, but this time I just didn't have to confidence to do it. I think when I can chose the depth of which I swim I will feel a little more comfortable with the whole situation.

The man on the boat waved at us as we sailed by but it isn't very clear here. By the way, all the
images in this post are from day one as I forgot to bring my camera out on the rest of the images.

Day 2 was barbecue night, the first barbecue I had been to in years. The burger I had was amazing. Actually, all of the food was really good. On school trips I find that the food tends to lack any form of quality but this was not the case at all for this trip. Whilst the year 7's went on their evening walk (I was told this wasn't happening so told a year 7 who asked me about it that it was off. When the teacher announced they were off in 10 minutes, his mouth dropped to the floor. I felt so bad but he forgave me. So sweet.), us sixth formers stayed behind with a few of the teachers for another sing-a-long (recurring theme with this trip) which I really enjoyed. I then sat in the warm teachers tent with a cup of tea, having a chat with my friend and one of the year 7's who was feeling poorly before heading to bed.

Confession time! This post turned into a monster sized post so it is being split into two. I hope you don't mind as I had such a wonderful time that I want to share the whole trip with you. The whole point of this series is to document all the new and exciting activities I want to do so I can look back at it in the future and be able to remember all the fun I had. This means I want to cover absolutely everything and for this particular one, I have an lot to document.

Part 2 will be out soon.

Tasmin x

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