A 17-year-old sailor from Kingston, Ont., got the thrill of a lifetime sailing the Arabian Sea on the rigging of a 85-metre long tall ship, and says he hopes to one day make a career out of sailing.
Saimaniq Temela was the lone Canadian among 15 sailors from around the world who recently visited ports along the Arabian Peninsula aboard the training tall ship Shabab Oman.
Temela grew up Kimmirut, Nunavut and moved to Kingston when he was nine years old. He joined a sail training program through the Katarokwi Native Friendship Centre in Kingston, aboard the tall ship St. Lawrence II, and quickly developed a fondness for sailing.
Five years later, he was given the opportunity to take part in the Arabian Sea sailing trip, which was organized by the Sultanate of Oman, the Oman Navy and Sail Training International.
Temela told CBC News the idea made him a bit nervous at first.
"I was a little skeptical to go 'cause I've never travelled before, really. So going halfway across the world is quite a big trip," he said.
In the end, Temela said he was glad he decided to go.
"I was just amazed by the ship itself. It's a 285-foot ship, over 150 feet tall, you go from a little ship to three times that," Temela said.
'Spirit of togetherness'
"We went to the desert in Oman and we got to go camel riding. ... The experience was, obviously, a once-in-a-lifetime, truly, amazing experience."
The director of the Kingston sailing program, Christopher Chafe, said Temela learned a lot.
"There was no hesitation at all that he would be a really great representative for not only the St. Lawrence II and our program, but Canada," he said.
"The spirit of sail training is the spirit of togetherness, and working together towards this common end, and you don't really get a better opportunity than the one he got."
The teen said he plans to finish high school and one day make a career out of his passion for sailing.