The submariners in HMAS Rankin have completed a month-long adventure training exercise that took them from Kalamunda to Albany, in Western Australia, and also raised money for a very worthy cause.
The idea was decided on by the Rankin’s crew during transit back to Fleet Base West after a nine-month deployment.
Commanding Officer, Commander Doug Theobald said the activity aimed to help integrate new crew members and build a stronger, more resilient team.
“Everyone was really enthusiastic about the idea, it quickly developed from an overnight camping trip into a trek of the 1003 kilometre Bibbulmun Track - we thought it would be a worthy challenge,” Commander Theobald said
Always up for an additional challenge, Rankin also set a goal of raising $10,000 for their chosen charity Beyond Blue. The mental health charity was chosen with careful consideration, acknowledging the very serious effects of anxiety and depression on some Navy personnel.
It seemed appropriate that an activity to develop mateship and teamwork could also assist in raising the awareness of this issue that affects many people.
The crew completed the trek small groups of two to four members in relay, with each group including at least one new crew member.
The first group stepped off from Mundaring Weir on 5 September, with all groups spending the next four weeks trekking south to Albany. Each group walked an average of 45 kilometres.
After some seriously inclement weather, hundreds of blisters and the odd graze, all the participants travelled back to Kalamunda on 6 October to walk 13 kilometres into Mundaring Weir - completing the final leg of the route as a single group.
One of Rankin’s newer members, Able Seaman Marine Technician Submariner Joshua Van Der Heyden, found the adventure training exercise offered different opportunities to work together as a team.
“It was a great experience, we got to push ourselves physically - it certainly tested our map reading skills,” Able Seaman Van Der Heyden said.
Within a couple of days of Rankin completing the physical challenge, the fundraising target of $10,000 was also achieved.
Rankin recently completed a nine-month deployment during which she participated in Exercise PACIFIC REACH, an international submarine escape and rescue exercise, operating out of South Korea.