WAM2014 — some scattered recollections from a year later

15 January, 2014

###Moot Begins!


Contingent Flags waiting for the ceremony to begin

Well, really it was more like our bus trip came to an end.

But either way, we were met at the front gate by Lady Anna, who had been one of the World Moot pretourers. I had travelled literally from one side of the country to the other and was still able to have a chat with someone manning the gate…

Because the buses bringing over half the Victorian Contingent to Moot were a little behind time, WAMOC were nice enough to delay the proceedings for us. We ended up having the ceremony after dinner. Being part of the contingent team, I was entrusted with the important job of carrying the flag onto the stage area and putting it into the… flag-holder.

VIC and NSW face off, west side story style

After the ceremony was done and dusted, the various WA VIPs made their way out, and we got down to some serious partying.

I don’t remember doing a whole lot for the first couple of days, before the expeditions began - aside from catching up with World Mooters and exploring. Activities were pretty light on, although I do remember playing giant jenga with Beefy and Bubbles and a pre-expedition briefing.

There were a few early theme nights though, including the traditional New Year’s Eve celebration starting with the NZ Contingent at about dinnertime and finishing up with the Canadians from BC sometime the next morning.

###Expedition The expedition that I had chosen was Dive 101, the “intro to SCUBA” expedition. We were the last group to leave the site, as we were being driven the short distance into Perth’s scenic WA Branch HQ, where we would be staying for the next couple of days.

Being limited by the numbers that the dive school could accommodate, we were a pretty small expo. Wal, Adam, Victor, Linda, Scotty, Melinda, Jacqui, Erin, Marina, Helen, Max, Dave, Del, and Nick. Also with us were expedition leader Barry, his wife Carolyn and another RA, the enigmatically named “PB”.

The phone tower

The phone tower

Over the course of our expedition, we would discover that Barry and PB were well-regarded for their catering prowess throughout the WA Rovering community, when the Moot Executive (including Barry’s son) would drop by for dinner. We spent the rest of our first day together getting to know one another, through games like Cards Against Humanity and Mafia and some time down at the harbour.

Late in the afternoon, we were taken for a brief tour of Perth, ending up at “Hillary’s” a small harbour, where in an hour or so, we were scheduled to have dinner. It’s where the Aquarium is, and there is an impressive array of inflatables for people to muck around with, as well as some shops, too.

Making friends at the Breakwater

Making friends at the Breakwater

As the bus took off, we took in this vista, and by mutual agreement we set off for the pub (an very fancy pub called The Breakwater) where we dumped our phones into a pile and continued getting to know each other.

A few hours later, when Barry came looking for us because dinner was ready, he just looked over the barrier and at our tables, gave a little sigh, and said words to the effect of “I should have known.”

Dinner at the Harbour

Dinner at the Harbour

Dinner was pretty tasty though, a nice greasy chicken & chips. It was really windy too. Then it was back to WA Branch for our only real “party night” (because alcohol and SCUBA don’t mix super well.)

Let’s just say we made the most of it.

We played most of the ‘getting to know you’ type games that people could think of, culminating in the most entertaining game of Never Have I Ever I’ve ever taken part in. I was actually rolling on the floor laughing at one point.

Long story short, by the time people went to bed, we’d forged a pretty strong identity as WAM Dive Crew 101.

####Day Two - Theory

Theory time

Theory time

We had been sent a workbook to complete before coming to WAM, but we still had to do a bit of theory so that our instructor Phil could be confident that we weren’t going to drown ourselves the moment he took us out into the shallows. We also spent this day learning a very important dive signal: There’s a big f**king shark behind you!

Phil was highly amused at this, and said that if that were to happen, we would have two options: hit the bottom and wait for it to get bored and swim away, OR get out your knife, stab your dive buddy, and head for the surface.

After lunch we did a test to see if we remembered enough stuff to dive, which we all did, so we headed off to the dive shop to be fitted for our gear. That took over an hour.

Swimming at Pelican Point

Swimming at Pelican Point

Afterwards, we went to Pelican Point Sea Scouts where we were going to have dinner with the two expeditions that were staying there. Neither of them were there when we arrived, so we had some fun swimming instead.

Ok, we had a lot of fun mucking around in the water instead, but it’s basically the same thing.

I think that in the end Barry gave up on waiting for the others, and started cooking. They showed up while we were eating in the end, but I don’t think that we got the full, cross-expedition dining experience that had been envisaged.

That’s OK though, because Marina and Melinda fought over a steak like a pair of wild animals. After dinner we played a game of “keepy-uppy” basically just hacky sack with a proper ball, then had a quick group happy snap and headed home for the night.

####Day Three & Four - Beach Diving


So when learning do dive, you don’t get to do the cool “fall off the boat” entry into the water, they start you off in the shallows, learning how to overcome the natural instinct that breathing while your head is underwater is a Very Bad Idea.

Well actually, the first thing we did was to prove that we were able to swim somewhere between 50 and 100 metres and then tread water for the remainder of the ten minute time limit that we had to finish in. I chose to take forever swimming, because treading water is incredibly booooorrrring.

Next, we were back on shore, learning how to assemble our gear. Then we were getting used to diving, in 1.5m deep water, which was surprisingly hard because to get out of the water and listen to our dive instructors meant going from sitting to standing, and dive gear is really heavy when you’re not in the water.

Erin needed help to put on her wetsuit

For our final dive of the day, we got to do our first proper dive, heading down to a decent depth and looking at some cool stuff. Our aim was a plane that crashed down there, in a really convenient spot for the dive shop to take newbies out to look at, but we didn’t quite make it because someone wasn’t handling their first dive all that well.

It was pretty cool, I still saw some seahorses and big fish and other deep stuff. But I didn’t really enjoy diving, especially being unable to talk and having to rely on the hand signals that I wasn’t that great at seeing, or to be honest, remembering. I actually hadn’t been all that keen to do this dive, but I figured I’d give it a shot since it was a “proper dive” and it might be better than the training dives we’d done earlier in the day, but that was it for diving for me.

On our way home, we’d stopped to put a WAM shirt on the statue in the Swan River, because apparently that’s the done thing in Perth. That night was movie night. We watched Finding Nemo, because why wouldn’t we?

The next day the others continued their diving, while I hung around on the foreshore. Suit-up was observed by one of the people who was working on The Wammer, the Moot newspaper, and it turned out that she was fairly involved in Rover training in WA, so we went to a cafe along the strip until she had to move on and visit her next expedition for the day.

Unfortunately one of the others had a freakout in that session, so they weren’t able to find me (although they were fine for the after-lunch session) so that lead to everyone using the Power of Facebook to swap phone numbers. A second person dropped out of diving that afternoon, for medical reasons. We also had fish and chips on the way home, so that was delicious.

####Day Four - I’m on a Boat


Day four, our final morning away from site. It was group hug time as we left WA Branch for the last time.

Today, we were off to Rottnest Island, because of the sweet dive spots all around there.

It wasn’t until we were three quarters of the way out there until someone pointed out to me that I should have brought my snorkel & other swimming stuff so that I could join in a little, so that was a disappointing oversight on my part, but I have a whole bunch of dramatic entering the water pictures that are pretty cool, like this one.

The ride out was pretty cool. We left from Fremantle Port so there was a whole lot of container ships hanging around, saw a tall ship cruising around, and generally messed about boat-style on the bow.

The morning was dedicated to the guys completing their final qualification dive, with the afternoon set aside to do something more cool if everyone got signed off, which I’m happy to say that they all were. There was a minor freakout at the start of the morning dive, but they were able to their their qualifying during lunchtime, so that was good.

Lunch was also good. As soon as the boat made anchor, one of the crew was straight into the galley and everything was delicious. I’m sure you’re all as glad as I was to know someone’s priorities were in the right place

There isn’t a lot more to say about the boat journey, which is disappointing because there are a few more pictures that I wanted to put in this section of the post.

####Back on Site My favourite part of WAM was the first night back from expeditions, when everyone got to introduce their new friends to their old friends. The blackboard and the bar both got a big workout that night.

The next day, I was scheduled to do my service activity, which ended up being the removal of a weed from a wetland. It was 45 degrees that day, so needless to say, no one was very keen to do this job. After about an hour, the WA Parks Service guys who were looking after us decided that things were much too hot and called the rest of the activity off. Then they hosed us down with their fire trailer.

me on toga night

Hail Caesar!

That night was the toga party. Apparently, if you have an Australian Moot, you need to have a toga party. I went for a traditional toga, but there are so many different options on how you can wear a sheet that the mind boggles.

In the absence of anything better to do, I went to Fremantle the following day. It’s pretty and has, amongst many other things, a statue of an angry John Curtain shouting in front of the town hall, which I found very amusing. The bus that was doing the transport was owned by Scouts WA and it had some pretty good graphic design showing Scouts looking like a fun thing to do which was good.

####Eastman Shield The Eastman Shield is the inter-contingent competition which is held one night of each National Moot.

The teams this year were Victoria, NSW, Queensland, SA, Tasmania, ACT & NT which may or may not have been a join team, I don’t recall. There were the international teams from the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Miscellaneous, and our hosts and carryover champions, Western Australia.


The events included in the Eastman Shield were both sedentary like Chess, and traditional like the Tug of War. Two main events stood out for me, the first was a relay race, in which teams from the contingent would run from the stage, around the ”blackboard circle” in the centre of the entertainment arena and then back to their team. The blackboard circle was surrounded by benches for the campfire that the blackboards were there to keep us out of and in the hustle and bustle, many people got knocked over/into those benches. In the end, I’m not sure if this event was DNF’d, but it was supposed to be even more dangerous than that, as the WA person organising the competition had wanted them half the teams to run clockwise the other counterclockwise but luckily everyone else realised that that was a horrible idea and that part got canned pretty quick.


The other event I remember specifically was the final Tug of War, when it was down to the UK to prevent Western Australia from taking their third consecutive Eastman Shield victory. It was a tough choice for many of us as to if we would prefer a third consecutive sandgroper win over the Shield heading back to Blighty, but to cut a long story short, that’s why Beeby and I were singing God Save the Queen at an Australian Moot. Who says that you don’t learn anything at BP Lodge Uniform Night?

I had originally planned to go sailing the next day, but it was one of the two days that “The Cube” a large, cube shaped building was living up to it’s drawcard status by opening up its abseiling, fclimbing and high ropes activities for a massive two hours — instead of just being providing a convenient spot to project movies onto each night. I think we got shafted on that one….

Also that day, Esther was presented with her Spritual Development badge (maybe? It was definitely a Method B badge…) anyway, there was a small group of us who took advantage of WAM’s generous policy of briefly opening the beach up after dinner for a sunset badge presentation, followed by a whole heap of pictures — some of which were nice sunset shots, or good pictures of the presentation/Crew/visitors and some of which… weren’t.

####Rottnest Island

My Gold activity was to head back to Rottnest Island, and to actually make landfall this time.

There had been an expedition based on the island, Rotto Rampage, and everything that I’d seen/heard from that had looked fun, so on January 9 I was up suuuper early. Well, early-ish. And on the bus off to a ferry.

We arrived at the dock to find the bus we were supposed to have departed on was casting off (and also that the mail had been on that boat) so we had 45 minutes or so to kill. 47 of the ~50 Rovers heading to Rottnest that day then descended on the bookings office/coffee shop to our right; while King, Lisa and I took the road less travelled and found a different cafe was just opening up shop around the corner. They had their first customers, and we didn’t have to wait for half an hour. Everyone won!

Eventually, the Rottnest Express returned to the dock, and 20 minutes later, we were standing on the island! I wrote a quick lullabye  about how Beautiful Annie was having a quick snooze on the voyage over, but I shan't reproduce it because, apparently, that would make me the worst.

A map of our route

Our route, more or less...

King, Lisa and I went for a bike ride around the island, enjoyed some sweet views, looked at the lighthouse, and then rewarded ourselves with a late, but tasty lunch at the pub.

After that, we had a little ride around the township then soon we were back on the boat to Fremantle and then back to site.

###The Final Countdown

The last night at WAM was an interesting one. With the contingent bus scheduled to roll out of town at something ridiculous like 3am, I had my swag packed up well early and went for a final wander around the campsite… when out of a window, Alex “Alex Preston” Preston, calls me over and leaves me to guard several hundred tshirts branded with the next Moot, to be hosted in Victoria in 2017 (save the date!)

I wasn’t sure how there could be any negative consequences for the early release of a shirt, but I wasn’t busy so I hung out there until the rest of the contingent showed up for Tshirt handouts/Final Briefing/a couple of WF Waters Medallion presentations.

Big Bad Bob was amongst the VIPs at the closing

The Closing Ceremony was OK, although there were a few changes to the arena for the final night. Free Kebabs was the most important part of it from the perspective of Dive Crew 101. The ceremony didn’t start until a plane towed a banner saying “WAM2014 - Thanks for coming!” flew over the site because they were on track for a massive profit and needed to burn some cash…

It was also Victor’s 21st as well as the final night of the Moot, so our expedition had some delicious cake between the closing ceremony and the ceremonial handover of the Moot Mace/official launch of The Moot 2017.

with Erin and Marina after the closing ceremony

The other theme of the night was “Blank Tshirt Party” — apparently the traditional ending to an Australian Moot. This was a slight bummer as we Victorians were under strict instructions to keep our uniforms on until The Moot was launched, to protect our Top Secret Moot Branded Shirts from errant permanent markers.

But eventually WA’s Chief handed over the slightly tasteless piece of timber, followed by Tamslam and Smelly taking a selfie for … I have no idea. Anyway, once that was over, we were allowed to get changed, and start drawing on each other, which was fun.

There was also a band on, possibly the Artic Monkeys? They were expensive and not widely liked — although the people who had heard of the band beforehand were quite happy about their being here.

I don’t remember much else that belongs on the record from that night, so that’s a pretty good place to leave it. No troubles were had leaving, although strangely I was again waiting for the final bus offiste with Dive 101.

We took many pictures.