Solo sailer witnesses tsunami
AN around-the-world sailor, who’s been at sea for two-and-a-half years has docked in Coffs Harbour telling the tale of how he witnessed the Pacific tsunami.
Nick Jaffe, 27, has moored his 7.7 metre vessel the Constellation at the marina this week making Coffs Harbour his first Australian port after a 28,000km journey.
The computer software programmer, who has funded his voyage working online between trips, will be joined by a German film crew this week to shoot the final scenes of a documentary on his travels.
More importantly, the solo navigator’s homecoming is in time for a Christmas reunion with his parents, Melbourne school teachers John and Robyn Jaffe, who were lucky to survive the 1.5 metre wave that devastated Samoa.
“My parents met me in Samoa to catch up, just before the tsunami hit,” Nick said.
“I was moored in Western Samoa which was protected in the aftermath of the earthquake, but they were staying on the north side of the island, and were swept onto a volcanic outcrop by the water.
“My father was pretty badly injured, but he and my mother found shelter at a nearby primary school and rode out the wave.”
After his parents were airlifted out of the country, Nick says he stayed on helping tsunami ravaged communities and volunteering with the Red Cross.
It was a dramatic ending to an adventure that started in Europe in 2006.
“I bought the boat in the United Kingdom and after spending six months repairing it in Holland, I sailed the North Sea and down the European coastline to the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa, crossing to the Caribbean and sailing non stop to New York during the hurricane season,” Nick said.
“I then hauled the yacht overland across the United States and sailed the Pacific and the Tasman Sea.”
Since reaching port, the seafaring adventurer has listed his yacht for sale.
“I’ve got to fix up a large Customs bill of importation duties and sales taxes for bringing the boat into the country, so I guess I’ll have to return to nine to five work, before dreaming up my next sailing adventure,” he said.