At the Movies.

Welcome to this edition of Southern Cross Yachting Enews and my first effort as a movie reviewer. If this goes well I might buy myself a nice cardigan, grow a van dyke beard and start smoking a pipe.

Then I will look the part of a movie reviewer. It is said that a pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to put in his mouth. I will let you all decide which is the most appropriate for me. Now I am not an avid movie goer. Whenever I sit in a comfortable chair and know that I am destined to spend many hours there, I normally go to sleep. Whether it is on a plane or a movie cinema, I normally start to nod off pretty quickly either during the trailers or the safety brief. I am sure my glazed expression has caused many an airline cabin crew to wonder if I am a terrorist going through some kind of prayer ritual in preparation for meeting my maker and receiving the promised 40 virgins. The other reason for my infrequent forays into cinemas is a certain difference in movie taste between Jenny and I. Her tastes are somewhat more sophisticated than mine. I still can’t understand why ‘The Hangover’ didn’t win every academy award. But ‘Kon Tiki’ looked like a film the whole family could enjoy. And it didn’t disappoint. It was simply wonderful!

The year was 1947. The horrors of the war were still fresh in everyone’s minds and people were looking for a new kind of hero. And in Thor Heyerdahl and the lads they found plenty. As many of you would know Thor was an archaeologist who had spent years living amongst and studying the people of both Polynesia and South America. Mainly based on the fact that they both had a sun god named Ra, he developed a theory that Tahiti and the Polynesian Islands were first populated by people from Peru. Now the widely held view amongst the ‘eggheads’ at the time was that the first inhabitants of these islands came from Asia. Thor wrote a book on his theory but no one would at the time publish a book that held such a radical view. (Unsurprisingly really, given that the most recent radical best seller before that had been Mein Kampf, written by a certain A. Hitler and that didn’t end well).

Thor had done his homework, studied the prevailing winds and currents and surmised that they had ‘sailed’ there on primitive rafts – a journey of some 4300 miles. So Thor decided to prove his theory, gathered up a bunch of his Norwegian mates and set out to prove it. Now the good citizens of Norway have a proud history of seamanship and epic sea voyages dating back to the Vikings.

Leif Ericson and his old man Eric the Red (named because of the colour of his beard rather than his politics as I understand it) had discovered Iceland, Greenland and a place they named ‘ Vine land’, The later becoming known as ‘America’ about 600 years later when Chris Columbus rediscovered it. So despite the tradition of seafaring coursing through their veins – only one of the crew of Kon Tiki had ever been to sea before they left. Making this undertaking even more astounding. So Thor and the lads travelled to Peru and knocked up a giant raft out of balsa wood and rope and set out to cross the world’s biggest ocean. And (without giving away the ending) they made it! The ending is hardly a secret as he wrote a famous book and made a movie about the trip. (Digressing for a moment, this is exactly why I never bothered to watch the movie Titanic. I had a fair idea how it ended. Mind you Hollywood has never let the facts get in the way of a good story so for all I know, the Titanic may have berthed safely in New York and Kate and Leo might have got married, had 6 kids and owned a hardware store in Nebraska. I might get the video out to find out)

This adaptation of the story is very true to the original story and is both a feast for the mind and the eyes. It is a visual masterpiece, the special effects astounding and the clever use of actual footage from the original documentary makes this an unequalled cinema graphic experience. (Eat your heart out David Stratton!) The resemblance of the actors to the actual people is truly amazing. (I can’t give you the actors names as they are all Norwegians and my keyboard doesn’t have that letter ‘O’ with the little thing above it that appears about 9 times in every Scandinavian’s name)

As a young lad Kon Tiki was my all-time favourite book and played no small part in me avoiding ever getting a real job instead of just playing with boats. The King and his brother were similarly hooked by this movie. It is a much used cliché, but this really is a movie the whole family will enjoy.

I cannot recommend it to you highly enough. If you enjoy the sea you will love this film. My only tiny criticism is that as the voyage and thus the movie progresses, they all grew such luxuriant beards that I could not work out who was who. And even though it is a 2 hour ‘bum number’ it kept you engaged right until the credits rolled (another half hour of lists of names all with that funny ‘O’ in them). Don’t miss it!

One of the most fascinating things at the end was seeing what each of them did afterwards. After an experience like that none of them could return to ‘normal’ life and they all went on to live lives filled with adventure and discovery. I must confess that this was an epiphany for me and it got me thinking about what great personal achievement I want to fulfill before I ‘rack my cue’!

I have long held a secret fascination with a certain act of great endeavour and I have recently been thinking, planning and, using my once again pristine IPad, googling that very subject. I am for once being serious and I fully intend to do this. So the other morning the time came to share my great dream with the family. They were all gathered around the breakfast table when I announced that I was going to climb Mount Everest.

Gales of laughter ensured, orange juice spurted out of noses and the three of them hugged each other with delight. This apparently was the funniest thing they had ever heard. It was quickly pointed out that I am not particularly fond of hiking, dislike cold weather, hate camping and am scared of heights. They all chipped in with their favourite anecdote of my failings on the ski fields.

As they yacked away together at my expense it only strengthened my will to do this. I will show you all and you will remove that smirk from your faces when the photo of me (taken on my IPad naturally) planting the Southern Cross flag at the summit of Everest appears on the front page of the world’s newspapers. Training begins this weekend. I am starting by tackling the north face of Mount Gravatt, without oxygen. I am leaving the windows of the van up for the entire drive.

So now is the time to begin your own life changing endeavour. We have places on a weekend course this weekend for $520/person (or book 3 weekends for the special price of $1360).

Our next intensive Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster theory (over 2 weekends) begins Friday 10 May. This course runs for 5 days from 9 to 5 each day and at only $835 is lot cheaper than the 100K odd my Everest trip will cost.

We still have places on the next 5-day practical course departing on Monday 20 May. A place costs only $1360 and includes all meals and accommodation on board.

And you can climb your own private Everest by competing on board ‘Oceans’ in the Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race, now only 2 months away.

That is all for this week, until next time remember – you only live once!

Cheers Mike Job.

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