Our Initiative Course

In August, most members of the Unit attended the Region's Initiative Course in the Wombat State Forest west of Melbourne. It was an interesting course (Aggers always runs 'interesting' courses) in that of the 13 who went, 7 were from 1st Deer Park. The levels of skills of the trainees were many and varied before the course, especially the culinary skills. I don't believe Matthew's stomach will ever be the same again. I know his trangia in recovering well after bypass surgery.

The highlight of the weekend of course would have to be the weather. Sunshine?, yes. Rain?, yes, Wind?, yes. Ice?, yes. The measuring equipment we had on hand indicated -4 degrees air temp on Sunday morning. Zippers on tents were frozen solid, there was sheet ice on the flys and the car door rubbers were frozen. How cold was it? It was so cold that 3 of the Venturers even slept in the same tent as the leaders to keep warm. Now that's cold!!

Saturday morning saw breakfast held in the dry.

The group sits around waiting for the day's activities to commence.

Lisa (1st Epping) watches as Daniel and Kieran sort through the ropes building the windlass.

Kristy and Rachael working on the windlass' square lashing.

Lunch and what good timing for Andrew, Tim and Matthew's group. They get to sit around the fire.

No matter how much he tried, all Aggers did is confuse the heck out of everyone doing the map reading.

Matthew, Tim and Andrew have a go. Most of it was OK, but other bits.....

Kristy thought she had it, but no. For those who have been on one of Agger's courses, exactly how long is a piece of string?

So as Saturday night set in, so did the cold.

Um, tea time. The meal was supposed to be assessed and Aggers did his best but I think some of it was beyond being assessed. Matthew's for instance defied eating, let alone assessing.

Rachael cooks up her yummy delight. Personally, I like my eel's feet pickled, but boiled is good too.

I don't know if they were cooking their tea, trying to stay warm or just frozen solid where they sat. Either way, I was assured the inventor of the trangia is a rich man now.

Kristy waiting patiently for ...... well, for something.

Bouf made himself welcome everywhere and even helped cook a few of the meals.

These Venturers deserve a medal. Not only did they survive the cold and the course - THEY SURVIVED US !!

Rachael and Kristy make a start on their damper.

And so the culinary delight grows. Even Daniel had to join in and check it out.

There's something about making damper by tilley light in the freezing cold which captures the imagination.

The finished product. Was it edible, you bet.

Ain't friendship grand. And doesn't Matthew look like the type of guy any mother would be proud to have date their daughter?

It's a bit hard to see, but this tent fly is covered in sheet ice. How cold was it? It was so cold ........

The course on the Sunday morning getting ready to head off on their way back to Gisborne.

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