Thursday, April 27, 2006

Patience B

"Wow, your job must be very interesting"
That is the second most asked question or statement when I meet people in the field.
It's true those of us that are in this business do have an interesting occupation. But what makes it so interesting are the people you meet. Some of the most interesting are just regular people.
One such fellow I met back in 1988 in Lubec, New Brunswick. It was one of my first assignments with ATV/ASN. We were to do a story on this fellow, Harry Bryant was his name. He had built a sailboat and was going on some great adventure.
When we arrived at his place, he greeted us with a cheery smile and a handshake. He took us into his workshop as he was a wood worker by trade ( if memory serves me correct) and his simple lifestyle was very apparent. I know my first impression of him was one of a radical environmentalists. Through our conversation with him, we discovered that he, nor his family owned or watched a TV. Shocking I thought. This guy must think what we do is so insignificant, that he doesn't even own a Television!
Anyway Harry made a lasting impression on me as I mentioned, he with his own hands and brains, constructed a 44 foot Ketch called the "Patience B". Harry was planning to sail "Patience" with is wife and his two teenaged children to Tasmania. OK, perhaps that's not all that unusual for folks that cruise the oceans, but that sort of thing was usually done by the wealthy.
After a brief interview in his wood shop, we were taken down to the water where "Patience" sat proudly up on a makeshift cradle tied to a home made jetty, waiting for the mighty tides of the Bay of Fundy to come in so she could feel the water on her hull.
He took us below decks and gave us a tour of what was to become his family's home for what was a planned two year voyage.
As we looked around we didn't see any electronic equipment except for a radio. "So Harry, your navigation equipment hasn't arrived yet?" we asked.
Then he told us that all he was taking was a compass and a sextant. "I am going to navigate by the stars" This guy wanted to do things like Magellan.
What balls.
Over the next couple of years we would from time to time catch up with one of Harry's friends to see if there was any news of his travels. One such occasion, he had sent a letter from the Cook Islands and in it he described his last leg of the trip. "We have not seen land for 34 days, if my calculations are correct, we should see the islands off the starboard at first light"
Well, "Patience" and her crew of family Bryant saw land off the Starboard at first light.
And with that feat, Harry secured his position as one of the most incredible average folks I have ever met. The woodworker, explorer, adventurer Mr. Harry Bryant.

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