With bicycles loaded onto the trailer and food supplies in abundance carefully packed, male staff members were ready for a journey towards the Victorian Peninsula. This end of year staff retreat highlighted the amazing camaraderie between staff shared at Al Siraat.
In a first for the College, 12 male staff members headed out to St Andrews Beach for a recreation filled weekend of leisure, dining and enjoyment. Most staff members had never visited the area before, with sites such as Cape Schanck, Rye and Rosebud also visited.
Upon arrival, staff explored the very generously sized house and unpacked their bags. The first evening encompassed plenty of teamwork to prepare sleeping arrangements and kitchen supplies. This was followed by a master chef challenge, where staff worked collaboratively to create a wonderful spread of food for dinner, Alhumdullilah. In fact, one staff member received multiple complements for his amazing hommus creation, later being nicknamed Abu Hommus.
Day two commenced early and after a solid breakfast, the group hopped into the bus and headed towards Cape Schanck for a 10km Hike beside the coast. A lighthouse, which was Built in 1859, was the second coastal lighthouse in Victoria and is located on the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula. The group enjoyed the challenging hike with breathtaking ocean views and dense bush land areas. It also included beautiful plants, amazing rock formations and the odd native wildlife animals that weren’t shy for photos. The starting point of the walk was from Boneo Rd and headed 3km towards Bushrangers Bay. Upon entering the Bay, group members found themselves walking down the soft white long sandy beach showcasing the basalt cliffs. After some time on the beach exploring the rock formations and water, the hike continued towards Cape Schanck lighthouse. It was a great opportunity to move away from man-made structures and experience natural wonders that reminded the hearts about the creator and prompted us to glorify and thank Allah for His beautiful creations.
A much-deserved BBQ lunch after hiking, was followed by a trip to Rye beach. Here staff enjoyed some cricket and volleyball action. After some outstanding cricket fielding by Sheikh Ahmad, and exceptional bowling by Mr Vis. An intense, yet very humorous game of volleyball was played. Teams consisted off Mr Salman, Mr Bektash and Sheikh Nizam vs Mr Vis, Sheikh Ahmad and Mr Zaffar. The game remained relatively close throughout, however it was Mr Salman’s team who claimed victory after much deliberation from the umpires. A group of very keen staff members attended to some fishing off the Rye pier lead by Daniel Saleh. Brother Naveed managed to catch a banjo shark, which evidently escaped upon reeling him up towards the pier.
Dinner on night two was heart warming, with a homemade bolognese pasta dish served with garlic bread. Some night fishing followed this, where Mr Saleh, Mr Bektash and Mr Zaffar were able to catch four octopus and one flounder fish.
Day three started with a round of golf at the very beautiful Rosebud golf course. Here a small group of staff members enjoyed a nice walk through the course with the soft cool ocean breeze, which highly complimented the well designed course and green course. The views from some of the holes were picturesque, showcasing the sticking blue bay amongst the undulating landscapes.
At midday staff began cleaning and preparing for departure. The group made one last stop in Rye beach for a BBQ, while a smaller number of staff started their journey home by car and even ferryboat from Sorrento. Those who remained in Rye were invited to join a jet boat ride, hitting top speeds and maneuvering swells in the bay for almost 15 minutes.
This retreat was a unique experience, which harnessed long-term friendships and brotherhood, as well as had given staff an opportunity to enjoy the pleasures from Allah SWT. A big thank you goes to the College for providing resources and time to organize the event. We pray that staff continues to develop even greater relationships into the future.