After leaving Conway I joined B.I. and stayed with them for 6 years in which time I discovered the delights of Durban, so much so that I joined Safmarine after taking my Mate’s ticket and then went on the coast as a first step to coming ashore.
I was having such a good time sailing with Smiths/Unicorn that plans to come ashore were put on hold, but then disaster struck in that, when seeing the pilot off in bad weather outside Durban en route to Mauritius, the lashings on the deck cargo parted and I lost an argument with a number of 44 gallon drums of oil. The ship put back into port and I was put ashore for what was to be a 5 month convalescence.
Whilst in this vulnerable and weakened state my wife Jean took unfair advantage of me and she and I were married in October ’67. My time at sea shortly came to an end and I finally came ashore in ’68.
I spent 3 months trying to sell German office equipment – calculators the size of a PC which cost a fortune- then realised that shipping was my forte. So I went into stevedoring, ship’s agency, operations clerk, freight clerk, then ship management, and more ship’s agency.
In 1981 I started a small ship’s agency company and finally sold my shares in that in 1998 – my youngest daughter is now the MD.
In 1998 Jean who is a Physiotherapist and I took a two year sabbatical and wandered around Southern Africa with a Land Rover, adapted caravan and tent. (Those of you who are interested may find it at www.fikawe-tribe.co.za, but be warned, it is not a literary masterpiece.)
Coming home we had to do something – Jean went back to torturing patients and I took up tutoring for the professional exams on the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, a bit of supercargo work in Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar and East Africa, and, after doing a full time course at the local Technicon, I set up a very small (very, very small - just Jean and I) company to design and host websites. (www.misafi.co.za)
We have 3 children, our first, Michael being born in 1970, and 8 grandchildren – our son Michael has to my amazement just completed 25 years sailing for Maersk and has now taken up a contract as one of the deputy harbour masters at Dampier.
We are not wealthy but we lead a comfortable life and – thus far – life is good.
Living in Durban, South Africa.