by Reinhout van Wagtendonk MIAMI BEACH, Saturday
The Decor is subtropical. Palm trees, red and rose blooming Hibiscus, a pelican on the water. The moored sailboat DUTCH LOVE floats on the waves of a few passing pleasure yachts. The shining white boat is simply decorated for crew who want to go for a few days or a few weeks together on the warm waters of the Caribbean sea.
Dutch heritage. Skipper Harman Harkema is bronzed and weathered by the sun, one that never shone so intense in his native Holland. He clearly belongs in this exotic sub-tropical Miami Beach setting. But at the same time this gray blond sailor, who with his sail-cruises will let his paying crew experience the mysterious holistic powers of the Ocean , still unmistakably beams his Dutch heritage.
He colors up the boat and surrounding dock area with ritual objects and colorful pot flowers.
"Feng Shui", he declares. Feng Shui, is his spiritual viewpoint fitting eastern wisdom about the influence of our surroundings on somebody’s life and mindset. The geraniums remind him of the decorative plants with which the living rooms in the Netherlands were made cozy. Harman’s youth was plain classic Dutch.
Crazy. "From my seventh year on I was crazy about boats. I wanted nothing else but to go to ports and harbors to look at boats", tells the sailor about his youth." I learned at a very young age to sail, mostly solo in boats way too big for such a small kid."
But the Dutch waters soon turned out not to be enough. Without knowing exactly what it was, he was looking for more. "At home, I could never find that what really interested me." "Much later, having left Holland and when I started to read about theology, spiritualism and other now-age literature that I began to understand what is was that I was looking for."
"I thought that I had left Holland looking for the
perfect boat. That brought me to the French Riviera, Italy, Morocco. All
over South America, Cusco and Machu Pichu and eventually all the way down the Amazon in an assortment
of craft. What the search was all about was life questions like
In 1969 Harman’s travels brought him for the second time to the United States. His first acquaintance with this land, six years earlier, did not feel quite right. This time he landed in the middle of the Woodstock happening. The legendary concert he did not experience. " but I saw this crowd of people on the road, hitchhiking and walking to the concert. I know exactly what I thought, ‘ Hey what happened to America?’", tells this multilingual globetrotter. "I felt it as the beginning of a spiritual revolution in the US.
A new way of thinking. This time it clicked.
Home. America became his new home. Boats, the sea and his spiritual lust to discover the ultimate remained his passion. South Florida, as entry to the idyllic and, if you are sensitive to it, the mystic mixing of bottomless deep crystal clear water and dramatic Islands in the Caribbean, became his base.
"Looking back, everything that I ever did in my life, has prepared me for the building of my own boat and the possibility to share with others the special forces of the Atlantic Ocean", says Harman the design engineer. In 1988 he commissioned the steel casco of his Dutch Love to be built, after which in the following 7 years he single-handedly crafted the 15 meter long vessel into a robust but comfortable sailing yacht . Dutch Love has now logged more than 70,000 miles in south Florida, the Bahamian waters, and NW Caribbean.
Lend a Hand. For 20 years now he has been taking passengers in his 85 hp motor, radar and GPS-satellite navigation system equipped boat. Sometimes there are sea kayaks tied to the stern, with which passengers without any prior boating experience can visit the great blue yonder on their own. "Because everybody can paddle", says Skipper Harman.
"Passengers on board are not served", continues this boss of Harmony Oceanic Charters. " We do not have a steward to clear the dishes. Everybody is expected to lend a hand, even if just doing the dishes.
We can provision the cooler and take on water for two weeks non stop. We always eat well."
Voyages of discovery. "The world consists, at least at the surface, of 70% sea and 30% land", says Harman. "We as humans also consist of 70% salt water. We are a direct reflection of the world we are born to, this world a reflection of us." Save us now!!
Crew Elaina now 10
Your thought is the parent which gives birth to all things
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