Abseiling penguins

This article has photo gallery Published on Warrant Officer John O'Brien (author)

The Penguin Command Team prior to abseiling down the steep cliffs at Shelley Beach. (photo: Unknown)
The Penguin Command Team prior to abseiling down the steep cliffs at Shelley Beach.

For some just being in the Navy would be out of a comfort zone, but Navy people need to up it a notch to extend their leadership and teamwork skills.

HMAS Penguin, led by Petty Officer Physical Trainer Ray Bell, did just that when they conducted an abseiling exercise at Shelley Beach in Manly, New South Wales on 24 March.

The aim of the activity was to develop individual and group qualities, including self-confidence, courage and cohesion amongst all ranks in an unfamiliar environment.

Commanding Officer Penguin, Commander Paul Gall said that taking time out from normal work routines was well worth it.

"The ability to get the whole Command team together was not only enjoyable but a great exercise in teamwork," he said.

"All in all it was a great activity."

Petty Officer Bell and his expert assistants, Petty Officer Physical Trainer Rhoderick Hunter and Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Craig Wieckorst, did a great job in setting up the two challenging abseiling courses and it certainly challened many.

"It was fantastic to see the look of satisfaction and exhilaration on the faces of the Command members after descending the 45 metre sheer cliff face at Shelly's Beach.

"It was a big achievement for some of the members who clearly had a fear of heights however, faced their fears and conquered the cliff," Petty Officer Bell said.

The day was all about team building and the training exercise is designed to take personnel away form their place of work and place them in an unfamiliar environment.

All safety measures were adhered to providing a safe exercise by monitoring individual safety as well as other team members.

"Abseiling the massive overhang may be hard, but it's easier than growing up. However, next time I decide to take the plunge it will be in a pool!" Petty Officer Bell said.

The views were rather spectacular and it made for a great sight as personnel made their way over the edge, all under expert supervision, while it certainly achieved the aim of developing leadership and teamwork.