There are many things that contribute to getting you to where you want to go, throughout your life. This particular adventure, getting the Little Ferry Company up and running, highlighted a simple truth to me; When you put yourself out there… there are always people who are willing to help.
We had many dark days over the two and a half years it took to get our first vessel on the water, there were many times when I figured we had encountered one hurdle too many or too high. But we made it. We made it for many reasons and some of those ‘reasons’ I’d like to mention here on this dedicated page to people who provided support and kindness along the way. To you all, THANK YOU for being who you are and doing what you do. In no particular order… Claude Desjardins, the guy behind the decision to use Torqeedo electric motors. As it turned out Claude’s passion for electric engines extends far beyond that. If it were not for his assistance in helping with final tweaking of the Ellie J when it first arrived here in Perth, well I’m not sure of the outcome. He came over from Queensland and just got on with it doing all the shipwright stuff that only a man of his experience and skill could do. He worked with an enthusiasm for the boat that I thought only I had.
Herman de Mello, Harbour Manager for the Department of Transport in WA – he did nothing but make himself available when I would ring or email with inane questions. He fluffed nothing and just explained things the way they were, but with an empathy not always seen in government administration. It was that little bit of genuine caring that gave me solace at critical times. I’m not sure where the right place is to thank friends and family so we’ll just do it here.
To Jay, my long-suffering wife... Little did she anticipate when she gave the nod of approval for this project just how long and suffering it would be. With no exaggeration, without her support and encouragement all along the way I would have given up, many times over. And Ellie, the most special little girl in the world, what can you do or say when your world is falling apart, one more obstacle arises from nowhere and your daughter sneaks up with a handmade ferryboat made from paper and cardboard… They have both carried much more of the burden than I ever intended..
To the usual suspects, Lester, Paddy, Bruce and Pete – you have all helped in your own inimitable way. Taken the mickey when it was needed and providing a shoulder when I was down and out. Lester, your practical advice was invaluable and Paddy – despite being a cantankerous old bastard, I simply couldn’t have done it without you.
Julius Solomons, for a South African you’re alright. In fact you’re more than alright… you said Yes to investing in the Little Ferry Company when all other logically minded people said no. The reasons for not investing far outweighed the reasons to and yet, you chose to put your money on the table in a venture that was hair-brained at best, foolhardy at worst. And all with a bloke you didn’t know… I reckon I know you a little better nowadays Julius and I’m all the more thankful that you made that fateful decision.
Now Tijah Colleran, I am not even sure that she works for the City of Perth any more, we haven’t communicated for many months. However as Tourism Economic Developer for the City of Perth we had a few meetings in the early days and exchanged a few emails. Tijah had no major contribution to what we were doing in those days but for making herself available when I had queries and/or moments of panic. Its not only the answer that counts, it's the tone of the response, the attitude.. I remember a few times when I was taken aback with Tijah’s unabated want to help – most definitely the right person in the right job!
And whilst we’re on the City of Perth, let me mention – The Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi. Now at risk of breaking protocol and inferring things that never happened, I owe Lisa Scaffidi a bit… only in the sense that she gave of her time to listen to my grandiose plan to start off with. Unwittingly she validated the concept. She was polite, passionate and supportive. Thank you for listening Lisa.
Jessica Strutt of the ABC – she was the first journalist to show some interest in what we were doing and gave us some air-time on the local news. Again, no biggee in itself but Jess stood out as someone genuine, someone who appreciated what we were trying to do.
Now insurance brokers – are there any really good brokers out there that you would attach the label ‘genuine’ to..? Prior to setting up the Little Ferry Company I grouped insurance brokers in with all the rest of commission-based sales people. I then met Geoff O’Regan of the O’Regan Group. I won’t go into the things that Geoff did for us – they are the little things that most often go unnoticed. But Geoff, if you’re reading this – I noticed and I will be forever grateful for your support.
One of the little things that Geoff did for us was put us onto Nick D’Adamo of Keys Bros Transport. Again a long story but Nick’s approach to our dilemma – not only for the transport of our first boat from Mt Tamborine in Queensland but also our second boat over a year later – was extraordinary. Good service is one thing but Nick, no matter where he was travelling around the globe went far beyond standard service boundaries. I can only assume that he really loves his job!
Graeme the guy who looks after moorings at Ascot Waters… In a time of real need he was there. Again a guy I’ve never met in my life but just recognized the problem facing us and stepped up to the mark – thank you Graeme.
Again mindful of government protocol and process I tread carefully in acknowledging Caryn Earnshaw of the MRA and Jodi Potts of Metier. There is something intangible about dealing with nice people, it makes you feel nice within yourself.
Bil Richardson of Old Perth Port – he gave us hope when there was nowhere to moor our vessels. Ironically our well laid plans never came to fruition but hopefully somewhere down the track they will bear fruit. Thanks Bil for being so positive from the outset.
Nige and Kev - you went the extra mile and gave of your time when I needed it most, thank you so much for your friendship and support.
Mick and Greg – thanks guys. You’re just fair dinkum blokes who put in way more than you were paid for.
We have a small team of guys who run the Little Ferry Company. I can say with ‘hand-on-heart’ that we are who we are today because of our Skippers, because of who they are and what they contribute. Rory Burrows, Bob Larkman and Ian Riggs – they are all unique individuals that each provide something different to the Little Ferry Company. But if I was to pick one thing common amongst them all… they are genuine people with good hearts. I know that the word ‘nice’ can seem rather insipid but for me, I cannot think of a higher compliment to pay these blokes – I just love working with them and am so thankful that they chose the Little Ferry Company.
Its an easy thing to say; “without so-and-so I wouldn’t be here” or, “we wouldn’t have been able to do this..” etc etc. ..the usual Acadamy Award speech we’ve all rehearsed in the shower. But my closing thank you is exactly that… Without the selfless support of Mark Loader the Little Ferry Company may have not survived. I met Mark by a chance exchange of texts while he was on a yacht delivery job somewhere on the Pacific Ocean. The long and short of it is that he has become more than a head skipper. He has embraced the heart and soul of our company and continues to inspire and contribute in ways I am so humbly grateful for.
To All who have lent a hand to the building of the Little Ferry Company – a sincere thank you. Thank you for reinforcing the notion that, Magic really does happen when you believe.