HMAS Rankin sailed into the quiet coastal town of Esperance, Western Australia, on 11 September, engaging in community and social engagements that were enjoyed by her crew and the community alike.
Members of the ship’s company visited six schools eager to have the crew visit for a brief talk.
The students asked some insightful questions relating to life on board, atmosphere monitoring and the work rest routine while dived.
Leading Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner Christopher Gilbert said he found the visit rewarding.
"I have never been involved in a primary school visit before and having over 50 kids bursting out of their seats to ask a question was great experience," Leading Seaman Gilbert said.
"My favourite question was ‘why are you wearing different costumes?’ in relation to the different uniforms of the officers and sailors."
A reception for key community figures of the Shire Council and the Port Authority was hosted in the control room of Rankin. Although conditions were a bit cramped, the guests enjoyed the evening, many of whom were experiencing their first time in a submarine.
The next day the crew mustered at the local oval to challenge the Clontarf Foundation football team to a friendly match of Australian Rules football.
Although the Rankin team showed some great spirit and determination, by the end of the first half it became apparent Rankin was trailing significantly. However, with the assistance of a few ring-ins and a rapidly rotating substitution, Rankin was able to close the gap. At the final siren though Rankin was not able to claw back the points from the first half and conceded victory to the younger and more agile locals.
Members of the crew were also invited to a function at the Esperance Council Chambers hosted by the Mayor of Esperance.
Commanding Officer Rankin Commander Douglas Theobald, originally from Esperance, was presented with a plaque on behalf of the council while the crew were given an opportunity to relax and take in some of the local history.
"Throughout the port visit the crew found the people of Esperance welcoming," Commander Theobald said.
"The visit was a great opportunity for the crew to celebrate a successful work-up period and provided great opportunities for the trainee submariners embarked.
"It also gave the people of Esperance a look at life as a submariner and may hopefully entice some to think about joining."