Kicked off our tour today in Venice where many of the participants got the opportunity to visit this historic city.
In the evening Colonel Graham Fleeton gave a welcome address (see below) setting the scene for what was to come.
Graham Fleeton's Welcome Address:
Welcome to our Gallipoli 100 Adventure!
Our cruise down to Istanbul is not really a part of the actual tour as many will join us in Istanbul.
To us here now, it is the start of an adventure, our adventure. For us, this is the culmination of intense activity for over 5 years. A journey with many bumps and hurdles along the way and all those caused by others trying to influence what we wanted to achieve.
We did not succumb and with your support we now find ourselves steaming towards that place which features so much in our national history.
Once again, on behalf of Paul and our team, I offer you a heartfelt welcome.
With me are our historians who will be in location at the various battlefield sites on the Peninsula and with you here to chat about matters of interest that you may have or read. When you meet them at the stands they will take you through the history of the site and where it fits into the campaign.
Our Admin Team, led by Paul, is in location now at Canakkale and will meet us on the 21st April.
Our ASRL team is also in Canakkale putting the final touches to an historic Gallipoli 100 Event on the waters around the Peninsula. The ASRL Team will fly to Istanbul and join us on the 19th April in order to brief those Surf Clubs taking part in the Gallipoli 100 Event on the waters around the Peninsula
For those of us who do not have a ticket to the Government Service, we are conducting our own full alternative ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Gelibolu on the shores of the Dardanelles. This Service will be just one of the highlights of our tour.
Once again we thank you for being here with us.
It is our intention over the next 3 nights to present to you the Gallipoli Campaign which we hope may enhance your reading and preparation for this adventure. I will be presenting first followed by Lt Col Ron Lyons tomorrow night and then Col Steve Larkins will close off before we arrive into Istanbul where we will be joined by the other members of our touring party.
Travelling with us are many wonderful students representing their schools, colleges and Regions:
It is really such a pleasure to have so many young students travelling with us as it is to have young families here with us as part of this adventure.
We also have of course, the representatives from many Australian and New Zealand Surf Clubs who will be taking part in that once in a lifetime event for any rower, firstly rowing down the Dardanelles and then landing at dawn on the 100th Anniversary of our ANZAC Day as part of our alternative Service.
Now a few admin points:
Each day MSC will prepare a Ship's Newsletter that will be sent to your cabin with the following days programme.
You will be advised of the weather forecast to enable you to prepare for your time ashore.
Those visits will commence on the 20th April but on the 19th once we arrive into Istanbul that day will be a free day and you may leave the ship to visit the city.