Steve Dennis is a TBI Alumnus and was both a Seamanship Award Winner in 1991 and Deep Sea Award Winner in 1992. As part of the Deep Sea Award, he went on an international exchange and had the opportunity to sail aboard the TS Royalist from Gosport (Portsmouth) through the English Channel around Land’s End and into Cardiff.
[In writing this update, I just noticed that in 2012, Steve will be a 20 year alumnus of TBI – that is the year of TBI’s 50th anniversary.] I asked Steve for a perspective of his Deep Sea Award exchange experience almost 20 years later (I hope that he doesn’t mind me “rounding up”).
He shared the following when asked how his exchange experience impacted his life and in fact, he was writing from an overseas assignment in the Middle East:
This exchange was my first overseas travel and introduction to different cultures. I believe the experience was influential in opening my eyes to the world. After finishing with TBI and my university degree, I started working overseas. I continue to be humbled and in awe of the diversity of people across the world, and the similarities we share. The Deep Sea award was a wonderful experience for me.
Steve provides the following favourite memory from tall ship sailing exchange experience:
I arrived in Portsmouth with some time to spare. From the bus station, I walked down the hill reciting the poem in my head, “take me down to the sea.” I wasn’t just breathing in salt air, I was breathing in the culture and traditions that walked down the same streets, duffle bag over shoulder, for hundreds of years before. In the distance, I saw three masts, crossed with many yards, painted in the Royal Navy’s yellow and black. I had to see it, I read so much about it, this vessel graced every book on British naval history, and there she was. The HMS Victory was Lord Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar, and there her restored glory rested. I toured the ship, and several others in the harbour, before grabbing a ferry across the sound to Gosport, where the T.S. Royalist awaited. Walking through a naval dockyard, I could feel the sense of history staying alive. Approaching the Royalist, I noticed she was alongside a modern naval submarine. Walking across the deck of modern ship of war completed my visit to naval history past and in the making. I came aboard and started my journey.
[One of the things that I have enjoy much how much about learning about TBI and tall ships is getting caught up on all the history and geography that I didn’t know! Every conversation that I have causes me to learn something new … and today I refreshed myself about The HMS Victory, Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar. My old highschool history teacher, Mr Kroh, would be proud.]
Steve Dennis is one of the more than 40 Deep Sea Award winners that have gone on an international exchange with another tall ship sail training program.