Voyage of a Lifetime

ABOUT Paul England

Paul England
Paul was born and educated in England. During the 40s and 50s he served in the Royal Navy. As an electronics engineer he worked in America, UK, Europe and Australia. In 1974 he transferred to Australia with his family. Now retired, he lives on the south coast of NSW. Since retirement  More...



Voyage of a Lifetime is the authentic account of a sea voyage from Southampton, England, to Fremantle in Western Australia, as told to the author by Don Caisley. The voyage was undertaken by a truck driver and his family, none of whom had any previous experience of sailing, navigation or the sea. The man, Donald Caisley, purchased an old North Sea trawler – more commonly known as an MFV or Motor Fishing vessel, and spent a full year renovating and fitting it out. During which time he sold his one man trucking business and his house and contents. Don, his Italian born wife Lena, eldest son Peter and young son Jonathan set out from Southampton on May 18th 1973, and arrived in Fremantle one year later - almost to the day, after more excitement and adventure than most people would experience in a lifetime. The voyage took them first to Falmouth, via Weymouth and Brixham, for a trial run of the crew and the trawler. From Falmouth to Oporto in Portugal they sailed, then to Gibraltar, Casablanca and the Canary Islands. Across the Atlantic Ocean to Trinidad, Grenada and on to La Guaira in Venezuela, then to Cartagena in Colombia, through the Panama Canal to Esmereldas in Equador. From Esmereldas to the Galapagos Islands, then to the South Sea islands of Marquesas, Tahiti and Raratonga and on to Auckland, New Zealand. The first Australian landfall was at Eden in New South Wales, then around the coast of Australia to Queenscliff, Portland, Albany and finally, their destination in Fremantle. Through fair weather and storms they sailed on - although many people with knowledge of the sea and sailing had said they were crazy and would never complete the voyage. The family's trust in Don never wavered, although disaster came very close to ending the venture on several occasions. After their arrival in Western Australia, the trawler was sold and the family settled down in Perth. Don is now an Australian citizen and although he swears he would never make such a voyage again, is glad he came to Australia the way he did.

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