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140711/13 Cubs

On the weekend of 11th/ 13th July the 7th Crawley Cubs were, at the expense and kind genorisity of their Akela, travelling to Australia for a weekend of sightseeing and bbq’s.  BUT, on the boat trip disaster struck (actually it may have been a very wayward iceburg?) and the ship sunk.  The Cubs managed to swin/ doggy paddle to a rather conveniently placed desert island and then had to survive until rescue came………..if at all.
In case none of the cubs made it, Akela decided, being a Police fan (The pop group as opposed to the “boys in blue”) to send a message (or two) in a bottle which are transcribed, for historical purposes below together with a photographic record (but only a very small selection) of the camping experience.
PCM 16.07.14
Message in a bottle 1- Saturday, 12th July 2014 at 08:02
Good morning everyone!
Despite the pack being stranded on a remote desert island I still appear to have internet access which just goes to show that the wonders of modern science know no bounds!
We had a very successful set up yesterday afternoon and HUGE thanks to everyone who “pitched up” to pitch the tents – sorry!!  We managed to get the majority of the canvas (5 patrol tents and 3 man tent for the cubs) up by 2.15pm AND they were still up by 8pm last night!
After the parents left the Cubs got into the full swing of camp undertaking challenges………………..
  • 1 – Shipwrecked! – to get the cubs off of the perilous reef that we managed to swim to after the horrific episode of our ship sinking
  • 2 – Finding survival items;  I was somewhat concerned, having left some “un-useful” items that each team, bar none, suggested that the “pet hamster” wrapped up in a survival blanket, dusted with salt tablets and laid out on a foil tray, having been previously dispatched [humanly I trust] with a knife, would make an ideal first meal – Bear Grylls has a lot to answer for!
  • 3 – Building mini rafts in case we have to find our own way off of this island if no one comes to rescue us tomorrow afternoon at 3.30pm PLEASE!)
  • 4 – Designing a water drop (we have a lot of budding artists out there especially in North
The Cubs eventually got to bed at just after 10.30pm – The majority getting to sleep quite quickly – best tents were “5” and “6”.
This morning, without a single night incident, the cubs were awake (I could hear them even from my hotel bedroom over at Gatwick! – I wish!!!!) by 6am – they are going to be REALLY tired a bit later on! 
Just waiting now to “officially” let them loose on the world and then it’s BREAKFAST!
Points so far (as at 10.30pm):
  • NORTH 1275
  • SOUTH 610
  • EAST 865
  • WEST 890
I’ll try and catch up again with you all later with further up-dates as time allows……………………………….
Paul (Akela)
Message in a Bottle 2 – Saturday, 12th July 2014 at 13:02
Me again! – In the epic words of Victor Meldrew (of “one foot in the grave fame”) I don’t believe it! – We are half way through the camp already!
Breakfast was very popular as all the cubs appear to have increased their appetites overnight!
Mid morning we enjoyed an ice cream under the blistering hot “s_ _”.  If we aren’t rescued soon we might just start to enjoy ourselves?!
The cubs have now completed one of their 5 sessions of Camp duties.  North & South can now wash up, East can recognise litter and actually find a way of picking up rubbish scattered around the island that has been washed up on the tide AND West are expect toilet cleaners – Very useful once they get back to civilisation – if they ever do…………………..
At the moment the teams are working their way through four challenges namely mini archery (in order to collect fruits and other eatables for lunch OR if they are bad shots poisonous snakes and scorpions!), compass training (so far three teams would have got lost – I think more work might be required once we are back home), working out how to get an amount of water from one side of a river to another (with cubs getting wet in the process) and following a string trail blindfolded – some rotten leader (who shall remain nameless – but there is a rumour it was Akela) keeps turning on a tap and spraying the cubs as they boldly go where no sane person has gone before!
Then it will be lunch and ……………….. oh, yes MORE camp duties – who will be doing the toilets next???
Thanks to Kate, Clare and Sarah for helping out in the kitchen – much appreciated.
Points so far (as at 11am):
North 1630
South 965
East 1355
West 1205
Plenty more challenges and of course points to come………………….
Paul (Akela)
Message in a Bottle 3 – Saturday, 12th July 2014 at 14:59
Dear all
Your third camp up-date…………………..………
Lunch is over – Cheese, ham and green stuff with some some Brownies (the chocolate variety and NOT on the same plate!)
The camp duties went well with South collecting litter, North and West washing up and East fast becoming the toilet cleaning experts of 7th Crawley!
Now the cubs, in their continued struggle to survive on this desert island, are building shelters out of anything natural.  Some of the cubs have tried to argue that corrugated iron, because it has been abandoned on site, is natural.  It’s about as natural as the plastic sheeting that we have also confiscated from another of the teams!
Looking forward, I and the rest of the leader team, cannot wait to check out the shelters.  Each has to go through a rigorous MOT style series of tests, when we check for tension, air tolerance and, of course, waterproofing – We are hoping, as in other years, that the later test gives a result of “Nil point” and the cubs will face the full onslaught of a bucket (or three!) of water!.  All in the name of science you understand as we are demonstrating how acid rain can affect even the strongest buildings – not a description I could really use in connection with the structures we normally see at camp – but fun any way!
…..and of course, having been affected by acid rain, and in true safeguarding tradition, we have to make sure that each member of the stranded crew have to be properly de-contaminated – another excuse for the leader team (hopefully) to get the cubs (and us) totally wet! – A water fight on camp is always a great deal of fun – sadly someone has to carry the camera
After the water fight the cubs will start part one (of four) sessions working towards the Backwoods cooking badge. and then it will be time for dinner…………………………
Points up to 1pm:
North 3940
South 3725
East 4240
West 4630
Paul (Akela)
Message in a Bottle 4 – Saturday, 12th July 2014 at 17:22
Dear all
Up-date number 4 ……………………….….
Well.  I was wrong! – Carrying the camera and recording the event for posterity did not exempt me from getting my fair share of de-contamination despite me trying to persuade the “crew” that the acid rain had not gone near me.  I am sitting here soaking wet but having, along with everyone else on the field, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of getting as many people wet in as short a period of time as possible and all in the name of Safeguarding to ensure that the young people in our care would not be permanently affected by the effects of the pollution brought in by the unseasonal precipitation!
I just hope the camera dries out as quickly as I do!!
Another couple of minutes or so of the water fight and then onto more serious endeavours with the first round of backwoods (not backwards!) cooking.  Lead on McPherson!
Points currently remain as at 1pm:
North 3940
South 3725
East 4240
West 4630
Paul (Akela)
Message in a Bottle 5- Saturday, 12th July 2014 at 22:32
Dear all
Up-date number 5 ……………………….….
Apologies in the delay in sending this latest up-date – my excuse? …………………. A ship was spotted off the east coast of the island which caused a lot of excitement amongst the crew.  Frantically the young people collected up fire wood from the beach and we lit a fire but……too late and the ship sailed on.  It wasn’t a nice looking ship anyway!
So we are still marooned here on the island.  It seemed a shame to waste the fire we had built so we had a campfire singing songs around it and then cooked twists and toasted marshmallows.  These with the chocolate bananas we made and cooked at dinner time have meant that we are all now experts in back woods cooking.
And what does tomorrow bring?  I understand from looking at the piece of string that I have tied to the top of my beach shelter that it is possibly going to rain, the temperature will be approximately 20 degrees, there is a possibility of thunder and lighting and Germany might win the world cup.  A pretty good piece of string all round really and one found washed up on the sands only this afternoon.
And what of the points I (think I) hear you ask…………..?  Well, Due to the hiatus with the ship we think that the score sheets might have been burned on the fire so currently the leaders are racking their brains to work out what points were given where – it could be a very long night!!.
Anyway, campfire and backwoods cooking challenge over for the night, it’s just bed (I hope) for 32 very tired but exited young cubs and quite a few adults as well.
Up-date number 6 and the finale tomorrow.
Good night!
Paul (Akela)
Message in a Bottle 6- Sunday, 12th July 2014 at 08:03
Good morning – or for some of us “elevenses”!!
Day 56 ……………………….. still no sign of being rescued.  That horrible brown coloured ship has been back a couple of times but we didn’t fancy slumming it; we do still have some standards even after all of this time.
Another ship has also been bothering us pretty much from day 1; its Captain really won’t take “No thanks” for an answer.  Initially I have to admit that I was tempted to say “Oh, go on then” but my better judgement was soon in play and I was persuaded by certain members of the “crew” to stand my ground – Democracy in action!  It was only really when one of the girls – sorry – female members of the crew – pointed out that the rather garish fluorescent colour of this ship clashed with her sandals that brought me to my senses – what could I have been thinking of?  How stupid and reckless of me!
Breakfast coming up – Must admit that I am getting a little bit tired of a diet of oysters in a rather nice piquant sauce, caviar and turtle steak – what I would do right now for a large plate of baked beans lavished in tomato sauce?
We are going to have a go at building and lighting fires later on – a final attempt to attract the right kind of rescue party – no riff raff for us!  Hopefully…………………. HINT, HINT at 3.30pm this afternoon our ship will come in.  We can have a closing ceremony and finally say “goodbye” to the island for another 4 years.  I can almost predict that by 4pm the younger members of my crew and the majority of the adults will have been rescued.  They say that a Captain always goes down with his ship – I’m an admiral with no ship but there will still be plenty to do after the island has been abandoned.  I hope that some of my senior crew will stay on to the bitter end………………………
And now for the long awaited points – These are as from midnight – yes midnight last night!
North – 4095
South – 3800
East – 4395
West – 4670
Will now sign off – not sure if there will be another opportunity to make contact before the end ……………………………………………………….
If I don’t make it – please post this note to my family as my final goodbye ……………………………………………………
Paul (Akela)
Last message (7) – Sunday, 12th July 2014 at 16:39
Dear all
Up-date “final” ………………….……….
We have been saved – just when we thought there was no hope.  Each and every member of the crew has been recovered safely.
And that’s nearly it for another year.  A brilliant camp by (I hope!) anyone’s’ standards.
Thank you’s all round especially to:
The Leader Team who have given up their weekend to make this camp such a successful one…………………………Jill, Trevor, Owen, David G, Alnur, Rosie, Debs, Pete, Neil, Paul T, Hywel, Sam(antha!), Thomas, David L, Mike, Anthony and  Imogen
To the parents who helped set up and take down the tents (some whose children no longer attend the pack and have moved on to Scouts as well as friends from St. Andrew’s church).
To the parents who have donated cakes and goodies for the intrepid survivors (sadly the hamster didn’t make it!) and especially those who contributed to Akela’s refreshment fund!
To the parents (and a sister – well done Vicki! – I hope your school camp in a couple of weeks goes well!) who have helped in the kitchen during the weekend – not sure how you got here or managed to get home again bearing in mind that this IS a desert island – but sometimes you just don’t ask the nth question!
And “to anyone else”, who after only 2 or 3 hours sleep over the last 36 hours have misted over in my mind – please excuse me for not mentioning you by name – you know who you are and we are all grateful for everyone’s contributions.
The spirit of Scouting is well and truly alive at 7th and it makes me very proud to be a part of it.
Finally, the biggest thanks must go to the (revolting) crew/ cubs – their thirst (quite literally on occasions in a place where fresh water is scarce) for knowledge, their tireless enthusiasm and staying power is a joy to behold!
I am in the process of booking up for next year’s camp – same time(ish) and definitely place – 10th/ 12th July 2015 – Stanfords Camp Site, Peasepottage.  A date for your diaries.
AND if all goes well over the next few weeks I intend to try to put all the photo’s taken during this camp together (with any video footage) as well and show as a camp video on Tuesday, 9th September (if the date changes I will let you know).  EVERYONE IS WELCOMECD’s of the camp will hopefully also be available at the price of £5 all proceeds going to the charity for which I am a trustee – KAANA (for further information please go to
Now it’s time to finish clearing up before getting off home and a well earned rest – Yawn!!! Perhaps a bott__; no a glass of win_; No; bee_; No – water!!
See you all on Tuesday for our last meeting before the summer break.
Paul (Akela)
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