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Hip Hip Hurray!

Updated: Apr 11

Today is my Captain Dick Gandy’s birthday. As far as I know, Dick wasn’t very keen to celebrate his own birthday. But he always remembered his family and friends’ birthdays and made sure to celebrate for them. Dick would buy a special big calendar hanging on the wall next to his desk at end of every year and marked those special dates with names on the calendar for the new year.

For the past five years, I had always felt depressed and lost on his birthdays. My life has been very difficult without him. Now looking back, I realised he has never left me. I actually spend more time every day with “my Captain now” than “my Captain then”.

In those “my Captain then” days, I used to work independently on my own things. My Captain then would work independently on his one book business - publishing and distributing his Australian Boating Manual. Every day I saw him routinely processing book orders; doing all the necessary admin and bookkeeping works; answering queries from book users; dealing with IT problems; talking with his maritime colleagues about boating matters; working on the updates; organising printing and shipping of the books when the time came. Now I am doing exactly what he was doing. Working on his book, in a way, really is living with him, with his spirit, his legacy - a form of my Captain now.

Dick published Australian Boating Manual 1st edition in 1996. Over the years, he continued updating the boating manual and published the Fifth Edition in 2015 and made necessary update in 2017 before he passed away in 2018.

I remember about two years before he passed away Dick asked me if something happened to him, did I want to continue his business. I said jokingly to him that Maritime was too dry and boring for me. At that time, I really had no interest at all. I didn’t think I was capable of doing it anyway. After all, I knew nothing about the maritime matters and maritime industry and I didn’t get involved regrettably. The only thing I did was, I created some drawings for the manual.

Who would have thought that after almost 6 years, I am still doing all these “dry and boring” things! It is just that I have to work ten times harder than him, as I have had to learn everything from scratch on my own after his unexpected death. Dick’s death left a huge void. I was literally shaking every day for a long time. Holding on to his book was a comfort. I feel his spirit lives in every page of the book. It’s certainly a huge weight on my shoulders. I was overwhelmed by the stress. I threw myself into the maritime world. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I am devoted to his book, hoping his legacy will continue.

This year is special. Dick’s ‘Boating Bible’ has its 6th edition. It’s a very special tribute to my Captain, a very special celebration for his birthday.

I am so blessed that many highly respected and experienced maritime masters have helped me to fulfill my desire to keep his legacy alive. Hat off to all my maritime heroes for your spirits of generosity and your passion for the maritime industry. You are all part of this enduring legacy.

Happy birthday my Captain! I miss you.

2009 China trip with my Captain in Shanghai.

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