After hoping nothing would break and then having three engine mounts break in a shipping channel on the St. Lawrence River, Canada, I learned, late in the day, to take a closer interest in my boat's diesel system.
Later, sailing alone in sub-Arctic Labrador, I was overwhelmed by serious mechanical issues, two of which required help from the Canadian Coast Guard.
Like many boatowners facing similar fears and frustrations, one day I came to a clear choice - give up or get in deeper. Unwilling to give up the sea, I chose to persevere, to train as a marine mechanic, to go to work for experienced salty sailors and to learn all I could about marine diesel systems on small boats.
The three boats I've owned have taught me important lessons, though I've too often been slow to learn.
My first boat, Karuna, was a Roberts 36, centre cockpit. She was, and still is, an excellent boat that kept me safe on numerous mini adventures sailing in the Andaman Sea between Langkawi, Malaysia, and Phuket, Thailand. She was more than I deserved because the first time I looked at all the hoses and wires around the 29hp Bukh engine, I sighed and, as I closed up the engine compartment, just hoped everything would keep running. Thankfully, more or less everything did.
The second boat, Kuan Yin, a 32-foot steel ketch-rigged Tahitiana, was to become a far greater challenge.
Adventure in the Blood
Adventure's been in my blood since I was a small boy living on the edge of the Yorkshire moors in northern England. After leaving school, I hitch-hiked alone from Cape Town to Cairo and visited Afghanistan in 1976, before the Russian invasion.
In 1980 I emigrated to Canada and in 1983-84 walked 2000 miles across India, which became my first book, "A Walk along the Ganges".
After that, I took up a canoe, hammock and rain canopy to travel in the Amazon rain forest, eventually living the Yanomami Indians. Stores of those adventures were told in "Amazon" and in "Savages, The Life and Killing of the Yanomami Indians".