For many years I have dreamed about that elusive horizon; the wonder of what’s around the next bend or just over the next hill. I’ve always had that desire to step away from the societal norm and go,… somewhere. The actual ‘where’ part never really entered the equation, just the going part.
As an early teenager on a river, in an open canoe, I went around one too many bends and disappeared upstream for a while. It was only a day outing with family friends but the lure of that next bend in the river pulled me toward it and from there the next bend did the same.
After a while and many bends later I headed back down stream to the put in, and through some miss communication my family was not there. I figured all was good with the world as my Dad said they would be up near Hills Crossing, an old, rickety wooden bridge crossing the upper Brisbane River.
So naturally I headed back upstream to try and find them at the bridge crossing…with absolutely no luck at all. Instead of feeling scared at this predicament, I was elated at this new adventure I found myself on. Unfortunately, not knowing where my wanderlust had taken me scared my poor parents a bit. I did find them, on the other side of the river and not quite at the bridge.
In my early thirties I did it again, this time I built some wooden Sea Kayaks and with some friends, paddled up the coast of Queensland, Australia, from Southport, Southeast Queensland to Cairns, Far North Queensland; about 2000 kilometers worth of paddling and beach camping and around four months of journey time. And honestly, I had never felt so at ease and at home before in my life. Being out on journey, dealing with the elements and hazards that only the wilderness can provide was, to me, just plain wonderful. Scared my parents again, but in all fairness it wasn’t until I returned and then told them about things that had happened that they felt any anxiety.
In my mid forties, we found an abandoned Wharram Hinemoa and she was my first rebuild. Even with a great deal of research and investigation we found out very little about her past, so we named her ‘Mystery’.
I found something very special in the process of bringing back to life the dreams that this little vessel once carried. Of course our dreams are different to the original dreams that caused her to be built in the first place, they’ll never be known by us, but they are adventure dreams none the less.
We had planned to take Mystery on a largish journey along the southern coast of Asia and explore the ancient spice trade route, the one from Arabia to Indonesia but life got in the way.
The end result is that now we have other adventures we’re plotting and planning to take off on. Oh, we’ll still do the old spice trade route…sometime, it’s always good to have back up adventures ready to go.
Then, in my late forties, I built an ethnic styled Polynesian outrigger canoe designed by James Wharram Designs, it’s a Tahiti Wayfarer 21, we called him ‘Wilber’.
We took Wilber down to a little town called Bahia Kino on the Sea of Cortez, Mexico…we did some shortish journeys and lived on beaches for a few months and generally recharged our wanderlust for a while.
As an outrigger canoe, we found that for longish expeditions the equipment and supply weight was too much of a burden for our little boat. We needed to carry enough water and food for at least 2 to 3 weeks to make the distance between the small settlements that exist around the coast of the Sea of Cortez.
When well loaded the weather window to effectively sail this outrigger canoe narrowed to between about 6 and 11 knots, higher or lower winds would either bury him into waves or not develop enough power in the sail; which was very frustrating!
So it was back to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I built the second hull for Wilber to make him a double canoe and with this boat the plan was to hop along the Gulf of Mexico coast from the Mexican border to the Florida Keys…again life got in the way.
So instead we spent time noodling around various places along the Keys area. We met some wonderful people at the Hui Wharram on Islamorada and through them we found our next project; a Wharram designed Tangaroa 35′.
We found her in Texas and we needed her to be near Pirates Cove, Alabama.
So I modified a car hauler, built some frame work for the hulls, and slid them, one at a time onto the trailer and we moved her. The return journey for each of the hulls was a 1000 miles and we could only travel around 55/60 miles per hour.
And this is where we ended up.
So that elusive horizon remains elusive, however the journey has been and still is a wonderful experience! Soonish we’ll have this next boat on the water and this one has the ability to take us nearly anywhere where the water is deep enough to float the hulls.