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Thursday, June 14, 2012

I must go down to the seas again - David's last great voyage...

  • 400px-Oil_platform_P-51_(Brazil)220px-CMA_CGM_Balzac
    B)They say there are two things you can guarantee in this life - taxes and death. Many of us have had deaths in the family, parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members. The worst thing would be to lose a child - thank God that never happens. As i mentioned in a previous post, I have just lost my eldest living brother. He died of cancer a week ago today, June 6 2012. I had known he needed an operation, but not the details. He refused an operation four years ago - and in the intervening period has had holidays in Germany where his daughter lives, and an extensive trip to Bangkok in Thailand, where he lived and was based for many years.
    I called Dave "the old man of the sea". That is what I wrote on his casket. Many of our family members also wrote on the casket. He will be cremated when the funeral directer sends his next batch to the crematorium.
    I actually didn't see much of Dave over the years. Our extended family has lived in Christchurch, earthquake devastated Christchurch. I was born and raised there and left at 20 years of age to do my own thing, but sadly never got to Australia or anywhere else for that matter, ending up in Wellington, getting married and raising a family there, after a couple of years around Auckland and the Waikato. I saw him 15 months ago in Christchurch when our young brother died there - just days after that killer earthquake took the lives of over 180 people, many of whom were visitors and overseas students.
    So it was back to Christchurch on Friday, just days after a huge snowfall enveloped the southern city. God, it was freezing on Friday night, but surprisingly mild the next day. We actually sat out in the sun after the funeral service at the Buddhist Temple on the outskirts of the city, and the meal afterwards. David was a Buddhist having been married in Thailand and converting to Buddhism there. There was no English service, but the family didn't mind at all - that was the way the old fellow wanted it. He was older than I am, and I'm not telling you just how old - over seventy.
    The "old man of the sea" ran away and joined a ship while visiting my mother and stepfather on the Scilly Isles off Cornwall. He voyaged all over the world, working for a number of shipping companies and lines. He eventually gained his Masters ticket and skippered supply vessels to oilrigs in Indonesia and elsewhere. He loved Singapore and Thailand and southeast asia in general and became a fluent speaker. He actually ran into another of our late brothers who was working on one of the oilrigs he serviced. How incredible was that? He knew Bob was working out there somewhere, but had just lost touch of him for a short while.
    Bob actually died of double pneumonia in Bangkok about four years ago. We have a theory he may have contracted legionaires disease from a hotel cooling system. Of, course, we will never kno for sure.
    So "the old man of the sea" has gone on his final voyage to meet three of our brothers, parents and grandparents. Quite a character this quiet laidback old seadog who sailed the seven seas.

  • The following is in memory of 'Master Mariner' David Richard Petterson

  • Sea Fever
    by John Masefield
    I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
    And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
    I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    All I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.
    I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trip’s over

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