14. Mai 2014
Beat Presser has asked me to continue for a little while the blog he’s already started up: he’s too busy making preparatory arrangements for the voyage, testing underwater cameras and so on, and also wants to learn Indonesian – a pointless undertaking, if you ask me! I’ve been following Beat’s photographic work for some time and I think very highly of it, so I was delighted to take him up on the offer. The first thing I wanted to find out was how a fellow who grew up hemmed in by mountains in landlocked Switzerland ended up going to sea.
When he was a boy, his father built a motorboat in the garage, on which the family would cruise up and down the Rhine on weekends and spend their summer holidays on one of the many Swiss lakes. At 14 he got his skipper’s licence and at 19 took a ride on a Sudanese packet ship from Assuan to Khartoum. Two months later he crossed the Indian Ocean for the first time in his life, from Mombasa, Kenya, to Bombay (now Mumbai), on a refugee ship carrying 3,000 Pakistanis and Indians who had to flee Uganda under the tyranny of Idi Amin. Whilst still training in photography, he took a few months off in 1975 and signed on to the crew of various sailing vessels on the Atlantic. After that trip, if not before, it was clear to him: whenever possible, put to sea!
And in 2009/2010 Beat Presser got another chance to go to sea, covering a story about shipping on traditional Dhaus along the East African coast. In a few days he’ll be packing up his few possessions and shipping out once again. Then he can resume writing his own posts for the logbook.
As for myself, I’m from Indonesia, and believe it or not I can’t swim, nor do I venture out to sea at all. I leave that to the brave!