Ellen captains the Young Endeavour
A THREE word sentence was enough to sum up Ellen Johnson's adventure on board the STS Young Endeavour.
"It was awesome."
The Airlie Beach local started her journey on Tuesday, July 12, and arrived in Cairns last Friday after spending 11 days at sea.
Prior to hopping on board, Ellen, 23, said she was most looking forward to climbing the rigging and it was exactly what she'd hoped it would be.
"When they got me up there, they couldn't get me down," she joked.
After seven days of training, the youth crew is put in charge of sailing the vessel for the remainder of the voyage.
Ellen was handed the role of captain by her peers and she said the experience was trying but rewarding.
"We had 24 hours to sail from Dunk Island to Fitzroy Island, which was 64 miles, and we didn't have much wind," she said.
"It made planning out the course quite difficult and daunting but it ended up working."
Ellen learned a host of valuable skills, including leadership and teamwork skills, as well as how to get along with people in confined spaces.
But there was one highlight Ellen said took the cake - having her crew nominate her as captain on command day.
"We would nominate ourselves and then the youth crew would nominate who they wanted to be captain," she said.
"It was a pretty amazing feeling to know they trusted me and believed I could do it."
It seems Ellen's leadership skills made her a stand-out personality on board as she was handed an excellence award from the Order of Australia Association.
The award is only given to one member of the youth crew at the end of the voyage and Ellen said it was a "flattering" to be the recipient.
Ellen was joined by 23 other youths from all around Australia on the once-in-a-lifetime voyage.
For more information about the STS Young Endeavour visit http://www.youngendeavour.gov.au.