Twenty-one personnel from HMAS Stirling have participated in a 135 kilometre Cape to Cape trek to promote the benefits of healthy lifestyles, teamwork and resilience within the Navy community.
The Cape to Cape trek runs from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and takes between five to eight days to complete. The track traverses along the ridge and beaches of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park following the coast from Cape Naturaliste, Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin, Augusta. Cape to Cape participant, Chief Petty Officer Electronic Warfare Submarines Lisa Turner, described the trek as being extremely challenging yet very rewarding with highlights being the magnificent Western Australia coastline and getting the opportunity to watch whales swim off the coast of Prevelly Beach.
“Last year I did the Cape to Cape trek from North to South and completed it in seven days, with a support crew every second day.
“However I had not hiked at all before and found it extremely challenging and my pack was much heavier as well,” CPO Tuner said.
The team split into two groups, one group departed from Cape Leeuwin and travelled south whilst the second group departed from Cape Naturaliste and travelled north, crossing paths at the halfway point.
“This year we did it in six days and I decided to do the Cape to Cape in the opposite direction so I can now say I have walked there and back,” CPO Turner said.
At the completion of the walk, HMAS Stirling Commanding Officer, Captain Brian Delamont, conducted a memorial service as a tribute to sailors from the N Class Destroyer HMAS Nizam who lost their lives off Cape Leeuwin in February 1945.
Nizam experienced tragedy when a freak wave struck the ship off Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia as the ship was making her way to Fremantle. Ten sailors were swept overboard as the ship rolled heavily and their bodies were never recovered.
Speaking at the memorial service, CAPT Delamont said it was a reminder of our naval heritage and that we are part of a long and proud tradition.
“Based on the memorial to the lost sailors near the coast off Augusta, the site now commemorates all N Class destroyer crews and HMAS Stirling leads Navy’s efforts to perpetuate their legacy,” he said.
The trek was part of Stirling’s Adventure Training program which forms a significant part in enabling personnel to learn more about individual and team strengths and weakness, and how persistence in extending often self-imposed limitations can bring success in the most challenging of situations.
HMAS Stirling’s Adventure Training Unit has completed 107 half and full day activities throughout 2018 so far, with 1679 personnel participating.