After almost a year of planning a group of thirty one Air Cadets and nine staff members from across South West Wales have recently returned from an extremely successful two week overseas adventurous training camp in the British colony of Gibraltar.
The key activity during this camp was the open water Professional Association of Diving Instructors Course (PADI). The course, which is split into three areas of theory, confined water and open water diving, allowed the cadets and staff the opportunity to learn about various pieces of equipment as well as develop a variety of skills which then helped them enjoy the scuba diving experience. Having built up their skills and confidence in Rosia Bay the cadets progressed to dive in and around a set of 4 barges, sunk to create an artificial reef off the coast of Gibraltar. The cadets, many of whom were using this opportunity to complete various levels of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, were certified, on completion of the course, to dive with a qualification that is globally recognised.
The remainder of the two week camp was designed to allow the cadets of No 3 Welsh Wing the opportunity to participate in other equally exciting activities including a walking tour of the famous Gibraltar rock, a dolphin safari as well as meeting Gibraltar’s iconic Barbary apes. One of the most memorable activities was a trip to the Naval contingent based in Gibraltar, who arranged to take the cadets out into the harbour on rib boats. Each group would head out into the harbour area and get the opportunity to drive the boat at speed while other members of the group would be dragged along in the water holding on to an inflatable ring.
Asked about his experience of Operation Felix 2012, Cadet Corporal Seb Payne of 2227 (Mid Gwendraeth) Squadron said “Absolutely brilliant! Loads of fantastic memories, especially of the diving and everyone on the camp.”
“This was an experience of a lifetime! I’ve got some fantastic memories and I met some really great people and learnt some amazing skills. I’d recommend this camp to anyone; no cadet would regret this experience.” SCWO Nico Fitzgibbon, 2117 (Kenfig Hill) Squadron.
Cdt Cpl Naomi Broome of 334 (Neath) Squadron had the following to say about her trip to Gibraltar, “This has been my most favourite experience as an air cadet, one I will never forget, with friends and memories I will keep for a life time.”
It wasn’t all hard work for the cadets: after an exceptionally busy fourteen days they needed some time to relax. Heading across the border into Spain they spent the day at the Aqua park. Here they enjoyed the various water slides, wave pools, jacuzzis or, for some, simply relaxing pool side.
Said Flight Lieutenant Liam Brace, the Camp’s Commanding Officer “This expedition has been an experience for all concerned and has shown how much can be achieved when the entire Wing combine their efforts and work towards a single goal. I am truly appreciative to all those people, both inside and outside of the Wing, who have supported us in our endeavours.”
The cadets arrived back in the UK sporting a newly found sun tan, a nationally recognised qualification and having enjoyed an adventure of a life-time in Gibraltar.
Flight Lieutenant Brace said “Without the funding from the Ulysses Trust and the RAF Charitable Trust, this expedition could not have taken place. We are extremely grateful to the Trusts for ensuring we could run this camp at the lowest possible price to ensure inclusion for the maximum number of cadets. Thank you for your generosity and kindness.”