Epic sea voyage story finally published

NAROOMA local Paul England has finally had his book “Voyage of a Lifetime” published in paperback form.

Back in 2008, he was able to get the book published in multi-media CD format but now it can be purchased as an actual book that he is hoping to get stocked in local book shops.

The book is based upon the epic true story about the voyage that his friend Donald Caisley and his family made on a small fishing vessel that had the engine of a double decker bus and a telegraph pole for a mast.

None of the family had any knowledge of the sea, sailing or navigation, which made the trip dangerous and foolhardy.

But despite this Don went on, and on May 18, 1973, the ship named Nordhaven, and later the MFV Beth, set sail.

There was great difficulty during the trip, the family constantly pushing their minute navigation skills to the limit.

"The fact that they completed the journey was - in most part, due to the courage and determination of the skipper, Don Caisley," Paul said.

During the trip, Don’s wife Lena, was swept overboard after attempting to climb up on the deck.

She was unable to attach the harness to herself when she was whipped off her feet by a gust of wind, and her small scream travelling unheard in the gale.

This was just one of the difficulties they faced during this voyage.

Paul met the family when he was living in England, and then, when he too emigrated to Australia, his mother sent him a newspaper clip from the Daily Express newspaper.

Later, the family asked him to write the book about their one year journey, which he accepted. He did not however, get to write it until years after. "I didn’t get to it with the pressures of work," he said.

Originally, the book was going to be called “16,000 miles in first gear” because the bus engine that took them across the ocean had remained in first gear.

They travelled from Southampton to Fremantle in almost exactly one year.

When Paul managed to write the book, he had considerable difficulty publishing it, despite his agent knocking on doors.

"I was disappointed I wasn't getting it published," he said. "It was like people weren't really interested, like it was old hat - nobody wanted the manuscript, after all people were crossing the Atlantic in a bathtub."

Eventually, Paul managed to get the book published online, and now, at last in a paper-book format.

Paul has also written “Tunguska”, the explosion in Siberia in 1908 felt around the world, as well as “The Punishment”, a series of short stories.

Most recently he has also published three children’s books in the “Knights of Bonalla” series.

Mr England has lived in the area for almost 30 years designing and building his own home at Narooma, where he now spends his time writing his books.

A blog with more information on the epic sea journey can be found at www.voyageofalifetime.weebly.com

Copies can be obtained from the publisher online at www.writersandebooks.com/bookshop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=77

or how about a signed copy from the author Paul who can be reached on voyageofalifetime@mail.com

The full story of the voyage:

Voyage of a Lifetime is the true story of an epic voyage undertaken by one man and his family.

Take an average family of four from a rural village in England and put them on an old Swedish fishing boat, then point them towards Australia and cast off.

With no previous experience of sailing, navigation or the sea, this remarkable family sailed from England in an old fishing boat, bound for Fremantle in Australia.

As they sailed across the Atlantic doubts and fears about what lay before them were continually on their minds.

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 Paul England by Don Caisley.

The voyage was undertaken by one man and his family, none of whom had any previous experience of sailing, navigation or the sea.

The man, Donald Caisley, purchased an old Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV), 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.

They sailed from Southampton in Southern England to Falmouth, then to their first foreign port in Portugal. Their navigation skills — hastily learned during the refitting, were tested to the limit. As they sailed across the Atlantic doubts and fears about what lay before them were ever present.

With the first major ocean crossing behind them, their confidence grew. Then the passage through the Panama Canal took them into the Pacific Ocean and an even bigger test of their navigational skills — or lack of them.

Whereas with the Atlantic crossing they had the whole coast of South America to aim at, their next port, the Marquesas Islands were a mere speck on a vast ocean and the slightest error would put them miles off course and in great danger.

But there were other problems about to hit them, about which they had no knowledge or control over.

The very fact that they made their destination at all is a testament to the grit and determination of their patriarch and captain — Don Caisley.

THE AUTHOR: Narooma’s Paul England has finally got his epic sea voyage story published in book format.

THE AUTHOR: Narooma’s Paul England has finally got his epic sea voyage story published in book format.

THEIR HOME FOR A YEAR: The fishing trawler Beth as purchased by the Caisley family.

THEIR HOME FOR A YEAR: The fishing trawler Beth as purchased by the Caisley family.

VALIANT: The skipper Don Caisley pictured in a newspaper clipping from the time of his voyage in 1973.

VALIANT: The skipper Don Caisley pictured in a newspaper clipping from the time of his voyage in 1973.

THE FAMILY: The Caisley family exploring Western Australia after their arrival.

THE FAMILY: The Caisley family exploring Western Australia after their arrival.

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