Over the last 15 or so years, my life has been very much based on the ocean through delivering yachts, teaching sailing, skippering vessels involved in eco-tourism and environmental monitoring. I have a passion for the natural environment, and love being part of it.
So, how does a seafarer come to be part of the Ecovillage in Witchcliffe?
Here’s my story.
After arriving in Perth as a 15-year-old with my parents and brother from Johannesburg where I was born, living near the sea was like a dream. Within a few days I had already taken up surfing.
I did a degree in Horticultural Management from Curtin University, after almost becoming a primary school teacher. With a passion for surfing, the obvious work for me was in viticulture. I managed to get a vineyard job with a well-known winery in Margaret River and, over the years, was involved in many vineyard projects, some of which were very close to Witchcliffe.
The first house my wife and I bought was on Mammoth Street in Witchcliffe back in 1993, and amazingly, our neighbours at the time are now building their home in the Ecovillage!
About 21 years ago, I had the opportunity to join a beginners dinghy sailing course at a yacht club in Busselton, my first ever sailing experience. I was hooked.
About four years later, I was lucky enough to be able to do one leg of a round-the-world yacht race, which was Durban, South Africa to Fremantle. It was at this point that I decided to attempt to make a career in sailing, and transition out of vineyards. It took some time and persistence to obtain the required experience and sea time for commercial qualifications, but since 2006-07, my work has mainly been sea based.
I have met many incredible people through sailing, and about 18 months ago I met Mike Hulme and spent a whole weekend with him. He told me about the Ecovillage project, and during that weekend, I pummeled him with questions (you can’t escape when on a yacht !🙂⛵️)
It was fortuitous meeting Mike at a time when my personal life had undergone some significant changes and I was wondering where next to call ‘home’ other than the sea. Like so many others, the more I found out about the future ecovillage community and its sustainability aims and the growing of crops, the more I realised I had found my next home. I have also discovered that I have found my ‘tribe’. I feel extremely excited about my move back to Witchcliffe. In many ways I feel my life has gone through a complete circle, and I am finally come back home in so many senses of the word.
My cottage is nearing completion and not surprisingly is being referred to as the ‘blue house’ for obvious reasons as I attempt to add a maritime feel to my new abode. Over time and perhaps not in the too distant future, I plan to spend more and more time back on land as I transition from a seafarer to a ‘land lubber’ 🙂.
I really look forward to meeting more and more people at the Ecovillage and having cuppas or vino on the verandah as we discuss the progress of our crops.
See you all soon.