Hey guys! Sorry I couldn’t post this sooner!
As you can tell by the title I survived my second Life Raft Challenge (woop woop!), but before we get to that, let real talk for a sec about why Team Warsash has done this challenge.
With 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, and approximately 930 people diagnosed a day, cancer is going affect virtually everyone is way. No matter the severity of these diagnoses they can feel like a death sentence, not only for the sufferer, but their families and friends. It may get to a point where these families feel as though they are drowning in a sea of appointments, medication, facts,& figures and all that is wanted is some sort of escape from day-to-day life What is wanted is a raft, or a boat to save them from drowning in this sea.
That’s where Sail4Cancer comes in, this fantastic charity helps people escape from their day-to-day life for a wee while, and let them spend time on a literal boat. Young people facing cancer, families and young carers are all given the chance for a day out, or a holiday, where they can forget about what’s going on. This can be very therapeutic and refreshing for these people, whether that’s in the form of just getting out the house, having a break, or creating some final happy memories. Sail4Cancer’s main aim is:
To provide sailing & other water based respite opportunities for cancer patients / their families & those who have suffered bereavement in hope their quality of life may be improved.
Below is Sail4Cancer’s 2015 statistics:
Of course non of this could be done without funds. This is where we come in. It’s very easy to just donate money, or do a sponsored walk/something similar, but instead we are reversing the roles. Where those who are supported by Sail4Cancer are looking from a figurative life raft to have a life line to what normality was, those of us taking part are leaving normality to spend 24 hours in a literal life raft, where we are limited in what we can do. If you would like to more about Sail4Cancer, their aims, and how to get involved in something click here.
Now, onto the challenge! Like mentioned this is my second year that I’ve been involved, and as I blogged it last year (#WMALRC15), it was very wordy – not many pictures and long. This is it is long, but I thought this year I’d also vlog my experience, as in words, you guys don’t get the full picture, so it is more made up of photos and videos. I will post the full vlog when I get round to stiching it all together, but there will be extra videos throughout this post that aren’t included (and some are included) in the main video, because it would be about 6 hours long if I were to include it all! (Just so you know I did find the whole talking to a camera tres awkward especially in the first few hours so it’s an interesting watch).
So here is Team Warsash!
And here’s our homes for 24 hour!
Like last year our challenge was in the second week of March, which means the weather could be anything, this year we were pretty lucky in what we got.
We mustered at the Boathouse around 1615 on Friday March 11th where we were issued our Foul Weather Gear and Life Jackets (provided by Sunsail Events), and as you’d expect from a bunch of millennials, many selfies were taken! I felt as though I was wearing a lot less clothing then what I was last year – which thinking back to how cold I was, worried me slightly (especially as I was getting over a chest infection at the time). I was wearing leggings, a t-shirt, a onesie, a buff, and two pairs of socks, and with me took with me a coat, my phone and tablet, some flapjack, a litre of water, a bar of dairy milk and some spare socks. Having had little space last year, with few individuals taking rucksacks and bedding on board, I was horrified this year when I saw that nearly everyone had bags for life, back packs and bedding!
Before we made our way down to the rafts Ian Arnold gave us a safety brief; keeping life jackets on, no going for a swim, etc etc etc, along with a speech given by Iain Thomas, a technician at Solent University, again more photos were taken! Some with fancy dress.
Before long it was time to make our way down the pier, and onto the rafts. This year we had two groups, a 25 man raft (Lima 1) with 21 (I think) people in, and a 12 man (Lima 2) with 9 (again I think) people in. Once again I was in Lima 1 with Luke, another Phase 3 deckie, and a mixture of Phase One, Deckies, Engineers and ETOs.
It did take a wee while to get everyone in the rafts, and some made some what I can only call interesting manoeuvres, when it came to getting in. Some stepped, some jumped, some fell, and some sort of slid/dived like a seal or penguin, unfortunately these were not caught on film… I stepped if anyone was wondering…
By 1705 we were all in our rafts, and ready for the challenge to begin! I had managed to get a nice spot by the door with Luke, meaning it was very easy to sit both in and on the out side of the raft whenever we chose! The countdown was led by Iain Thomas, and at 1710 the challenge officially started!
This hour went pretty quick even though nothing really happened. It really was mostly just trying to settle in to the raft and get acquainted with each other, as it was a nice night most of us were sat on the edge. We also managed to lose a ball, named Wilson (1), ate a fair amount of junk snacks, and, of course, took many selfies.
Leading up to and during the event The Freaky Wave was on hand drawing cartoons, some with a general Life Raft Theme, and some corresponding to what I was live tweeting. Here is the few that he sent in this first hour.
That’s right! An hour in and we had a leak, well actually we had two! Now those of you that know about last years challenge we had ‘the Titanic 2’, a 12 man raft with a hole, which had a constant stream of water pouring in for about 23hours and 55mins of the challenge, to the point that Shore Crew took the executive decision to get some the cadets out overnight as they were that cold and wet! Fortunately this years wasn’t too extreme, after sponging and moping up they didn’t really return.
This was the hour that I realised that if we had to abandon ship for real everyone would be screwed. Not only did many people disappear of the raft for a pee stop, but also despite the mountains of snacks that were bought, that dinner was coming soon, someone got so hungry that they broke into the emergency rations that were on board… Which meant we all had to try them, just to see what they were like. The answer, for anyone wondering, is really bland, dry shortbread. Although still sat in puddles, spirits were high, and we were all having a good craic and enjoying each others company.
Just before 8pm, food was delivered (thank you Sodexo, always a pleasure…) I’m not sure what was more soggy, our chips or our bums! The shore crew were playing with their thermogun, which showed the temperature had dropped to minus 2.5degrees C, but that didn’t stop us staying sat on the edge as we ate, mostly to reduce condensation and the raft smelling of chips all night!
Now before I continue, there is someone I need to introduce you all too. This is Rex, Taryn’s Dino, and a favourite game on Campus is stealing Rex for periods of time, a game which transposed on o the raft, and did keep us entertained for some time…
Unfortunately our entertainment came at a price… Rex helps Taryn sleep, if Taryn isn’t asleep, she’s talking. Or in this case, singing. Bieber, to be specific.
Good job Zach had a better solution in how to stop the singing….
Please note, no dinosaurs nor people were harmed (much) in the production of this blog.
Into our 4th hour and we realised we didn’t really actually know who each, and if I’m honest I’m still not sure if I know all the names of people on the raft! As there were cadets from four intakes, in five different courses we thought we’d better at least try to introduce ourselves. Sitting in a circle you’d think that’ll be an easy thing to do… It wasn’t, we tried many times, never did we get further then 7 people around the circle.
By this time also, everyone was sat inside the raft, and especially with the amount of stuff that was bought, it didn’t matter if we knew each other or not, we we’re forced into getting pretty close with each other anyway.
And what is the best thing to play when you’re in close quarters with people you need to stay friends with for at least the next 20hours? Monopoly of course! I mean, really what could go wrong there….?
I’m afraid there seems to be a theme going, as just after 10pm Pizza was delivered to the rafts. Who’d have thought cadets like their food…
Last year I had tweeted that Ridley was my favourite cause he bought us Haribo & Nutella, this year he upped the mark. The only thing that was bad about this pizza was when someone manages to spill the garlic dip everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE!
Where everyone was now inside, and stuff had spread out, everyone found themselves very cramped and uncomfortable.
Sad times came in this hour when somehow me and Luke had been separated. If this wasn’t horrific enough, I now found myself sat next to a ‘sober’ Sean, who tried to rap…
I’m not sure that any other time ever, you would find Engineers doing work at midnight on a Friday/Saturday, nor, would you find any students sleeping, but what can I say, the life raft does strange things to you…. Fortunately I had managed to move around when some people had a pee stop and once again found myself snuggled up with Luke, in a surprisingly comfy and warm position. Unable to sleep yet myself and Luke enjoyed watching the Lego Movie!
As hinted in my above tweet, hour 9 came with much complaining, and more movie watching. By this time I was a wee bit grouchy, especially with the amount of bags that were crushing my legs, which did make me question why I’m idiot enough to have repeated this challenge! Luckily Andrew was on hand to make me smile again with his quick cartoons!
2am saw everyone awake, as Sean lovingly chundered, which was delightful. Asking around it seemed that everyone was great, but no one was happy. Sounds about right!
Hours 11, 12, 13 , 14/24
There’s not all that much I can really tell you about these hours. We finished watching Minions, and started watching Peanut/Charlie Brown, but ended up having a very snuggled sleep, on and off for couple of hours, I was also too comfy and warm to want to move.
Of course all good things must come to an end.
Yup that’s right, from 0500 on wards, SOMEONE decided to sit on the edge, causing lot of cold wet air in and making it so that those sat by the door, aka me and Luke, became very cold and damp! Don’t worry though, we did get them back later in the day when they slept through breakfast….
SINGLE FIGURE COUNTDOWN!!! By half seven, most people were awake, which is a time on a Saturday morning that many of us don’t normally see, so that was nice. I mean we we’re all super groggy, and stiff, but we were awake…
16 hours later and I was only just starting to feel wee bit confident talking to a camera. Myself and Hanna got of the raft for the only time, during this hour, and out walk back was rather pleasant, the sun was starting to shine, and we were feeling decent. It wasn’t before long that we were sat on the edge of the raft – well sort of, we found the knots were quite impossible to untie, so we perched in easiest way we could – waving to yachties and sing songs started!
Zach’s Beard grow, quite a lot over night, and he had become a pirate… Which meant he had no worries about eating someone while waiting for breakfast… I’m not sure if old school pilot Luke seems as excited to eat someone…
We finally managed to get the raft open (by cutting the straps), and we breakfast was delivered, bacon buns all round, well kind of all round, like mentioned before someone made sure we all got a cold damp wake up call, so as she was sleeping when breakfast arrived we decided it was only fair to eat hers…
Unfortunately for us the speakers on the pontoon was having issues, so we couldn’t listen to Spice Girls. More unfortunately for those around us that meant we took matters into our own hands and decided to sing ourselves… For this I can only apologise…
We didn’t stop at Spice Girls, I won’t inflict all our terrible renditions of 100s of Disney song & more, but enjoy! Watching back all these videos have made me cringe, but these more than most!)
These hours pretty much just dragged, and consisted of random shenanigans, napping, playing word games, waving, singing & napping… Around midday it was announced we had raised £8grand, some kayakers came to visit and Dawn Edwards bought us all Creme Eggs, but that was about it…
I did try to get everyone to say hi on Twitter, as requested by WMA & Sail4Cancer’s Twitter pages, but it failed a wee bit…
There was something at one point where Ian Arnold climbed in to Lima 2, exposed his nipple and sang I’m a little teapot… I’m not entirely sure on the situation, apparently it was a bet & his friends would donate if he did it… That’s what he told us anyway…
LAST HOUR!!!! Wooooooo! Like last year we were towed back to the pontoon, ready for the final countdown, and emptied the rafts pretty much so when we finished we could all get out and showered as soon a possible! Though if the previous hour felt as though they dragged, this hour really took the biscuit!
By the end of the challenge we had raise £9000, with donations still coming in and being counted! Although (at the end of the 24 hours) we hadn’t raised as much as we did in 2015, as there were less people participating this year, we did do better averagely per person!
All that was left to do was get the rafts out the water, take few hundred more selfies, and get ready for the evening’s celebrations!
Thankfully this year there were only 3 of us on our floor that did the challenge so we didn’t have to fight over who got the shower first like last year!
Our ‘closing ceremony’ was held at the Fern in the Village, where we were speeches were given (I’m writing up this few weeks since the event so can’t tell you names of everyone or what was said sorry), and we all received a t-shirt & certificate. I spent most of the evening catching up with David Baker & Mr Ridley, who despite no longer working at WMA anymore still came to support us for the whole 24 hours!
You can still donate to Sail4Cancer, there is a button to the left of this text that will take you to my donation page, otherwise you can click the link here, otherwise here is Team Warsash’s donation page.
This is the end of my #WMALRC16 blog, sorry it took so long to upload, and thank you for sticking through a very long & disjointed post! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported us in the challenge, through sponsors, messages & tweets, and on the pontoon. My special thanks does go out to Ian Arnold, Jonathon Ridley, David Baker, Natasha Laishley,Andrew ‘the freaky wave’, the members of the Warsash Association, Survitec, and all others that made the challenge possible.