Tuesday, July 22, 2014
My father - Granger - passed away in his sleep today in Sydney, aged 84.
He was born in Suva, on the island of Viti Levu, Fiji, in 1930.
Boats were companions throughout his life.
His father ran a fleet of large and small trading vessels in Fiji for W.R.Carpenter that, as a young boy, Dad used to travel on through the many islands of Fiji.
There were other large vessels that carried him and his younger brother, Miles, to and from their dreaded boarding school in New Zealand throughout their schooling life.
As a young man he served in the Merchant Navy of Fiji.
Later there was the ship called "The Lakemba" that he serendipitously met my mum on while travelling from Suva to London.
There were many yachts in his life too - including the yacht "Kanai" that he raced on Port Moresby Harbour for many years with his friends from the Royal Papua Yacht Club ,and in later years the yacht called "Narawi" that he raced with his friends on Sydney Harbour.
The photo above captures him at right with a paddle in his hands, sitting on the stern deck of a skin-on-frame kayak. I am guessing that this photo was taken on the Avon River in Christchurch, NZ, during one of his school boarding terms, and thousands of miles away from the warm waters of Suva that he would rather have been paddling over.
In PNG we were fortunate to have friends in the spectacularly beautiful Trobriand Islands.
Dad and his friend Ret.Captain Don Wilson took us out in small motor boats to fish on the surrounding reefs at night, pulling up seemingly huge fish on baited lines.
During the days I remember us studying the traditional large outrigger canoes that still lined the beaches in front of the villages.
From PNG, Dad once took our young family for a holiday to Vanuatu where we paddled beautiful slender local outrigger canoes. That pleasant experience of one afternoon with him on a Vanuatuan lagoon has stayed with me ever since and it has undoubtedly shaped my fascination and enjoyment of paddling quietly around in a slender boat.