Introduction to my website

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well in this case they are wrong, no picture can tell this story.

For over seventy years I have been playing and working with boats and words and there are a few stories I would like to leave for my family.

Originally my intention was to just write them up in a series of books but events changed that. Dreamweaver the main software for website building had been getting more and more expensive. It was getting more and more bloated with stuff ordinary people never use. So it got the chop.

Then out of left field I was asked to do a small website in WordPress. The comparison is like going from a car with steering and freedom of choice to a railway jigger where you are on rails and you go where they go. The inability to do things like I always did has been very frustrating.

I had an ace up my sleeve, Jaron the owner of Cheeky Monkey Hosting has been a pillar of strength and has set me up with an internet facility that will last as long as I am capable of putting ink on paper. Thanks Jaron.

But I am getting there…..and  this is the vehicle for me to tell some of my life story.

If you don’t like it you can bail with a simple CLICK.

For those who stay and even come back I hope you enjoy a life that has really been fun.


My first ever boat was a little clinker dinghy that arrived for my 5th birthday at the family bach on the Manukau Harbour. In the 50’s times were tough an my presents had a direct association with my fathers hobbies. Boating and fishing. My first ever bicycle came with a Danforth anchor strapped to it.

From those carefree days at Wattle Bay my life has always been associated with the sea. I will do the Wattle Bay thing separately.

I have boated recreationally and commercial, I have been a; rower, kayaker, sailer, launch-man, Master, Commodore, Bosun, Chief Mate, deckhand, Senior SAR Crew, SAR Skipper, Sailing Master, boat builder, race director, team manager and so on.Mostly mono hull but the odd cat and outrigger thrown in.

Right now I am at a low point with just a 27ft launch, 2.8m rubber duck in operation and a fibreglass dinghy and open water rowing boat somewhere in the long grass.

I have done my boating as far south as 60 degrees South [Ocean Station Oscar] to Castine in Maine USA, Galiano Island north of Victoria Canada, northern Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the Pacific Islands as far north as Hawaii.

My best times have been on the Hauraki Gulf and the coast as far south as Tauranga. Iwish I was out there now, I can see it through the office window but my leg is not ready yet.



In case you were asleep during science class. Radio and TV and all those things use radio waves. I could tell you more but I am not your mother.

My career in radio began on the 19th January 1961 when I enlisted as a 15 year old Junior Radioman. As a career in retrospect I hated it but it did lay down some important skills.

Paramount of these was teaching me to touch  type. That has made me a lot of money over the years.

Morse code is not much use any more but I can tell that a very popular sports programme has an introduction that would have got them a biff from my old instructors.

My communications life has covered marine radio, land mobile radio, alarm monitoring, internet use, web design. electronic publishing, you name it.

The radio operating high point would have to have been my days with the Royal New Zealand Coastguard. Using your skills to save lives is right up there in the meaning of life and I am looking forward to telling those stories.


Words is where it is all at. We speak them, we write them, we think them, we see them, without them we have no direction. They are just as is a logo of a finger pointing a message for the brain to turn into an action.


My involvement with words has been multifaceted. Like all of you I leaned to write them and I am lucky enough to have a reasonable skill at stringing them together.

I could never claim to have perfect grammar, nor do I intend to spend any time trying to achieve that. My aim is to strength them together in such a way that  you enjoy reading them.

You need to understand that I have a dry sense of humour and what is written is not actually what I meant .

The news has always been something that has driven me. Even in my minuscule days of education I was involved with school newsletters and journals. I liked writing about things to tell other people about things.

I guess the most important document in my word life was on Royalist which you will understand when I get to write the story about that ship, not a happy time.

Unbeknown to my superiors I used to borrow the ships office typewriter and turn out a daily newspaper with news I had squirrelled away from my time on radio watch. Everybody thought it came from the ships writers.

After a long twisting journey along lifes road I arrived at the door of desktop publishing. It was the holy grail to me and life has never been the same since.

Suffice to say I was sort of getting along OK because nobody knew any better and then I got a lucky break.

I had taken a hospital pass and copped the job of Race Director for the IV World Outrigger Canoe Championships. And that is a story I must tell. During the event I met two people who would change my life. John Woods the owner of NZ Geographic Magazine, NZ Adventure, NZ Skier and other titles. Bob McKerrow and adventurer who was the Editor of NZ Adventure.  Initially I was offered a job there because I could touch type and knew my way around a dictionary. In time I progressed to doing page design and layout and the die was cast.

That also introduced me to Chris Ziesler then of Sportways doing advertising layouts. Coming up 27 years later I am still doing that.

Then there is the internet and web design……… story time will tell you about that.


Might seem a bit strange to focus on such ordinary day things.

Up until a just a few months ago I had owned just three fountain pens. [now I have 20] An Osmarod 56 I purchased from Whitcome and Tombs when I left school. A more modern Osmarlod 65 I purchased from the same shop a decade later. A Shaeffer Imperial from the same shop in the late 60’s.

The first two pens always used Stephens blue ink but the Shaeffer marked the start of my ink adventure. I cannot remember them all but there was a brown ink  and a black ink and then a green ink. I was still using that when I arrived in Navy Office to work for the Admiral. Panic stations as the only person in the whole effing navy allowed to use green ink was the ADMIRAL. His deputy was the only person in the whole effing navy allowed to use red ink. This was a safety thing, if you saw those two colours on paper you went to DEFCONONE. Needless to say a young Petty Officer using green ink was not in favour. So I changed back to brown.

Fifteen plus years ago I began my last sub career in search and rescue with Coastguard. Everything you write could end up with a Coroner or in court and fountain pen and water are not a good mix. So it was roller balls and the fountain pens got stored away somewhere [not sure where].

Earlier in the year I went to Whitcoulls to buy a yellow rollerball. Lamy Safari was the brand name. No sorry we do not have that but we have fountain pens. No thanks.

A couple of days later the words fountain pen seeped through my tiring brain cells. Off to the shops where I selected a red Lamy Safari and some black ink. Unfortunately when I went to use it I found I had the shop demo. A dried up ink cartridge was fitted and a new one did nothing. I got onto Gurgle for advice and picked up on Pat Clay from INKT in Whanganui. I had never purchased anything from Pat but he offered his advice and a days soaking later for the first time in a decade and a half I was laying down ink.

Come Fathers Day I acquired a couple more Lamy fountain pens and I was away.

On picking up a bonus in the form of a backdated Veterans Affairs disability pension I was able to further what I had rediscovered…. a lovfe of drawing, writing, fountain pens, fountain pen ink and suitable paper.

The internet is the home of fountain pen knowledge and following YouTube etc has given me a very satisfying hobby which has also cross pollenated into the typesetting work I still follow as a trade.

So this is my place to tell you about fountain pens and ink just in case you want to take an interest.