The children arrived at school in great spirit and kept that energy and enthusiasm going on the bus, chatting, singing together and entertaining themselves on the journey. We made good time and arrived to a slightly foggy Portland at around 11am. The children were quickly allocated rooms, met their instructors, Tom and Jerome, and then got ready to head out for their first activity of the day; ‘big’ canoeing! The children were kitted out with buoyancy aids and then all helped lift and then launch the canoes, showing impressive teamwork and cooperation. Following the safety and coaching they set off across the harbour to a beach where they enjoyed lunch and some beach exploration.
Following lunch and the return journey, the children enjoyed a short break and then started the afternoon’s activities of raft building and sea kayaking. The group was split in half with each working on one activity with one instructor and then rotating. The whole afternoon again revolved around teamwork, cooperation and creativity, with teams having to paddle in unison and design, build and test their rafts! It was a great afternoon and, as the pictures show, some rafts lasted longer than others!
All returned to the centre tired but full of excitement about the day. Everybody showered and made their beds then enjoyed a hearty dinner, following which we all walked to a local park and had an evening of ‘wacky games’ including skipping relays, ‘welly wanging’ and human knotting! We then returned to the centre’ had a well earned hot chocolate, caught up with friends and relaxed then all headed up to bed. Tomorrow we head on a coastal walk and then to coasteering!
Day 2 began with the children waking with impressive energy for the day ahead! All were advised by our instructors, Jerome and Pat, to eat well and be fuelled for the days activities and all followed the advice! We then got what we needed together, including full change of clothes, wet shoes and towel, all to be packed into a waterproof bag provided by the centre that could accompany the children coasteering!
The morning rain quickly cleared and the day warmed rapidly. The first activity was a 6km walk along the island coastal paths all leading to Portland Bill and the coasteering point. The walk encompassed a tour of many beautiful natural landmarks, interesting historical features, great architecture and of course abundant natural beauty. A few highlights for the children included the pirate’s graveyard, with accompanying skull and crossbones on the graves, the many natural bays and inlets they walked along, as well as a farm housing a collection of wallabies and their joeys, and of course the ice cream and view they enjoyed at the half way point!
The rest of the walk flew by and the children reached Portland Bill, where they met up with Tom, our third instructor, who drove down with the wetsuits and equipment needed for coasteering. Lunch was taken in the shadow of Portland Bill lighthouse and then we all collected our wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets and made the short walk to the bay in which we would begin our coasteering. Once on the bay, all the children had a thorough safety briefing and then the tricky business of getting into the wetsuits began! Teamwork was key and then the activity could begin!
From the off the children all showed great enthusiasm to enter the water and have a go, rafting up and then all swimming over to their first rocky outcrop, from which they then traversed into a natural cave and then swam onto a nearby ledge where the instructors led the children individually to climb up a small cliff and jump back into the sea. Some were understandably a little reluctant but the support shown and modelling of others meant that by the end all the children made the jump; fantastic! The rest of the afternoon saw more traversing, climbing, swimming and exploring, ending back up at the original bay. The children came out tired but smiling widely, having loved every minute of today’s adventure. Getting out of the wetsuits proved a little easier and then it was a case of transporting the equipment back to the van and then taking a short walk into town to catch a bus back to the centre.
In the evening, once again following a delicious and well earned dinner, all children showered and we then began preparation for the ‘talent show’. We were treated to an array of singing, joke telling, acting, comedy and a whole group rendition of ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra, followed by a calming hot chocolate and then bed!