Above and Below
BLAKE Expeditions 2018
May 20, 2020

It’s a tricky job summing up an experience like what we’ve just had. That kind of learning is not easily written down in a short blog entry, that’s for sure! 

However, several things really stood out.

The experience of being at sea for the first time was something that will stay with me for a long time. That first morning of walking onto the deck at 6.30am and seeing nothing but blue was both humbling and surreal. Combined with the mystique of passing the first of the islands, hearing the excited shouts of the voyagers and watching flying fish leap out of the water, we could just as easily have been crew on board James Cook’s HMS Endeavour.

Witnessing first-hand the undeniable beauty of the Kermadec Islands also gave me a much-needed sense of perspective. Being able to interact with such a pristine environment, both above and below the water, was a powerful reminder of the ecological imbalance that currently exists throughout the world. These wild places remind us of the responsibility we have to keep fighting for our fragile earth.

We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the New Zealand Navy, especially to the crew of the HMNZS Canterbury. Without their willingness to accommodate us, it is needless to say our expedition would have been impossible. Personally, I wasn’t sure what to expect when jumping on board, but the cheerful bunch of proud, young kiwi’s running the ship left an overwhelmingly positive impression on us voyagers. Thank you all!

What makes Young Blake Expeditions so special, however, is the people that are brought together. Interacting with such a diverse range of people who are all working tirelessly for change was incredibly uplifting. After sailing back into Auckland, it occurred to me that I had managed to make some very good friends out of the strangers I had met less than two weeks earlier.

Finally, unfortunately for us, human nature makes it all too easy to slip right back into our daily routines upon returning home, making even something this amazing just another memory. With this group of people however, I am convinced that these experiences will last a long time to come. This trip certainly has left a powerful impression on me, and I look forward to seeing the kinds of things our voyagers get up to in the future.

Signing off from a little van in the far north of New Zealand.

Jackson Thompson

Jackson Thompson

BLAKE Ambassador
Kermadec Voyage 2018