| Wind and Water |
By Onne van der Wal
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The Maritime Tradition
A love of the sea has been a part of my life since my earliest days growing up in Holland, and an appreciation of the maritime tradition was in my lineage long before I was born. My family has blood thick with sea salt, as both of my grandfathers were men of the sea. One was a lighthouse keeper on a small island off the south coast of Holland, and the other spent every minute of his leisure time sailing, fishing, and rowing the country's inland canals.
When I was a young boy I moved to South Africa with my family. My father bought us a small boat so we could explore the lakes and ponds and seek adventure in nature. When I turned fourteen, I worked on large commercial fishing boats that docked nearby in the seaport village of Hout Bay. Spending long weekend days on the water with old salts and exploring on our little sailboat furthered the passion for the sea that my grandfathers had ingrained in me. As I grew up I spent as much time as I could helping to maintain other people's boats just so I could spend time listening to their sea tales and stories of racing. At night, I dreamt of sailing across oceans. During this time I learned that the history and traditions of boating were a major part of the experience of being on the water, and I hoped to one day contribute to that tradition.
All sailors have a deep respect for the customs that preceded them. It is something I am teaching my children about now, and it is something I am more and more in awe of. It is easy to see the influence of the maritime tradition when looking at a collection of photographs such as this one. These photographs never lose their relevance, and they hold a certain dignity that speaks to us.
Excerpted from Wind and Water , by Onne van der Wal . Copyright (c) 2004 by Onne van der Wal . Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.Back to top