by Captain Trevor Jackson
When I was a boy, my life was straight out of an adventure novel. We lived a few hundred metres from a quite little bay, filled with fish, coral and rocks. At about age 13, our little gang built a raft from oil drums, timber and rope. We’d pole the raft around in the shallows spearing flathead and bream, then it would be frypans on an open fire and dreams of grander things. There was a book. A book I held dear. It was my blueprint for life. I read it cover to cover at least twice a year until it literally fell apart. A month back, my wife and I were chatting one night and I remembered the book. I told her about how it had been the driving force behind me wanting be a sailor and a diver, and that had shaped both of our lives. Google…Amazon…. it wasn’t hard to find a copy. Two weeks later there it was, a ragged old copy of my inspiration…the true story….”Escape to Adventure”.
The story starts in 1945. Ex-soldier George Konrat is having a hard time in the year immediately following the war. He and his friends are ostracized by their own people and hunted by the Allies. They have nowhere to live, no food and no hope. Together they decide to escape their perils by ‘procuring’ a small steamship anchored in Hamburg harbour. They steal the ship and after a year of evading just about everybody….they settle into a life of diving, thieving , black marketing, romancing, smuggling, gun running, bribery and general treachery. [All the cool stuff]. But mostly, they just dive.
They dive for sponges in Portugal, guns in Turkey, treasure in Morocco. They evade the law, they evade the mafia, heck they even evade the tax man!!! For 10 years George edges his way, bit by bit, towards the place where he will eventually settle down and leave his tiny ship. He steps off the boat onto the very wharf that Spoilsport now leaves from, in Cairns Australia.
I read my new copy, cover to cover the moment it arrived and decided “My crew must have this”. I brought the book on board and spread the word. “Read this, it set me on this path, it will inspire you too.”
Over the next few trips, the book made its way through many hands. Its message is simple and powerful. It reminds us that, despite the troubles of modern life, world is your oyster. One by one, the crew have come to the wheelhouse and we’ve marvelled at Georges story. To me the fact that he made his way right here, to Trinity Wharf, always amazes.
Our adventure though, is ongoing. Every Thursday we fire up the Yanmars, point our ship to sea, put the harbour lights behind us, and we go diving. So if you ever find yourself at Trinity Wharf, and the inclination for excitement takes you over, look to the north over the Coral Sea and take that step. I’m not suggesting you nick a ship and spend the next decade pillaging the ocean and evading the law; but for a week at a time, you could jump on Spoilsport, pretend you’re George and just, ‘Escape to Adventure’.
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