Our Start to Sailing
When Sue and I first met in 1974, she had recently taken time out of her graduate studies to go trekking in Nepal with her father, and I had just taken a year out of my university studies to travel around southern Africa with my brother, Tony. So Sue wanted to get me to Nepal, and I wanted to take her back to Africa. Being only students, this made a nice dream to strive for.
After I finished my degrees (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California in Berkeley) we got married in 1979. By this time we were both working and living very cheaply in a group household in San Francisco. Since we were spending less than even 1 of our incomes, we could save money pretty quickly.
In 1980 we put together a sort of a honeymoon trip, as we'd never really taken one before. We bought about $5,000 worth of airline tickets, and allocated about that much again for "living expenses" while we were on the road. We started with a month in Japan with Sue's exchange-student "brother", and continued through Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Bangkok, and Nepal. We spent 6 weeks trekking in the Himalayas and photographing the people, mountains, and the rhododendrons that form the main forest vegetation.
After Nepal, our trip continued through Sri Lanka to southern Africa, where we bought a Peugeot 404 station wagon and toured South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Lesotho for about 9 months, camping out and visiting as many of the game-parks as we could. We had a wonderful time photographing all the wildlife, especially in the game parks, where the people must stay in their cages (their cars) while the animals roam freely.
By late 1980 we were back in the Capetown area, wondering what we should do next. Options included going back home and starting the whole kids/work/house routine (which didn't sound very appealing at the time), or possibly fixing up an old Land-Rover and driving it up Africa to Europe (or as far as we could get), hoping we could avoid Idi Amin and the various border skirmishes and corruption that are endemic in Africa. High adventure, but a bit scary. Then we heard of a boat that was sailing to the Caribbean and was looking for crew. At the time, I had only a vague notion of where the Caribbean was, and neither of us had done any real sailing, but it sounded like good fun and it cost about the same as our airline tickets home. So we cashed in our tickets and signed on board the Sabi Star, paying ~$15/person/day for the privilege of steering the boat. We did a couple of test-sails in Table Bay to get used to the boat and to meet the other crew members, and then we set off in early January of 1981.
This trip changed our lives in many ways we couldn't even begin to imagine at the time. The story continues in the section on Sabi Star.
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