ALL IN THE JOURNEY
You just never know who you might bump into some days. I was on the phone last week, there was a knock on the door and Viv met Alan Walker, who saw my Sea Soaring Marine sign and thought I might sell burley, as he was heading down to catch some herring. She obviously told him we could not help here, but as he was heading to his car, something told me to say a polite goodbye. Of course we chatted and it turned out Alan was an ‘old’ Cowaramup local who fondly remembered Dudley Bedford living in our place many years ago. As he was leaving, he mentioned that he and his partner, Philipa Ahrens, had sailed around the world for nearly ten years some time ago and now I was really interested. I asked him to call in with Philipa the next day for a cup of tea, as she had written a book about their travels. When they arrived, Philipa produced her 600 page hard bound book titled, “All In The Journey”. There were only 20 copies ever published for the family, as it was just too expensive for them to go beyond this and so I managed to read the blurb, check out the photos and ask many questions about their experiences.
They set off in their 47ft steel hulled sailing vessel, named ‘Sumurun’, in 1993 from Port Douglas, Qld, with 11 year old Heidi, dog named Sox and for the first four years of travels never used another mooring. They learnt to survive with the absolute bare essentials, often bartering food by butchering donkeys and goats, making their own salami and as boaties around the world do, meeting and helping others along the journey. When category 5 hurricane ‘Lenny’ smashed them in 1999 in Sint Maarten, they were one of only a few sailing vessels left standing in the dock. Not bad given this was the second strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic in November and says something about their seamanship skills as they lashed everything possible beforehand. Their scariest experience was when they were bordered by pirates in New Guinea. Alan was bound, gagged and separated from Philipa and Heidi for over two hours. They feared the worst and although all their possessions were stolen, fortunately they were not harmed.
The photos tell their own story with one showing Alan arm wrestling in Malaysia and another showing Sox standing guard on the bow. Naturally, it was a sad day when Sumurun was sold, but they now live happily on a rural property in Kirrup, with no superannuation, growing their own veges, still butchering their own meat and basically living off the land wherever possible. As we said our goodbyes, their parting comment, said with that contented look that only someone who has sailed around the world for ten years could display, was, “Don’t be stagnant, go out and seek adventures, because it’s all in the journey!” Not bad advice if you can organise it.
To answer last week’s question, an orange flashing light indicates diver/s from the shoreline. This week’s question is, “Where is Sint Maarten?”
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