A meeting point for friends old and new

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The Düsseldorf boat show has established itself as the premier nautical exhibition in the world, both for the wide range of yachts and marine equipment and the number of visitors.

One of the reasons for its continuing success is its excellent location as shown by the large and diverse number of foreign visitors.

The Garcia Yachting stand, exhibiting my own Aventura’s sister ship, has attracted many of those visitors, some of whom stopped by to say hello or buy one of my recently published books, whether 200,000 Miles or the Ocean Atlas.

These last two days our stand was visited by an international mix from among whom I have selected some remarkable examples.

By far the most outstanding was Dario Schwoerer, who has been roaming the oceans of the world with his wife Sabine for the last 16 years on the 50-foot yacht Pachamama to raise awareness of the global impact of climate change.

Along the way, the crew was increased one by one, first with Salina, born in Chile, Andri in Patagonia, Noé in Australia, Allegra in Singapore, Mia in Switzerland and Vital in Iceland.

The yacht is now in Greenland, where it was badly damaged in a winter storm, but Dario assured me that it will be repaired and their expedition will resume next spring.

My next visitor seemed to be in a hurry when he asked me to sign the atlas he had bought. “Going home?” I asked. “Yes, I am flying to Hong Kong”. “What airline?”Cathay Pacific… I am the captain. But I am planning to retire soon and go cruising with my young son, just like you had done.”

Nikolas and Alexi had flown from Cyprus and have been following my voyages for a long time. Occasionally they seemed to know more about me than I remembered myself.

Kostas, of Greek origin, and Corina, of Romanian, but living now in Passau in Bavaria, have followed my adventures even more closely. I was amazed to hear from Kostas that he had managing to find on the internet some of the recordings I had done for the BBC Romanian Service during our first round the world voyage in the late 1970s.

By chance my next visitor, Dragos Constantinescu, was Romanian himself, and a keen sailor, who had been delegated by his sailing friends to get my latest book with personal dedications.

My ancestry caught up with me even more when Tünde (in the centre) told me that she was not only from Transylvania, like myself, but from Oradea, a small town on the Hungarian border, which has a very special significance at it was there that I met Gwenda in 1963.

My last visitors were my close Canarian friends Nayra and Juan Francisco who brought to an end a busy, occasionally emotional, and happiest day I ever remember spending at a boat show.

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