What makes someone decide to leave the security of friends, family, jobs and their home to live on a boat 38’ long x 22’ wide, venturing into the unknown?
A sense of adventure?
A love of travel?
A lifelong ambition?
Perhaps all of the above, however knowing a little about Denise and I (Jamie) may give you an insight.
Denise and I met in 1997 whilst learning to become scuba diving instructors, in our home town of Adelaide, South Australia. Passionate about the ocean from an early age, it seemed inevitable that one day the ocean would become our home.
Denise and I love travel, spending every last minute of our annual leave either camping with our boys Jake and Kobi (when the kids were younger) and friends, to travelling the world with and without the boys. A large part of our travel has centered around the tropics and diving. The other part is focused on our belief that food and wine go hand in hand with travel, opting to enjoy local cooking classes whilst overseas and to splurge and experience the theatre of degustation menus in some of the world’s finest restaurants. In each instance, adding to our joy of entertaining friends and family with the culinary delights discovered.
I was introduced to sailing at the early age of 12, when my father persuaded me not to buy a dirt bike with my hard earned summer savings, but to co-purchase a Hobie 16 (a small catamaran). Although the Hobie was long gone when Denise and I met, Denise’s sense of adventure soon saw us taking our first bare boat charter in the Whitsundays in 2002. The trip's weather was so cold that Denise vowed to never go to the Whitsundays again, even though she enjoyed the charter experience. Interesting isn’t it, the things in life we say we’ll never do again?
Two years later we ventured to the Whitsundays again, this time with our boys, having a fantastic adventure aboard a Beneteau 393 courtesy of Sunsail.
Yasawa, a Duncanson 34 was the first yacht we owned, allowing us to teach the boys to sail off the coast of Glenelg, South Australia. The yacht was moored in the marina, immediately abutting the dive shop we owned at Glenelg. The majority of summer evenings were spent with Denise and the boys meeting me after work, sailing into the evening, enjoying dinner on board before heading home shortly after dark. This was the beginning of the cruising dream.
We were committed to setting sail to the South Pacific for a few years while the boys were still pre-high school. However, it became clear we were not going to achieve our cruising goal in time. We simply did not have the resources. High school was looming and we had also out grown our little home. A larger home was needed. The decision was made. Sell Yasawa, buy a bigger home and focus on our immediate land based future.
Unfortunately, Dive Store ownership in South Australia was anything but profitable and resulted in us closing one store and selling the second, (and sadly our new bigger house only 2 years after purchase). Needless to say, this was devastating financial setback. However, we never lost sight of what we wanted to do. We simply needed to be patient, something Denise has mastered and I am is still learning the meaning of.
Fast forward 10 years and following some career changes, the dream once again seamed obtainable. Now it wasn’t going to be a matter of if, but when.
Our friends, Garry and Melinda Hersey, lent Denise and I their Lagoon 380, Lukim-Yu, a charter boat in the Whitsundays for a week, New Year of 2012. Garry and Melinda’s generosity was a game changer for Denise. Shortly after embarking on Lukim-Yu, Denise fell in love with the stability and space of a catamaran. “It doesn’t lean over!” and “there’s so much space” she remarked. Garry and Melinda had Lukim-Yu for sale, however we were not yet in the position to purchase any boat so we thought that we had missed our opportunity. The charter company, Whitsunday Rent a Yacht, were so keen to keep the yacht in their fleet though so one of the directors of the company chose to purchaser her.
We had a two month around the world holiday planned in 2013 which made a yacht purchase at that time nonviable. However whilst on that holiday we set ourselves some major goals. One of which was the purchase of a charter catamaran. (The ownership of a charter boat allowed the rental income and tax benefits to fund our dream.)
Three months later (to my surprise) I had secured the finance we needed for a yacht purchase. But it was Denise who had the stroke of genius. She remembered that a director of Whitsunday Rent a Yacht had only purchased Lukim-Yu to avoid losing her from their fleet. Denise suggested that I contact them to ask, if we were prepared to keep the yacht in their fleet, (a necessity for our own financial reasons) would they be prepared to sell us Lukim-Yu? “The worst they can say is no.” Denise stated. To my excitement, amazement and surprise, they agreed! We were back on track towards our cruising dream!
Denise, a Registered Nurse, was the Operations and Marketing Manager for Adelaide Plastic Surgery whilst also contracting as the CEO of a company called Medical Lasers and Dermatology. Two jobs she loved dearly, working in a great environment for a group of 7 plastic surgeons she thought of as her brothers (11 years will do that). Needless to say, it was difficult to leave the best 2 jobs of her life.
As for me, I was a mortgage broker with two Aussie Home Loan franchises. I also loved both my work and the team I worked with. Departing for me would be logistically more difficult. Mortgage Brokering is a far cry from 8 years earlier when we owned two dive shops and taught scuba diving. It was the dive industry where I learnt how people made a small fortune in diving. By starting with a big one! Fortunately, the mortgage broking business has been little kinder to us, helping to provide the freedom to set off.
Fast forward to 2017, our yacht was two years away from being paid off. Business and work were good. Our health was good. Our now adult children were doing really well. What better time to throw our careers away for a life of unknown exploration and uncertainty? In 2017, the most significant decision was made. We would close and merge our businesses in September 2017, leaving them in the trusted hands of my business partners. In December 2017 Denise would quit her job and give up her consultancy as we threw caution to the wind! “What was the worst that could happen?” “We could go broke?” “We’ve done that before and survived.”
And so our adventures began…..