Sail­ing hap­pily on life’s jour­ney

The Cairns Post - - LIFESTYLE -

SUBUR­BAN Smithfield may seem a bit tame for Ed­die and Ute Har­ing af­ter 12 years sail­ing around the world with three chil­dren in tow.

The cou­ple were liv­ing in New Guinea when the sail­ing bug took hold. Ed­die was an air­craft en­gi­neer and Ute (pro­nounced Uta) was a teacher.

“I was 21 when I left Ger­many for New Guinea and had read a lot of books from the time of Ger­man New Guinea. I al­ways thought it must be an in­ter­est­ing coun­try.”

Ute fol­lowed af­ter com­plet­ing her univer­sity stud­ies.

“I was work­ing in Madang for Madang Air Ser­vices and var­i­ous other small air­lines,” says Ed­die, 79.

Af­ter build­ing a 10m boat, they set off around New Guinea with their first child, Katja.

“We de­cided that boat was too small to travel around the world, sold it and got plans from Hol­land for the next boat, a 14m fi­bre­glass yacht.

“We built the sec­ond yacht in Port Moresby while I worked for Air Ni­ug­ini. That took al­most seven years.”

Sec­ond child Iris was born in Port Moresby and son Marco ar­rived af­ter they re­turned to Madang.

“We named him Marco be­cause I loved the sto­ries about Marco Polo. He was just 2½ months old when we sailed through the Philip­pines to Sin­ga­pore. Ev­ery­body said we were nuts, but ev­ery­thing went fine.”

They re­mained in Sin­ga­pore for three years while Ed­die worked in the air­craft in­dus­try. “I never had a prob­lem get­ting a job.”

Then came Malaysia, Thai­land, In­done­sia, Sey­chelles, Kenya, Tan­za­nia, Mozam­bique and South Africa.

“We stayed 2½ years in South Africa. Marco started school there.”

From South Africa, the fam­ily sailed to Namibia and across the At­lantic to Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Colom­bia and the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands.

Ini­tially re­fused a visa for Gala­pa­gos, they even­tu­ally spent three weeks there af­ter an im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial wanted his wife and chil­dren to meet Ed­die’s wife and chil­dren.

“Hav­ing chil­dren with us al­ways opened doors.”

Af­ter cross­ing the Pa­cific via Amer­i­can and Western Samoa, Fiji and Van­u­atu, they ar­rived in Townsville to dis­cover their Aus­tralian res­i­dency had lapsed.

“We sailed back to Port Moresby, I got a job as chief en­gi­neer with Milne Bay Air and my wife taught at the in­ter­na­tional school. We fi­nally got res­i­dency for Aus­tralia in 1996.

“We’re very happy here. We’ve seen so many places and in Cairns we are sur­rounded by rain­for­est. In Ger­many, we had lots of forest around us and that’s what also at­tracted us to New Guinea.”

WORLDLY WISE: Ed­die and Ute Har­ing of Smithfield spent 12 years sail­ing around the world with their chil­dren be­fore set­tling in Cairns. BELOW: The cou­ple pic­tured dur­ing their epic global voy­age with their chil­dren Katja (cen­tre), Iris and Marco.

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