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July 6, 2015

The passing of a (Nordhavn favorite) man’s best boating friend

We are very very sad to announce the passing of Zulu the wonderful Norfolk Terrier belonging to Wolfgang and Heidi Hass. In his two circumnavigations aboard the Nordhavn 46 KANALOA II, Zulu made canine and human friends all over the world and his passing will bring many tears. He was featured throughout Nordhavn.com, mentioned in several boating publications and in Circumnavigator Magazine. As his illness progressed and his death was near, we had planned to write a eulogy on this site. However, Heidi's own words below are better than anything that we could write and convey the powerful emotions that man's best friend can give us. Good bye Zulu.


ZuluZulu Remembered

Our home was always bursting with love - of the ear-tousling "what a good boy" kind of love.
Suddenly it became very quiet on board Kanaloa, as thirteen years of a full life together seemed to be but a short time. Dear Zulu, our Norfolk Terrier, had left us while in Fiji. Left us with a big hole in our hearts and our life.

We had already sailed around the world on our sailboat when we decided to make a change in our cruising life. It was a big leap of faith to have a new ocean going trawler built. Would we adjust to this new way of crossing oceans? There was another question that followed us as we left South Africa, where we had met a family of wonderful Norfolk Terriers.

All the way north in the Atlantic Ocean, we could not stop thinking and talking about those great little fellows. Then, one day we both said at the same time: We should stop thinking and talking and go ahead and add a new member to the crew of Kanaloa. It was the best decision we had made since setting off from our home port of Berlin years earlier.

So, Zulu, born in South Africa, started life as a world traveller, flying through London, and onward, to come aboard Kanaloa in California. He entered our lives as a tiny fluff ball who quickly grew into a confident, highly intelligent Sea Dog.

The minute his tiny feet touched the deck, it was love at first sight. To him, the ocean was mystery and majesty and the promise of what lay over the horizon. It could be the still, sultry waters of a tropical lagoon or the rough waters around South Africa. The sea was both siren and adversary, the duality making his love for it all the stronger. And, starting out as a puppy, there was nothing quite so thrilling as flying over the waves in his favorite small boat, Kanaloa's dinghy.

Most people would laugh, hearing us describe Zulu as an important member of the crew. They would never understand what it is like, standing watch day after day, night after night, alone in the wheelhouse, crossing wide oceans. Rain or shine; gale or calm. With a crew of just two, you spend most of those hours alone. However, add another crew member and life changes.

Suddenly, morning, noon or nighttime, there would be a small friendly fellow come to share the watch. Or, if there was a strange noise or a big wave hit the boat, guess who would be there first to find the cause? Zulu never wavered in his duties, whether it was to watch for flying fish on deck or going for walks on uninhibited islands or through strange villages. We were never so alive and content, as when our small shipmate shared the moment.

Of course, his most important job ashore was as 'Good Will Ambassador'. There was not an immigration, port or health official around the world that he could not charm. Shop keepers always offered treats and were amazed at how politely he would accept and say thank you.
And, Zulu spoke all the languages in the world - with a raised paw or a wag of his short tail. So children of all races and nationalities would swarm around, carrying on conversations that only they and Zulu could understand.

Zulu also taught us about friendship and selflessness, to live each day with joy, and follow our hearts. It is an amazing thing, to actually live that concept. Zulu had no use for life's expensive toys. Chasing a crab on a beach, or watching a steak defrost on the counter-top would do just fine. Best of all for him, was to have the crew together, in a quiet anchorage after a long passage, and just enjoying a quiet time. That was living. That was loving.

It is very hard to put into words how we feel today. For thirteen years the three of us shared an amazing journey. The laughter, the tears, the joy. And now we are left with the memories.

It was a journey worth taking.

And, a difficult one to give up.



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