Saturday, July 21, 2012

Where Hobart Excels

There's one thing that Hobart might have over any other anglophone city in the world.  I reckon this place has a higher concentration of completely mad high-latitude sailors than any place outside of Ushuaia. 

As an example, I give you our dinner guests aboard Galactic last night.  That's Dave Pryce on the left, and Leiv Poncet to the right.

Leiv is stopping over in Hobart on a little jaunt around this aqueous sphere of ours, beginning and ending at his home port in the Falklands.  His itinerary?  Falklands - South Africa - Crozet - Kerguelen - West Australia - Tasmania.  In a few months he's planning on completing the circle with two more legs: Tassie - New Zealand and New Zealand - Falklands.

Look that up on Google Earth and know fear.

Dave, not at all to be outdone, has run three high-latitude charter boats, and worked on one or two others.  Or, I think he has - it's kind of hard to keep track of everything the brother has done in the Southern Ocean.  He has all these stories that start off like,  "the time we flipped Blizzard", or "the time the crew went overboard", or "the time we got hung up in the Falklands because a crew put his finger in the wind vane and broke it in three places".  The maddest story of his that I know (if I have it right), involves leaving Hobart for Patagonia on board Blizzard, running charters there and on the Antarctic Peninsula, then continuing around to Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, for another charter and finishing up in Hobart - a circumnavigation of Antarctica, involving three charters, and all of it done in a single summer. 

The great part about these guys, though, is that they seem to do it all without ego.  No chest-beating, no making sure you know how badass they are.  They're like the best sort of mountain climber - they've found a really engrossing thing to do in life, they're motivated by the strange sort of joy that this pursuit gives them, and that's good enough, thanks very much.

We had a great time swapping tales over dinner.  It took us an hour just to get through everyone's hilarious stories about customs officers in various ports of the world.

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