Sunday 25th October 2009 by Clayton
He spent 5 weeks at Mai Dive exploring the uninhabited islands, secluded beaches, and calm waters of the Astrolabe and North Astrolabe Reef. Doing day excursions from Mai Dive and also completing a solo circumnavigation of Kadavu and Ono Island. He slept in his hammock and his tent. He ate fish caught on a troll line during his paddles. He drank kava with Fijians all around Kadavu. And all with a smile on his face.
Jason describes Franz as one of those people with great karma. Good things always happen when they are around like great weather, wildlife sightings, and finding hospitable people. His stay at Mai Dive and the circumnavigation trip were nothing short of an affirmation of his genuine and kind nature.
His hunger for life and ability to go with the flow were also vividly apparent. If it was raining one day, he would read a book and have a glass of wine. If the weather was good, he would paddle to an island north of Ono for the day. But it was the circumnavigation that was always looming in the back of his mind. His hunger to explore the expansive Pacific Ocean, discover new places, meet new people were what drove him to Fiji in the first place.
Plotting different courses, talking to Jason and Pete about logistics, making copies of maps, checking the weather forecast were all daily activities to prepare for his big trip. Pete showed him the different parts of Kadavu on a map pointing out good places for shelter. Jason arranged a few kilos of kava to present to each village he stayed at. Myself and Danielle arranged certain supplies he requested to be brought from Suva. All Franz needed to do was wait for the weather to clear and he could set off on his expedition.
Then one morning, we all waved good bye as he disappeared over the horizon. After 10 days, he set out on the trip that fulfilled his desire to find new places and meet new faces. But what we want to tell him is that we were sad to see him go. Sad to not have him at Mai Dive. To not see his smile or listen to his stories. Finally 10 or 11 days later, his kayak appeared on the beach of Mai Dive once again. Everyone was excited to hear the stories of where he went and who he met. But all he needed to do was smile one time to bring back the joy in our hearts.
Franz, you are truly missed here. We think about you often and remember your smile.