|Narrow boating on the Cheshire Ring|
My love of boats goes back to my early years when I went on holiday with my parents to Knysna in the Cape.
We stayed at a hotel on stilts, and I played in rowing boats and little motor boats on the lagoon.
At around age 10 I read the famous Arthur Ransome – Swallows and Amazons – series of childrens books and was hooked.
I used to “sail” the furniture around my parents lounge.
My father bought a dinghy and we learned to sail at our local waterway – Sandvlei.
We taught ourselves to sail and despite a few disasters in the beginning,
|At the London Boat Show 2012|
I carried on sailing dinghies and windsurfers for years.
I was fortunate enough to graduate from Bishops (or Diocesan College to give it the correct name), one of the two top high schools in South Africa (the other being St Andrew’s College).
During my final school year, a representative from Safmarine gave a talk on sea going careers.
Having no clue as to what I wanted to do, it seemed a good idea.
AND – joining the merchant navy gave me exemption from the then complusory 12 months military service in South Africa.
Many of my contemporaries ended up fighting in the ensuing border war that South africa ultimately engaged in with it’s
|Canoeing on the Orange River|
I did my training the old fashioned way at the South African Merchant Navy Academy General Botha in Cape Town in 1971,
and won the boat handling cup.
It would seem my love of small boats and boat handling was instinctive.
I achieved my Foreign Going Master’s Certificate in 1979. During my time, I served on all types of vessels from the
cruise liner Astor and the Union Castle Mailship SA Oranje to bulk carriers, container vessels, refrigerated ships, tankers, heavy lift vessels and Ro-Ro vessels.
|Skipper of the luxury yacht Kiara off Cape Town|
Even when I was on leave from a tour of duty, I would gravitate toward boats and water. I skippered a number of charter boats at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, as well as the Robben Island ferry.
I was also a part time guide on the Orange River.
I retired from full time sea-going in 2003 and now work as a contractor in the off-shore oil industry.
I still hold a valid masters ticket and work mostly in the North Sea.
This gives me time to go boating!
|Karen and myself sailing in Greece|
My other love is cooking. My wife Karen is vegetarian, and I hardly eat any meat at all.
I have another blog Meat Free Everyday and the cooking and lifestyle of the places we get to on our boating holidays feature a lot in this blog too.