Camping at Tawharanui

 

Imagine waking up to the crashing sound of waves and the smell of sea salt drifting through the air. As the morning sun shines through your zipped-up tent the sound of morning breakfast sizzles in a frying pan. Well for our Year 12 PE Studies class and four of the PE teachers, living in this day dream became their reality for four days as they embarked on an exhilarating and very salty experience, while camping at Tawharanui.

If you can visualise a situation like this, it might be interesting to add that the students were also responsible for bringing their own camping equipment, (and many Pak N’ Save purchases later) all the food they would need to cook and prepare for their own meals. As the student’s assessment focus was ‘Risk’ it was fitting that the camp consisted of a range of activities including cooking, kayaking, hiking, snorkelling, swimming and paddle boarding. Students were encouraged to think of the various risks that could occur in these situations, and what strategies they could use to minimise the dangers.

Holding heavy tent bags and with adrenaline pumping, the students first of all set up their tents in small groups. After some minor tent difficulties, the group journeyed on a two hour walk to the highest point at the Tawharanui camping grounds, where a vast blue ocean stretched far into the distance. This became a favourite sitting spot for many, as the sunsets and sunrises looked incredible.

Their second day rolled around quickly and included an action-packed agenda, with the students performing their practical assessment at a small bay called Goat Island. Once arrived at the bay, the students were split into classes where one class snorkelled and the other kayaked; it seemed that their snorkelling practises prior to the camp came in handy for sure!

The snorkelling class followed their guides from Epic Scuba and Snorkel, as they swum in the crystal-clear water alongside marine life such as giant snapper and sting rays. The kayaking class paddled along the bay in the warm sunshine.

The students were also graded on their ‘duck dive’ where they had to dive down three to four metres deep, collect sand and then make it to the top as they cleared their snorkels. The day’s activities were so action packed that some of the students forgot to ‘slip, slop slap’ and ended up quite sunburnt by the end of it!

Following onto the next day, everyone enjoyed a fun time at the beach with swimming and competing in a heated sand castle building contest, which definitely brought out the competitive side for some! Later in the day, the students were split into four groups and took turns with their instructors learning how to surf and ride a wave.

By the end of the camp the PE studies class had formed many new friendships and gained ‘long to be remembered’ memories; from swimming with sting rays to balancing eight people on a giant paddle board! As the students packed up their tents and gear, said goodbye to the nasty long drops, and finally climbed aboard the bus to go home, the experiences encountered and the new connections made, brought everyone together like a family.

Francesca Adams