Saturday, September 4, 2010


Boris on his yacht - Customs took him back to retrieve his belongings but the boat had been stripped bare.

After the sadness of the past week I wanted to post something positive. Life continues and in the midst of our grief, little things happen to remind us that well .... life is good, and we have to keep going and get on with it. On Thursday, Rob and I and the pilot house had such a reminder.

Due to the nature of the reef pilot business, Rob is the recipient of any information regarding activity in the Torres Strait. On Thursday, there was a rescue operation to pick up a yachtie whose boat had become wedged on one of the reefs about 7 hours from T.I. On receiving this email, Rob notified Customs that should he need it, we could give accommodation to the yachtie, at least overnight.

He was brought to the pilot house late Thursday night accommpanied by two Customs officers. They notified Rob that the gentleman was from Slovania and could not speak English - the only other language he knows is Italian. Rob smiled - no problem - my wife happens to be Sicilian and speaks Italian (albeit with a slight Australian accent) and she would love to help. And so we met Boris :)

Boris was rescued from his yacht hours earlier in treacherous seas. He had to leave everything behind - including his personal papers - and jump into the water to swim to the Customs boat. The waves were too strong for the tender to come in close to pick him up. He walked into our office in a pair of borrowed overalls and a shy smile. When I introduced myself, in Italian, his eyes lit up and he started talking ..... and he hasn't stopped.

Boris embarked on his journey three years ago after he and his wife divorced. He was an economics professor at the university of Slovania (which is a small country that abuts a part of northern Italy by the way) and has two children - a son and daughter in their late 20s. He was travelling through the Torres Strait on his way home when his yacht struck the reef.

On Friday, Customs took Boris back to the yacht to retrieve his personal belongings ........ only to find the boat was stripped bare. Looters had found it and robbed it of all that they could - instruments, food, fuel, furniture, compass, all his equipment, personal papers, passport, credit card - whatever they could lift and carry. But what has distressed him the most is the loss of his personal journals.

Over the three years Boris has not only documented his journey, but also his own personal journey. He told me that he has discovered things about himself that he never knew. He spent many hours - days - alone, thinking and realising truths about his life - and some of those truths were confronting. He has reconciled with himself about decisons made and paths chosen and in this process he has grown and developed as a person. He has discovered what really matters.

When he walked into our office on Thursday night, with nothing really - even what he wore did not belong to him - he told me that in that moment he was the happiest that he has ever been, that he was the most at peace that he has ever been.

It's been good to help another person. We've given him clothes, food, shelter and companionship. Rob and Boris have spent hours on the phone to his embassy arranging for a passport and his brother in Slovania is assisting him with money for tickets. Unfortunately being the weekend nothing happens on T.I.,but tomorrow it's all systems go as try to get him home.

Boris has been good for us - we needed him.

Ciao Boris - la vita e buona

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