If life is about collecting a series of experiences that enrich your existence and perhaps even set you apart from those that are content to live their lives from their couches, then the maritime industry surely delivers more than most!
This morning I attended a presentation at the Department of Forestry and Fisheries where two young fisheries inspectors spoke of their six-week trip on board the Ocean Protector at the invitation of their Australian counterparts. It was plain to see that Asheem Khan and Andri van Niekerk had absorbed every possible aspect of the sea patrol that took them from Australia to Heard Island, St Paul Island and Amsterdam Island before returning to Fremantle in Australia.
By all accounts they were exposed to a wealth of experiences while at sea that saw them engaging with potential illegal fishing vessels, practicing boardings, testing out their dry-suits, firearm training as well as fitness training. They visited the islands, noted the sea life and most importantly cemented relationships with the Australian and French inspectors and seafarers operating in these waters.
The South African duo also came back with their own recommendations for our local department to consider, but it was clear that the actual experience of being involved in this co-operative patrol will stay with them beyond the implementation of any of these possible recommendations and that the world that most of us do not get to see far from our shores offers so much to those who are willing to embrace an exhilarating life.
You can read more about their actual trip in the forthcoming issue of Maritime Review Southern Africa which will be in the post mid-June.