Introduction to my website
A picture is worth a thousand words. No picture can tell this story. And just a note from the teacher…. it takes a bit of putting these things together and I am making the framework up as I go along. Navigation is always the frustration and I am not happy yet…. just need a little time. My exemption is via Gold Card Serial Number 403 455 534.
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.
Logically with my skill set they should have gone onto a website but I had given up on them. Dreamweaver the main software for website building had just got too expensive and bloated with useless capabilities. I love my fountain pens and hand writing so my intention was to just write them up in a series of books but events changed that.
I was just getting underway when I was asked to do a small website using a programme called WordPress. It is more infamous than it used to be as a result of the hack known to the world as the PANAMA PAPERS. You have to protect your words b efore you go to your three drink lunch boys and girls. Compared to what I was used to Word Press was pretty frustrating but it was free and I do have time on my hands. It required me to free my mind of the old way of doing things and think more free form. Jaron Phillips the owner of the world class Internet Service Provider I use, Cheeky Monkey Hosting was a pillar of strength and set me up with an internet facility that will last as long as I am capable of putting ink on paper. Thanks Jaron.
So here are my stories. The excessive use pf ther personal pronoun goes with the territory because they are my stories. I have left you a way out, and 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 and there was not a lot of money to go around. Thinking back, my presents always had a direct association with my fathers hobbies. Boating and fishing. My first ever bicycle came with a Danforth anchor strapped to it. You can hardly blame me for being a salthorse.
From those carefree days at Wattle Bay my life has always been associated with the sea. The Wattle Bay days are going to generate a few stories because they are the first 16 years of my life and I am looking forward to that.
I have done my boating recreationally and commercially and for the Crown. I have been a rower, kayaker, yachtsman, launch-master, 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. I have now had my ticket for over 34 years. I say that tongue in cheek because the new rules say I must re-qualify. Like I am going back to the classroom and exams NOT.
Always a few boats around me but I am at a low point now with just a 27ft launch, 2.8m rubber duck in operation and a fibreglass dinghy. 6.8m sit on top kayak and open water rowing boat. Think they are somewhere in the long grass.
I have done my boating as far south as 60° 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. I wish I was out there now, I can see it through the office window but my leg is not ready yet.
ON THE AIR
Its not just been the ocean waves, in case you were asleep during science class you will know that Radio and TV and those things use radio waves. If you need to know more about that sorry more 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. It was a life that took me all over the Pacific, to WAiouru, Wellington and Christchurch. Now and again I even got to go to Auckland. Besides radio operating there was management of radio operators and instructing. An important time for me was in Wellington where as a Chief Petty Officer I worked in the Navy Directorate and had my first real publishing job. The Royal New Zealand Navy Station Communication Orders. Learned a lot from that.
My paramount acquisition from my naval communication days was them 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 you that we had some good times with morse especially at Waiouru handling all the Commonweath merchant ships and their telegrams home.
My stories about my communications life will cover naval radio, international marine radio, land mobile radio, alarm monitoring, internet use, web design. electronic publishing, you name it.
The high point will be my days as a SEnior Regional Radio Operation in 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. My Coastguard stories will also cover my time as a Senior SAR Crew, AV Skipper and not a little publishing work.
Words is where its at. Most of us speak them, we write them, we think them, we see them, without them we have no direction. They are a direction arrow 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 would never claim to have perfect grammar, nor do I intend to spend any time trying to acquire that. My sole aim is to string words together in such a way that you enjoy reading them. Some of my stories are about ordinary things that will I am sure take some of you back to your childhood.
You need to understand that I have a dry sense of humour and what is written is not actually what I meant. It does get me into a bit of trouble. That goes all the way up to the man who has the best chance of being the next King of England.
The news has always driven me. Even in my very few days at school I was involved with school newsletters and journals. I liked writing about things to tell other people about things.
I guess the most important development in my word life was on Royalist. You will read when I get to write the story about that ship, I did not have a happy time. But I had something that those who terrorised my life which gave me strength. 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. My bosses thought it came from the ships writers but a lot of people on the ship knew better and gave me sanctuary because of it.
After a long twisting journey along the road of words in print desktop publishing came on the scene. And was I ready. Not only could I write the words I could now design how they would look on paper and it was easy to get into print. It was the holy grail for me and life has never been the same since.
Suffice to say I was sort of getting along OK self taught because nobody knew any better and then I got a lucky break.
I had taken a hospital pass and was trying to educate teenagers of the Ngati Whatua for a friend of mine. The job of Race Director for the IV World Outrigger Canoe Championships came up. Because it was hard work and they could work their way out of paying me I got the job. Actually I was very well qualified for the job 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.
PEN & INK
Might seem a bit strange to focus on such ordinary day things.
Up until six months ago I had owned just tw0 fountain pens. [now I have 20]. An Osmarod 56 I purchased from Whitcome and Tombs when I left school. 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 career in search and rescue with Coastguard. Everything written 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 ballpoints, 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 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.
Note: Since I wrote that I have found the fountain pen given to my father on his 21st birthday in 1939. That was just a few days before he was sent off to war on a British tanker with a gun in a box. The pen still works and with a bit of a tune up it will have pride of place in my collection. It sort of ties all of the stories of my life together.
I hope you find enjoyment with some of my stories. They cover a lot of territory and mostly they will be about the fun I have had in an adventurous life. Now and again I will fire a few shots because in a sense if I had done so at the time life would have been so different.
David Jasper Robertson
Castor Bay, Auckland