When you mention Outward Bound to people, they usually conjure up images of people pushing themselves to the limits, getting right out of their comfort zones and sleeping alone out in the bush. Anyone you talk to who has done the course, always seem to come back after it on a natural high similar to that of finding out you never have to do another yo-yo test in your life. We asked Lincoln, a young rugby player who has done the course, to tell us whether any or all of this is true. Here he shares his expectations before the course, parts of his daily diary while he was out there, and his thoughts about the course now he’s completed it.
The Outward Bound centre is located in the Marlborough Sounds, and the aim of the courses is to help participants reach their full potential through challenge in the outdoors. Outward Bound offered a full 21-day Classic course scholarship at the Hurricanes U18 camp. It was to be awarded to a player based on general attitude, character, commitment and self-drive shown over the course of the camp. The recipient was selected by the coaches based on non-rugby performance and it had to go to someone who they felt would benefit from stretching and challenging themselves.
18 years old
Hastings Boys’ High School
Plays first five-eighth
Expectations before the course
I was expecting a lot of challenges, both mental and physical. I was pretty nervous. I tried to be pretty fit before I went. I thought I would change over the course – as I had heard bits from other people who had been – but I was not quite sure how. I was a bit worried about sleeping on the island and I was a bit apprehensive about how challenging it would be. How would I go?
Day one started off pretty nerve wracking for me as I had to communicate and socialise with 13 strangers. I got put into the ‘Shackleton’ watch group. I hope I have a good time here and get along with these people. 20 days to go!
We did some rock climbing. It was my first time. I really enjoyed it, but it was pretty challenging as we had to do it blindfolded, which wasn’t too easy! Tomorrow we are tramping as we are staying the night in the woods. I’m really looking forward to it.
Camping out in the woods is kinda scary but exciting at the same time. Noodles for dinner – LOL! Today was a REALLY long day as we were tramping through the woods for NINE hours. Straight back into tramping tomorrow.
We were back home after an 18km walk, prior to finishing an 8km run. What a mission that was. Today, as a group we have accomplished a lot of things and achieved things that we thought we could never do in our lives – but we did, which shows we do have more in ourselves than we all thought. I cannot wait for dinner now.
We started off with an activity that made us reflect on ourselves and how and who you are. I found this interesting because there is more in me than I thought.
Day six was really exciting for me because this was my first day going kayaking all day. It was challenging but also fun. Now we are staying on overnight in this old little hut with broken windows, so it should interesting. I’m really looking forward to dinner as we are having nachos.
Day seven was a very enjoyable day as we had a 10km run then did some kayaking out on the beach. Everyone’s buzz was just so intense about it, which made it so more exciting. After lunch, the water got a bit rougher and the waves started to increase to the point where everyone was just getting flipped off our kayaks.
Today was really fun as we did high ropes, which was something new for me and hard going. After lunch we did some sailing practice, which was difficult as you have to remember a lot of calls but it was good once everyone got the hang of it.
The weather was rubbish and we got soaked to the skin doing some community service. Then to top it off we were sleeping on a carport that had every spider you can think of living in it. I am really looking forward to dinner as it is homemade hamburgers and everyone seems hungry.
It was another horrible day for weather but it didn’t stop us from going out and helping nature as we cleaned out the waterfall tracks and the rat line, which was different to what we usually do but it was good. We caught the boat taxi which took us back to Picton and then drove back to Anakiwa to prepare for three days’ sailing.
We did have an early personal training session, which was a 5km run before we heading out to sea for sailing. We made it to this little island and then got told we had to sleep on the boat with 13 others, after rowing and sailing for eight hours! It was a very long day for us all. Also it was good to have a lot of wind, which made it a bit easier.
It was back to sailing and rowing with a 5am wake up call. Sleeping on the boat was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Today it was another big day at sea again, but the wind wasn’t the best so it was more rowing! We did stop and visit a few interesting places on the Island. I didn’t realise there was anything on there. We slept on the boat again.
Luckily we had no rain as we were sleeping on the boat and there was no shelter. We were up early again and back into the sailing and rowing. Everyone was excited as we were heading back home. Just after lunch we got told we had to do a 12km run, which I found good because we hadn’t done much running over the last two days. Tonight we are setting up to go on our solo for three nights.
I am on my solo right now. We got to the woods last night and then we split off in different directions. I had to unpack all my gear and put up my fly for my overnight stay. Luckily I had a head-torch as it was really dark, so it was pretty challenging setting up for the night. I have not done much today as I am just lying in the same spot for hours listening to all the bugs and insects singing away. We also didn’t get much food, which is disappointing!
Day 15 Just another day out in the woods by myself listening to all these bugs and insects enjoying their day. My sleep wasn’t the greatest as I woke up so many times, which was really frustrating. My food is almost gone – LOL! Luckily I head back tomorrow so I should survive. I think this solo has been good for my body as it needed plenty of rest as we have a three-day tramping-ski when we return back, which is going to be really long and exhausting.
I woke up really early waiting for my instructor to get me from the solo. Finally it comes to an end! Everyone is just so talkative when they see each other, talking about what they did and what animals attacked them. LOL! We get back into the watch house and prepare for an 8km run. My body is still feeling really lazy. I can’t wait for dinner!
It’s a 4.30am wake up. We are all set for a three-day tramp. My legs aren’t look forward to that, but this is our last one, so I’m just going to hang in there. The 40km walk begins … there is such a long day ahead of us and we need to get to our destination before the sun goes down. I hope the woods provides us a comfy bed. We walked 14km today.
It’s our second day of tramping. We have another 14–15km tramp again and we’re planning to make it back home. We’ll be doing a three-day tramp in two days. We have finally made it home after 13 hours of tramping. My feet are killing me right now, which is the same for everyone else. Glad I am in bed.
It is a 5.30am wake up preparing for a personal training session. Everyone just looks really tired and are struggling to get out of bed. Today we clean all the utensils, getting them ready for the next group coming in next month. Just before lunch we had an intensive personal training session. I would say one of the hardest so far. We now have a leadership session. I am really looking forward to dinner tonight and getting into bed.
Wow! What a morning we had! We had a 5.30am wake up, preparing ourselves for breakfast at 6.15am and then the half marathon, which was a 21km run which started at 7.30am. My goal was to do it under two hours, which I did so I was pretty happy with myself. Now we are packing our gear ready to head home tomorrow.
Home TIME! Back to my own bed and food on tap!
Thoughts after the course
I was really grateful for the opportunity that I got through the Hurricanes U18’s camp. I did change a bit over the course. I opened up to more people, came out of my shell and gained more confidence. The biggest buzz was the mental skills side – I enjoyed gutsing things out and not being selfish as it is really team orientated. By the end of it, you take a lot of joy out of other people’s personal achievements and success. I was also impressed to see how other people really progressed and developed by gaining more confidence. I have learned that there is more in me than I expected and I will use this going forward. I have a greater appreciation for food as every day that was a real highlight!
Leadership was a big focus. It was not my strong point, but now I am comfortable with stepping up and saying what needs to be said. It was a great sense of achievement to finish the three weeks and to finish on a strong note.
OUTWARD BOUND – If you are interested in attending an Outward Bound course please visit www.outwardbound.co.nz or phone 0800 688 927.
Outward Bound - “Better People, Better Communities, Better World”