You spend 18 months together living in close proximity together, every meal is eaten together, tears are shared with one another, good times and bad times they all happen in the same boat. You study in the same room, work on deck and aloft everyday and even share shore leave is spent together.
This is what it is like for cadets on the youth development ship the Spirit of New Zealand. In 2004 Suz, Luke and myself were cadets together. We lived and worked on the same boat as we voyaged around the New Zealand coast with youth from all over the country. We shared many good times with one another and also some very sad times as well. It wasn’t all fun and games we did have our moments, just like any teenagers growing up. But in our case any conflict that came up it was closely resolved within a matter of hours. You can’t hold grudges or give someone the silent treatment to anyone on a ship, it is just not possible. Everywhere you turn you see the other person. If you avoid them during the day you will see them at meal times no matter what.
So where are we all now. Well Suz went back onto the Spirit of New Zealand as 2nd Mate then moved up to 1st Mate, now she is in London in the UK working and having an OE at the same time. Luke is a Skipper for New Zealand Dive and Salvage and is currently doing some work in Samoa. Me I am a 3rd Officer on a Rail Ferry on my way up to the next rank. So there you have it. After 18 months living and growing up together, 5 years later we are still keeping in contact with one another.
Like I explained to someone one day: “Place 2 people in a boat together and after 10 days they will either be the best of friends or have killed one another!”