We had a great time visiting the P&O Pacific Aria recently.
Along with the howick Sea Scouts, the Waiheke Sea Scouts group – with kids aged between 7 and 17 – were invited on board the cruise ship for some fun activities.
As part of the day, the Sea Scouts were reminded that communications on board ships can occur in a variety of different methods – one in particular is Flags! Unless you are a “boat person”, a sailor or in the Navy – you might not know that there is a different flag for each letter of the alphabet. In the past, ships would spell out words with flags! Ships today still use flags to signify specific events.
The Sea Scouts were asked to learn the flag alphabet and to spell out “Kia Ora Auckland NZ” – yes, that’s 16 flags (see photos).
We also had the opportunity to meet some Ensigns from the Royal New Zealand Navy – who had brought their sextants kits on board to demonstrate how traditional navigation works. To contrast that, we then visited the bridge of the 55,000 tonne ship, to see how far modern navigation methods have come.
Joining us on board was chief mariner / Master Ship’s Navigator, Doug Bird of P&O / Carnival Cruises Australia – who began his career at sea as a 15 year old maritime college cadet in the United Kingdom. Doug was pleased to welcome the Sea Scouts on board, citing the fact that he had once been a Sea Scout himself in his youth and had even had his own boat for spell.
“It seems natural to welcome Sea Scouts New Zealand on board because as seafarers we have an affinity with young people who share our love of the sea,” Doug said. “Today is an opportunity to share the heritage of seafaring with experience of traditional methods of navigation through to state of the art satellite navigation which has replaced traditional paper charts.
“Few people are aware that modern day navigators still learn the art of communicating with the use of semaphore flags and celestial navigation using sextants like the mariners of old. In fact, we regularly host on our ships Royal New Zealand Navy trainees for whom navigating by the stars is still a mandatory part of their training. In a special salute for today’s young visitors, we had a special ceremony to raise Sea Scouts New Zealand’s flag on Pacific Aria’s mast.”
During the current cruise season, Pacific Aria will be based in Auckland until August giving New Zealand guests an opportunity to cruise to the South Pacific from their doorstep.Looking ahead, Pacific Aria’s marathon seven-month season in 2020 involves 18 cruises ranging from eight to 12 nights and a separate 14-night Bounty Adventure voyage that includes calls to Norfolk Island, Nuku’alofa and destinations in Fiji.
Sea Scouts Waiheke Chairperson and Leader Sol Harris said SCOUTS New Zealand was pleased to accept P&O Cruises’ invitation for Sea Scouts from the Auckland region to have a big ship experience on Pacific Aria.
“What a fantastic experience for our young Waiheke and Howick Sea Scouts to be welcomed on board Pacific Aria to meet the crew and the Royal NZ Navy navigator trainees and to hoist the Sea Scouts flag,” Mr Harris said.
“As a community based organisation run by volunteers and funded entirely by donations, we truly appreciate organisations such as P&O who are willing to share these opportunities, which can be incredibly inspirational for our youth. From humble beginnings come great things.
“The chance to learn more about historical navigation juxtaposed with modern technology is fascinating, invaluable and fun. And who knows, maybe we have a future navigator, engineer or ship’s captain among our kids today?
“We are very grateful to everyone on Pacific Aria for their generosity and for opening their doors to this world at sea. We look forward to our new friends one day visiting us at our Waiheke Sea Scouts Hall, which we call ‘The Ship’, although ours is considerably more cosy than Aria!”
NZ Herald Article: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=12221023
P&O Facebook article: https://www.facebook.com/POCruises/posts/10156772515286187
Waiheke Sea Scouts Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WaihekeSeaScouts/
About Scouts New Zealand:
Scouts is a global movement providing excitement and challenges for youth in a structured and safe environment for the last century. Scouts New Zealand helps over 14,000 young people each year to enjoy new adventures, to experience the outdoors, interact with others, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The programs cater to boys and girls who are encouraged to be themselves, work together and thrive. The various activities embrace a wide range including boating and sailing skills and qualifications along with outdoor, first aid, citizenship and leadership skills.
For more information about Sea Scouts or Scouts New Zealand go to www.scouts.org.nz or visit their Facebook or Instagram pages.
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Sea Scouts Waiheke
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