This would be the dream of many people, save up enough money to buy a decent yacht, sell the house, sail around the world to exotic locations or at least spend your winters cruising around places like the Whitsundays or the Carribean.
In my years as a professional seaman, I have seen many people do just that. I call them the middle class yachties, they do it reasonably comfortably,utilise marinas for the convenience (sort of like caravan parks) and usually maintain their boats with adequate funds to keep them seaworthy and comfortable.
I have also witnessed the extreme ends of the spectrum. On one end you have the
millionaires/billionairespeople with obscene amounts of money who have huge yachts with professional crews and are like floating palaces.
Mostly seen around the ports of the Mediterranean and Carribean where they are like a status symbol. They cost a fortune to maintain and in a lot of cases the owner is lucky to spend a month a year aboard because he is too busy running his empire to actually enjoy his boat! To be fair some of these vessels are at the cutting edge of technology and certainly have a real “wow’ factor about them.
At the other end of the scale are the people who build a boat in the backyard or scrimp and save to acquire a vessel that is of sometimes questionable design and seaworthiness. I liken them to sea gypsies. They are living the dream on limited funds often scrounging parts and cobbling things together to keep going, or working along the way to keep cruising.
They are often seen on the fringes of harbours or anchored off because marinas are too expensive, their boats often have a scruffy, down at heel look about them. No shiny stainless steel here nor insurance either!
The interesting thing is that they help each other out in many ways from sharing information about anchorages or the cheapest ways of doing something to giving a hand to anti-foul before the tide comes back in.
They also probably cover more miles and see more deserted anchorages than many cruisers. They may not do it in absolute style and comfort but they do it and I have an idea that they are probably the most contented because they are doing it their way.
These are a couple of random images I shot in Fiji about 20 years ago. The first one is a great illustration of the spirit of the people of Fiji, kind of ” No money, no worry!”
That attitude makes a mockery of the western ethos of selfish capitalism especially in light of the recent ”Financial Crisis”‘. I know who are generally more happy!
I shot this one purely for the colour of the umbrellas which I have tried to accentuate through some work in Lightroom 2.
Hope you have enjoyed my little trip down memory lane, the next post will probably be some images of the Whitsundays where I live.
Where do the Children Play?
In Fiji, the world is their playground! It was refreshing to see the kids make the most of what they had. Virtually none of them had manufactured toys, so a tyre or a cardboard box was somthing to let their imaginations loose with. For the girls,young babies were the closet thing to a doll available. Never heard any child say they were bored!
Pull out a camera in front of the kids and before you knew it you had happy chaos as they all tried to out do each other for the camera, big smiles allround!
The nice thing was that you didn’t feel like a suspect if you photographed kids being kids so I hope that sort of innocence doesn’t get taken away by the fearmongers of the world.
This last image was a shot that begged to be taken, his expression is pure gold!
I sincerely hope these kids have grown up to be happy funloving adults which we should all aspire to!
These are a couple of images showing some of the incredible mats that the women weave in their spare time.
All made from natural material found in the surrounding bush they are made as floor coverings and are also a traditional gift at ceremonies such as weddings, funerals etc.
They finish these quite large mats off with colourful woolen designs and fringing and really are a work of art in some cases.
The amount of time to make one from start to finish is staggering but the end result is worth every minute!
How was your day?
Hi, I trust you all survived Xmas and New Years in good shape!
These are a couple of images that show how “lucky” we are here in Australia and indeed most Western countries.
Electricity is something we take for granted but in many poorer countries like Fiji, daily tasks are still done by hand because electricity is not available outside towns.
Daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing etc become a little more difficult and time consuming.
It’s not all bad though, they usually manage to turn it into a bit of a social event that keeps everybody involved laughing. And they build some of these villages on some prime real estate as well.
But, next time your washing machine goes on the blink, remember it could be a lot worse!
A simple life
These are a couple of images that were typical scenes to be found in a Fijian village 20 yrs ago and would still be found in many villages today.
Cane knives are a ubiquitous tool used by most males over the age of ten. There is not much that can’t be done with a cane knife, from splitting open coconuts to doing the gardening.
They are very skilled in the use of these knives and they keep them sharp! One thing I did notice was that many Fijian males have scars on their legs which is part and parcel of learning to use a cane knife when they were younger.
In most villages nowadays the grass hut or Bure has been replaced by corrugated iron shacks or if they can afford it a cement block shack.
While not always aesthetically pleasing to the eye they are practical and kept spotlessly clean and tidy.
I was curious as to why they no longer built from natural material which was easily and cheaply replaced. As they still cook over an open fire in most villages, grass huts were a hazard,so iron sheets were the next best material.
In cyclonic conditions though, I know which material I would rather have flying around the place!
In response to a query from Graham at Ecomuse Images and with inspiration from truenorthmark, I am going to step back in time to 1989 when I was lucky enough to spend 5 months in Fiji.
I turned up with my surfboard, my backpack and some Nikon camera gear and no idea of where,what ,how. (Get the picture?)
To cut a long story short I kind of went native after being adopted by a local family who had family scattered over the Fiji Islands.
Even though I didn’t get to surf some of the places I was trying to get to, I got to spend time with some of the most generous and warm-hearted people I have yet to meet. I also saw and learned some aspects of Fiji that most tourists never see and got a few images to boot.
These images have been scanned from 35mm Kodachrome Slides so image quality may not be perfect but for 20 yo images they are not bad!
Hope you enjoy the next few posts from the vaults!