Posts Tagged ‘Royal & SunAlliance’

We were much closer to Antarctica and then came the day that changed the trip and our lives forever.

Thursday 25th January 2001

I was awoken at around 2:30am by Damien, I was on the 3-7am shift to watch the boat.

I got up and was ready to go. It was freezing. I spent a lot of time on the front of the boat on iceberg duty looking out for growlers (submerged ice) and icebergs. I spent a lot of time talking with Brenda and a bit of time talking with Lynn.

Lynn spent a lot more time below deck looking after Pip. She was really sick, so much so that when I got up Jane was going to sleep in Pip’s cabin to look after her and watch her.

The morning shift was very uneventful, in fact I don’t think we made a sail change. There was no wind – we just motored along.

Jane came up at one stage and gave us an egg – for breakfast! It was nice.

The highlights of our watch were some penguins swimming and some seals.

Then at 7am I went back to bed to get some sleep.

I woke up again about 1.5 hours later. There was pandemonium and action in the passageway.

I heard a beeping from the Nav. area and Jane came in and woke up Marcus.

I then say Marcus and a couple of others drag Pip into the passageway. I prayed for Pip then.

I got up but I didn’t fully know what was going on. I looked out of my cabin and I saw them administering CPR to Pip. I saw Hilda and she had a kind of shocked look on her face and said, ‘She’s not breathing’.

Suddenly I realised just how serious the situation was. Mark was running around with various needles etc and he told me to sit at the chart table and write down any message that came through.

I sat there and heard the whole story unfold. There were people madly giving Pip CPR and rubbing her legs to try to keep her warm – but there had been no pulse and she hadn’t been breathing. It was looking really bad.

We got a message from a ship called the Orlova, they were about 4 hours away to the north. We had a bit of a conversation with them (Emily was doing all the talking) we even turned around to try and get closer to them.

However we had a conversation with the doctor on the Orlova and we relayed Pip’s symptoms to him. We said that the patient was without a pulse for about an hour or so, then I heard the doctor say that he recommended we stop CPR, ‘the patient has expired, you’ll only exhaust your crew’. I couldn’t quite believe it – Pip was dead! It couldn’t be true could it?

Mark was injecting all sorts of things, adrenalin, insulin, Dramamine, but he had no injection called ‘life’.

We kept going with the CPR and I prayed more.

We had news of a navy helicopter on its way, so we changed course again and tried to get closer to the helicopter.

It was only 11am but the morning had seemed like an eternity. Everyone was looking concerned and people were quite shocked.

The helicopter eventually arrived – I played my small part relaying messages from the radio and getting Em or Mark to take them.

When the helicopter came it was incredibly dramatic. Two royal navy servicemen came down. The spray and the noise and the wind was incredible.

The navy doctor was there only for a little while – they only had a few minutes on the 2041.

He pronounced Pip dead and then the servicemen were winched back to the helicopter and they took off.

It confirmed what we had all feared, but Pip was dead. Yesterday she was alive – I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she said, ‘A cheese sandwich’, ‘with butter’. Now I would never hear her voice again. It was almost unbelievable.

When the Navy servicemen left we put the boat in neutral (there was still no wind) and Mark called an emergency meeting.

We were all pretty gutted I mean what could you say or think or do! Pip was dead, one of our team, the Mission Antarctica 2001 team, was dead! I mean dead! Not just sick or late or missing or irritable – dead! Not alive!

Mark said that he, Em and Mike would sail the boat, we were left free.


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We’d settled into life onto the yacht and we got closer to Antarctica.

Wednesday 24th January 2001

I awoke and I tried to work out what time it was. I hoped I had slept through to the next watch change and I was quite relieved to see my clock at 10:28am when I got up. I had a shave and ate something.

Our watch’s job was to get lunch ready. So Lynn and I began chopping things up for sandwiches. We got a whole load of food ready an I went around taking orders. We made up sandwiches and distributed them. I think the appetites are returning – people ate a lot more!

I had a bit of time till our next watch – 1pm.

It was a glorious day, blue skies, hardly a cloud to be seen. Unfortunately this meant no wind.

I got into all my waterproofs etc and went on watch. It was like being on a cruise! The sun was warm and people lay about on deck. The water is incredibly blue. We are gradually making our way across. There isn’t much wind. The main thing we’ve done on our watch is let the yankee out. Not much else. Just sat back and enjoyed the glorious weather.

Absolutely nothing happened on our watch. I went up to the bow of the boat (I think that is the right term for the front) and sat and watched the sea and let my mind wander.

I sat right at the front and looked back at the boat rocking and making progress over the water. I watched birds flying around and I just watched the deep blue water. It was a beautiful rich deep blue colour. I enjoyed sitting at the front of the boat.

Then back and sat around some more. I got quite hot with all my fleece and wet weather gear on. Sat around and the afternoon moved along. The entertainment was the Yank and Irishman sparring in a verbal duel. They are a funny pair.

Eventually dinner time came and Matt had cooked up a delicious shepherds pie thing, it really was nice. Ate that and sat up with the others. I also say up and ready some of Brenda’s ‘Hockey News’. Ice Hockey is a totally different world, I know nothing of it at all.

Eventually our watch finished at 7pm exactly the way it had started – except that the Yankee was out! It was still a gloriously sunny day. It had been very quiet – a little wind and the engine had been on all the time.

I looked at the ocean around me, wherever I looked I could see the ocean, from horizon to horizon and all in between. The big restless, blue alive ocean!

I then went and had a shower and since the engine had been running there was hot water. My shower was brief and rather swayee, but very refreshing.

The sun is about to set – I’m going to watch the sunset and then go to bed, I’m on the 3-7am shift tomorrow morning. Hopefully there will be a bit of action.

I watched the sunset – it was quite nice, but it was getting cold. I bade goodnight to those on deck and to bed.

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We continued sailing steadily south. The trip continues as the seasickness affected the crew.

Tuesday 23rd January 2001

I woke up a couple of times during the night, but I got up at 6:30am or so and attempted to to do my shift. I got into the wet weather gear and then Brenda, Lynn and myself did our shift. Mike was our watch leader.

We didn’t actually do very much, we put the yankee out and that was about it. We just sat around feeling cold.

I watched the water – there was water from horizon to horizon. It was very soothing to watch.

I also enjoyed watching the birds sail and drift over the water. The albatross’ with wonderful wingspans just glided over the water. They seemed so much more at home than myself. We really didn’t do much.

Lynn and I sang sea shanty songs – we didn’t know the words so we just did the actions. We also sang, ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ and ‘What shall we do with the sleeping Brenda’. We had a good laugh.

Some of the others came up to do lunch and we chatted with them. Marcus was just too cheerful! He and Damien were coping very well with the sea-sickness!

I had been eating steadily over the morning and a bit of porridge and a bit of chocolate and the odd biscuit. I had kept everything down well. I ate half a sandwich for lunch.

We were off at 1pm and I hung about in the doghouse for a bit. The scenery was the same, rolling waves and cloudy all around. The temperature went between 8 and 12 degrees in the doghouse.

I went downstairs and wrote my wrote my sit-rep.

Oh – Andres had sort of roused – but not really. He said “I have been asleep for 16 hours and I still feel ill!’ I wrote the sit-rep, mentioning the fact that a lot of people had come down with sea-sickness and Marcus was too cheerful and Andres had a nickname, ‘Condor’.

After writing the sit-rep I went to my bunk and had a bit of a sleep.

I got up at 6:30pm for dinner. Dinner had been prepared by Marcus and Damien and it was nice – a beef stir-fry with rice! I ate a bit.

Pip and Hilda had arrived for dinner – Pip was feeling a lot better, but still not the best.

I sat in the doghouse for a bit and then went down and did the dishes with Lynn.

After that I came back up to the doghouse and wrote in here. We are presently a bit under 40 miles from the Antarctic convergence zone. This is where we have special rules about waste disposal etc. We’ll also have to keep our eyes open for icebergs and whales.

It is currently overcast and drizzly, there is a bit of wind but we are driving with the motor. Our progress has been steady.

I killed a bit of time, read a bit about the birds of Antarctica and the Drake Passage. We’d seen some albatross’s and petrels.

I lay my head down for a bit, I was on the 11-3 night watch.

I and Brenda and Lynn prepared for the watch and we were ready at 11pm. Emily was our watch leader.

Initially there wasn’t much to do. We just sat in the eerie twilight. After a bit I went up to the bow with Lynn and watched the ocean from the front. She asked me if I studied the Bible much, I said I did and we had a good conversation. She has had a lot of Christianity in her upbringing, Bible verses and Christian schooling. It as a good conversation.

Anyway, we had some action, the wind steadied and strengthened, so we had some sailing to do.

We let out the Yankee and the staysail. We got up to 10 knots – we switched the engine off and it was the most exhilarating experience.

The wind was quite strong, so we reefed the mainsail as well! Plenty of action. It was very exciting, the waters rushing about, putting up sails as the yacht sped along. All done in the dark.

It got dark for a couple of hours and at around 2:30am it began getting light again. The days are incredibly long here.

We aroused the next watch – which was good for I was getting really tired. It was 3am and very cold!

The next watch came up and took over from us. I went to my bunk and to bed.

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Our team building was complete and the day had arrived for us to ‘move in’ to the 2041 – the yacht that would take us to Antarctica. It was pretty exciting…

Saturday 20th January 2001

Up at 7:12am, dressed, breakfast, then finished packing and got everything organised. I discovered that I had to pay for things like phone bills etc myself. Whoops – my bill came to US$100 – nearly $200! Not the wisest thing to do. I paid by VISA.

Then got the minibus to the wharf and the yacht, 2041.

Then got the minibus to the wharf and we met the captain – Mark and his wife Emily. We waited around for a while and eventually Brenda and Hilda arrived.

We then did some introductions – around the table (we were all in the Saloon and the Galley).

Oh – we also packed our gear in our rooms. The cabin space we were allocated was tiny! I was in the same cabin as Andres (Condor) and Marcus (Yank). I managed to fit all my gear into my tub!

Anyway the introductions went well and then Mark told us what was to happen today. We split into two groups.

I started downstairs with Marcus, Pip and Hilda. Mark showed us the things in the galley and some of the safety features. We also looked at the toilet and how to operate it and other bits and pieces. It was good.

Then it was a bit after 12pm and we broke for lunch. Again more laughter and jokes, mainly at others’ expense.

After lunch our group went up on deck and Emily showed us a few things. It was good, looking at winching, man overboard and our lifejackets. A couple of people (Hilda and Marcus) put on the big protective clothes – it looked funny. It was a helpful time.

After that we did a bit of organising and then Mark got the whole team on deck and we went through a few jobs and responsibilities. I have the job of ‘Antarctic Protocol’ – I have to ensure we comply!

We were also allocated our watches, I’m on watch with Brenda and Lynn. I think that means we’re up till pretty late on the first night!

Anyway after that, went into town and wandered around there for a while. I tried to get some money out, but I couldn’t! Jane ended up lending some to me!

I had a wander. This really is a very spectacular part of the world. I’m very fortunate to be on this trip.

I took some photos, wandered up to the end of the wharf and then to the 2041. I helped move some food about and wrote in here.

Things have gone pretty well so far. I’m really looking forward to the sailing now, Emily and Mark have said that you could almost sail the 2041 with 1 person! So that made me feel a lot better. I’m willing to learn about sailing and Mark and Emily are going to be very willing to teach us.

The big thing at the moment is sea-sickness. Everyone is talking about it and are discussing remedies. I’m hoping that I can be a bit of an iron-stomach and not get it too bad.

We have dinner ashore tonight – then tomorrow off the Chile and my first day of sailing!

I wandered into Ushuaia with Andrews and I practised more of my Spanish. We met up with others at the Food Garden and waited outside La Rueda for more.

I practised more Spanish with Andres and found out he is known as ‘Little Ant’ in his soccer team in Colombia. I said to him the name we have is ‘dogsbody’.

Then in for dinner. We had everyone on the boat there except for Jane who wasn’t feeling particularly well.

Dinner was good, pleasant conversation with Lynn and Hilda and Mark and Andres. We also talked with Andres trying to get the correct words in Spanish.

I feel like I’m getting the grasp of a bit Spanish, having Andres around is excellent.

Dinner was great – I ate heaps and had meat salad.

People went off to Internet cafes etc. I left at a bit after 10pm with Pip, went back to the boat. Got a bit sorted out and now I’m ready for bed. I took a sea-sickness pill – I hope to get a good nights sleep.

I can’t quite believe we sail out of Ushuaia tomorrow! The wait for this has been so long. Tomorrow we’re in Chile, then we’re off to attack the Drake Passage.

I don’t quite know what I’m feeling, it still isn’t quite real! I’m almost more excited about the prospect of sailing and learning to sail than I am about Antarctica. I suppose it’s because the Antarctica trip has become part of my expectations and my thoughts for so long! It will be a great skill learning to sail and I’m hoping to make the most of it. Paul Cameron said if I get some seamanship course when I get back I could possibly be on a crew on a Sydney to Hobart or somethin!?! Now I’m going to try and sleep in my new bed for the next 2.5 weeks or so! I hope it is good.

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Our final day of team building which involved a walk up the mountains and some final preparations. We were getting closer to leaving for Antarctica.

Friday 19th January 2001

Up at the usual time (7:12am was when my alarm was set). Had breakfast, ready and off to the mini-bus to Las Hayas. It was the first morning that we had everyone on board the bus!

We picked up Siaron, Tom and Alastair and we drove to the bottom of the chairlift.

Then we began our hike up the mountain. We all began well, taking photos and wondering at the great view unfolding before us as we got higher and higher. We could see the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia and the other snow capped mountains of Southern Patagonia.

We ascended past the top of the chair lift and then walked along a lovely track for a bit beside a bubbling stream full of clear, fresh mountain water. Drank some of the water and it was beautiful and clean and clear. Mmm. I was a bit surprised that some e.g. Marcus wouldn’t drink the water for fear that the bacteria might cause stomach problems.

Anyway, the further we got, the slower we got and the more people we left behind.

I raced higher and higher with Alastair + Hilda and the views were breathtaking. In fact words don’t fully describe the views!

Siaron and Tom joined us and they were the only ones, we then decided to race up to the point where we were aiming to get everyone to.

We raced up there – very scenic. Amongst the snow and there were rivulets of water cascading over the bare rock, from melted snow!

I think it was the first time I’d seen snow in a long time!!

Anyway, then went back down. Threw a bit of snow between Alastair and myself, we pretended it was a rugby ball. We’d been ribbing each other all week about rugby! That didn’t last long – for it was very cold.

Then walked down. It was a pleasant walk down as well. Chatted to various people on the way down.

Andres developed big blisters on his boots and he was very sore – he caught the chairlift down, so did many others.

I walked and loved it!

We then all gathered together and had a bunch of team photos all wearing our jackets in front of spectacular scenery!

Then we walked down to Las Hayas. Most went via the road – Alastair and I went down a couple of ‘husky trails’ and over bogs and through the forest. It was a most delightful walk, although we didn’t stroll, there were parts where we were full on running!

Got to Las Hayas fine and in for lunch.

Lunch was hilarious – we had Marcus going all the time. Damien was particularly bad, we convinced Marcus that they had peat gum (tasting like coal) in Ireland. Also we convinced him (for a while) that they got Guinness from a Guinness Plant!!! (they grow Guinness!!)

We had a very funny lunch and we all enjoyed it a lot. The food again was excellent (I think I had lunch with Alastair, Hilda, Damien, Marcus, Andres and Brenda (??))

After lunch, had a briefing with Mike the Mechanic from the 2041. It went well, we were all quite concerned about lack of space and the equipment we would need. Mike was good, but also very relaxed about the thing.

We also had a bit of time with Siaron and then a review with Tom.

Then our ‘formal’ part was over. We had a bit of time to get the final bits and pieces for our kit. I realised I had left my Visa card in the hotel, so I went to the Hotel Los Nires via town.

Caught the taxi with Marcus and Damien – an entertaining trip. Damien calls Marcus – ‘Yank’. The previous night Andres, Jane, Marcus, Pip had dinner at Los Nires. They ordered their steaks and they arrived, except Andres, who ordered a different steak and got a huge steak. Marcus told Andres to say what you said to get that and Andres said it and Marcus recorded it on his little handheld audio recorder. Marcus’ plan was to go into the restaurant and say, ‘I’d like this and play his audio recording! Funny stuff

Then I got my Visa card and caught the free shuttle into town.

I wandered around and I found Pip and Andres doing the sit rep for the day. Hung out with them for a bit and then we went shopping.

I bought a pair of ski goggles – for $65! A fortune – probably the most expensive pair on the planet.

Then I wandered around with Andres and he told me of the national bird of Colombia, the ‘Condor’. He didn’t like it because the Condor is a lazy bird – a scavenger. So we nicknamed Andres, ‘Condor’.

Met up with Brenda and Hilda and Damien and B + H were incredible. They were going around buying stuff, an unbelievable amount of stuff. I wandered around with them for a while and we even went to the wharf and had a look at the boat, the 2041. Took some photos and then up to the main street.

Found the others in a cafe in San Martin St and had a drink there. Met up with Matt (photographer) + Tom + Alastair + Siaron + Mike (mechanic). We eventually moved up to the restaurant, Rancho Argentino for dinner.

We were practising our Spanish words with Andres. I learned north, south, east + west!

The dinner took a long time in coming, but eventually we had it. A BBQ style thing with a salad bar. It was very expensive ($20) for what we got.

We were all conscious of the fact we ad to pack, so we left as early as possible – which was 11:30pm!!

Had a hilarious taxi trip home: Damien, Hilda, Brenda, Andres and myself got in the same taxi. The taxi driver was Paul and he was 24 – he loved rock music. He asked if Brenda and Hilda were single (+ Damien, Andres and myself – but he was mostly interested in Brenda). He played his music loud and he loved to look at us in the back when he talked.

We got in and then bade the others farewell.

I packed for the yacht, showered, called home and went back to bed. My last night on land for a while [12:50am].

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Our team building continued and I was getting more organised.

Thursday 18th January 2001

I awoke before my alarm and I was pleased to be the first person at breakfast. I began eating and Damien, Pip and Lynn joined me.

The morning was incredible – there had been snow overnight and the view on the mountains was spectacular (the snow was only on the peaks).

It was a crisp and cold morning but with the sun made it pleasant in the sun.

We got organised for the mini-bus and it took us to Las Hayas for our second day of team building and personal leadership etc.

Arrived and things began fairly slowly. We did begin with a meditation and some breathing.

After everyone arrived (Hilda and Brenda came late) we began the big exercise of the morning called ‘Teamwork 2’, ‘The Big Picture’.

What it was we had a jigsaw to complete in 2 hours. We had to earn points by completing various tasks.

The tasks were many and varied ranging from writing songs and limericks to writing communications plans etc for the trip. Initially we began by doing some trivia and facts.

[Oh – earlier at breakfast we were discussing the ‘house clearing’ and a lot of people were very negative about it – I was quite surprised. I found it very helpful to do a good self examination. Also Damien said it was Guinness Day – so we all wore our new Guinness t-shirts that he had given us as a gift. We declared the day, ‘National Guinness Day’]

Jane took charge of co-ordinating the project to ensure that all of the tasks were completed. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t have more of a go with the brain teasers. I got a couple right.

We shot a video – Lynn was excellent at that. We also had to do a project with working out what to say with a problem. Damien, Marcus and I worked on that.

The project was excellent fun, many fun and varied tasks. We wrote up our skills on the matrix and we also had a go at limericks. We had to make up 3 limericks about team members. So here they are:-

There once was a girl named Pip

Who carried her hit on her hip

A local pinched her backside

She took him outside

And now he has a fat lip!


There once was a girl named Jane.

Who arrived in Ushuaia by plane

She tried to make friends

But she always offends

For ‘Vindictive’ was her new name*

.* – Vindictive – she came back from her interview with Alastair and said, ‘I’m vindictive’ – we called her vindictive a couple of times – very funny!


There once once was a Yank from South Bend

Whose talking never did end

He always kept time

And his watch, oh it did chime

And Marcus, this is something to mend*

.* Marcus’ watch wouldn’t stop going off yesterday – funny one.

I thought the limericks were all very good! Damien, Marcus and myself wrote them.

Then Damien, Hilda and myself did another ‘problem employee’. We decided 2 options – either a counselling session with Alastair or throw the problem employee off a bridge! (innovative!).

Then Damien, Hilda and I wrote an Ode to our team. There were lots of silly rhymes in it, rhyming truth with smooth, Vermooth etc. People liked it when we read it out.

Then we all made hats, I kind of did a French Legionnaires hat, Marcus – a pirate hat etc.

Then we did the RSA team song – it really was quite poor, no real tune or rhythm, but we kind of sang it.

Then we had completed all our tasks and the jigsaw.

We reviewed and went through various things – it had been fun and we had achieved a lot.

After that we did another exercise with Alastair – identifying our qualities and abilities, what we are. We had to write them on cards.

We then had to place a quality and an ability next to each other and say, that is what we are. I ended up being a ‘Diplomatic leader’.

Then it was lunch time and I was very much looking forward to that. Very hungry.

Had a very pleasant lunch with Damien, Marcus, Siaron and Alastair. We chatted and told jokes. Marcus mentioned something about eating Captain Crunch, I asked who he was. We then made jokes of kids gnawing away on bits of this poor guy, ‘Captain Crunch’. Marcus made a note to send me some.

Lunch was very funny and I was feeling more like myself – cracking really bad jokes (I think the limericks helped!)

After lunch went for a quick walk up the hill. Then back and more exercises.

We did systemisation and also a bit more on planning. We did another seminar on our ‘code of conduct’. We had to come up with a sentence that we wanted to capture how we wanted to behave on the boat. I wrote ‘I will love my neighbour as myself’. In the end, after a bit of debate, we had, ‘Be strong, be safe, treat others like yourself’. I’m glad I got the Bible in there.

In the afternoon sometime we had a quick break and I wandered up the hill for 10 minutes. The Beagle Channel and Ushuaia is a beautiful place. The rugged mountains and snakes and pods of snow on the peaks are a stark contrast to the dark and jagged lines of the mountains (the tallest mountain near us is about 1400m tall!)

Then back for more team building etc, more with cards. We wrote out our accomplishments and haves ie things we have. We also wrote our wants.

We had to sit and put these together and eventually group them, but Andres and I got talking about football and World Cup. He was saying that there was a chance that Australia would play Colombia to go to the 2002 World Cup.

We also did get some of our activity done.

We had various other meetings and discussions with Siaron as Alastair did more interviews (much shorter this time).

We watched a bit of video footage and hung around. Time kept going on and on and people sort of went in and out.

It had been a really hard 2 days – I’ve been to MYC’s and conferences etc, but at least we get free time in the afternoon.

Anyway people were going down to Ushuaia for dinner and people gradually left.

I had my interview with Alastair near the end, so I waited for that (it was after 7pm).

The interview went quite well – it was more about finding goals and what I wanted in life etc. I want to be well educated – this is my goal! We discussed things like qualities and abilities and also the limitations. It was fairly short but ok.

Alistair is a funny guy, we’ve made a lot of fun together, mainly joking about rugby etc. He is a ‘spiritual’ kind of guy as well. He believes in God, but I’m not sure if he believes in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. He reads, understands and knows the Bible quite well. I’m not sure where he is. Certainly very charismatic and experiential, but nonetheless I’ve found him an encouragement.

After the interview I went for dinner and joined those who had remained behind. I joined Brenda, Hilda, Siaron, Tom, Lynn and Alastair (later – when he finished interviewing Hilda).

Had a great time at dinner – lots of jokes and lots of fun. They were talking about getting teeth out etc I decided to talk more about cuddly bears and kittens etc.

Also talked sport with Alastair – it was a fun night.

Eventually had to keep going, went back to our hotel. Los Nires with Lynn, Brenda, Hilda we talked about the various ways Mission Antarctica has been handled in our respective regions. Apparently Canada have everything paid for – ie clothes and everything. I’ve had nothing paid for. There have been some ways this thing could have been handled better – but it is great to be here.

So the 2 days of team building and personal development are over. I feel it has been a real success, we’re much more of a team now than at the beginning of yesterday.

Now I’m tired – a shower and bed!

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After arriving in Ushuaia, we began a couple of days of team building. It didn’t start so well for me…

Wednesday 17th January 2001

I was woken by the phone ringing – it was Jane and it was 8am and they were going! I had failed to put my alarm on and slept in.

I felt like a fool, I raced out and had some brekky. I got myself ready and got a taxi to Las Hayas – some gorgeous resort kind of hotel place on the hill above Ushuaia.

The view from the resort was amazing – looking out over the Beagle Channel – quite stunning. I’m still having to pinch myself to believe I’m here.

I arrived late, just as the others were finishing their meditations.

I joined and Alistair le d us in a time of individual goal setting etc. Well, it’s a program called Spirit B200. We were all given keys to hotel rooms and told to go and work out harms done to others, our resentments and our fears. It was a sort of confessional thing. It was quite helpful.

I wrote out all of mine and we had a break and I continued. It made me think a bit.

Anyway, then it was 12pm and time for lunch.

Went down to lunch and ate with the team. I saw next to Siaron and also Tom. Mat (the 2041 photographer) joined us for a while.

I think the team is gradually finding its way conversation is still a little forced and I don’t feel totally comfortable with all the new people.

Anyway, after lunch we went outside for a practical team exercise. We had two groups on either side of a divide and we had to get both groups onto the opposite side, stepping only on tyres.

It was a good experience and our team did well we got everyone across with varying degrees of comfort. We only had 20 seconds or so to spare when the final team member (Jane) came across.

We were all pretty pleased with our success and the final analysis was helpful.

Then we did an individual exercise to determine our relative strengths + weaknesses in various areas. You had to read and answer a whole bunch of questions -a type of personality test.

In the end I found out that I had a tendency to be an innovator and a deliberator. Someone who generates a lot of ideas, but thinks them through (quite rare apparently).

When we went out and did another exercise again involving tyres. We had to get everyone from one side to an island in the middle.

It was very interesting, we had several ideas and we sort of cheated. We put our boots inside the tyres and jumped across in the order specified. It was an innovative way of doing it.

However halfway through doing it we realised not all could do this and we found ourselves out of order – the yellow tyre had to move next but it was on the wrong side. So we decided to try and throw the tyre across to the others.

Marcus went first and it only went half-way! We all looked helplessly on as we thought we couldn’t reach it at all. Anyway, we then tried throwing it across and rolling it across (Andres rolled it down the hill) all unsuccessfully.

Then I put it in my boots again and shuffled across.

By this time Marcus was known as the time keeper (always keeping track of time and a cheater – mainly from Brenda who accused him of putting his feet on the ground when he jumped across!).

So we were running out of time and then Lynn and Hilda went across and it was hilarious – it looked something from Twister. Then we ran out of time!

In a debrief – disaster. We learned a lot about team building etc from that exercise.

The afternoon continued and Tom talked at us some more – then we had our final outside activity.

We had to pass marbles along a track with blindfolded people carrying them. It went very well, we managed to get 40 marbles across no problems. Our group, Pip, Jane and Damien were excellent as they carried the marbles blindfolded.

Back and talked about that – more successful.

Then it was 7pm and dinner time – the day had gone fast.

Dinner was delicious, I had a good chat with Marcus and Lynn, they telling me about the USA. I was feeling more a part of the team now and happier to mix with the people.

I finished up my dessert and ran up to do my individual interview with Alastair. This involved going through the hurts, resentments and fears I had written in the morning.

It was enormously helpful at understanding the extent of sin in my life. Excellent at a personal evaluation, examination. I realised I’m a people pleaser (no necessarily a God pleaser) selfish, inconsiderate and proud (especially the spiritual nature).

Alistair was an excellent facilitator and very affirming.

Then I went down and watched the end of the video Siaron took of today’s team building – they were hilarious!

Then the mini-bus back to Los Nires.

I rang Mum + Dad and chatted to them – now a shower and off to bed.

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