My adventures in Israel began with a team-building exercise. We had been split into groups that were going to be our groups for the entirety of the trip, so it was time to get to know one another. And what better way to get to know one another than by building a raft from scratch together and then sailing said (small) raft across a large body of water?
We arrived at a beach on the Sea of Galilee, otherwise known as the Kinneret Sea and began unloading everything. Now, keep in mind that this was pretty much our first day in Israel. From the moment I stepped outside the airport, I had been suffocating. I have never known so much heat. Oh my goodness, was it ever hot, and now we were doing hard labour in that intense heat! Joy! But the beach was really pretty, and the whole bus ride there I was shocked by how much green I was seeing. I had assumed, not really thinking about it, that the entirety of Israel was a desolate dessert, but it’s not true at all. There are trees everywhere and it’s gorgeous!
We made our raft out of bamboo sticks, twine, barrels, and canvas for the sail.
At first, I was hopeless at the knots. I had no idea what I was doing. Evidently I do not have a natural gift for tying knots. By the second day though, after much coaching by one of the guys in my group, I managed to get the hang of one of the knots and got four sections of bamboo knotted together. Self-five!
Day 1 was putting together the raft’s base. The people in my group began singing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan, and I knew I was in the perfect group. We spent much of our time with our feet submerged in mud and water. Naturally, my shoes and socks soaked through. We had left the majority of our things back at the hostel for this two-day excursion, so I didn’t have a change of socks or shoes. My feet got very clammy very fast, with little chance for drying. By the end of the second day, my feet were hurting.
We spent the night camped out under the stars. I found my core group of four that I knew would be my group for the rest of the trip. I became instant besties with my new friend Lily. We talked and laughed through most of the night.
Day 2, we decorated our sail and got the mast up. We were team Fired Up! and we were super cool.
Everyone’s boats were starting to take shape.
At last it was time to ship out! We pushed our rafts into the water, climbed aboard and sailed across the Sea of Galilee!
It was pretty fun. Wind was blowing water all over us and we got pretty drenched by the end of it. The journey across the sea took up the majority of our day – fair enough. When we at last reached the other side, we took apart our rafts and rolled the parts up the beach.
It was a long two days, but it did what it was supposed to do: it brought us together as a team. We were Fired Up! for everything they wanted to throw at us next, and believe me, there were some crazy things coming up.
Remember how I said my feet were basically wet for two days straight? Yeah, keep that in mind, it’s important for later.
But for now that’s all! See you next week with the next adventure from Israel!