Trevor O Thomas: a tribute from a friend

Trevor O Thomas aboard MFV Extractor. Picture by Bruce Salt
Trevor O Thomas aboard MFV Extractor. Picture by Bruce Salt

Trevor Otto Thomas did not hesitate when the call came to go to the aid of a yacht crew, drifting rudderless in heavy seas, far out into the ocean. He helped save their lives. Three months later, no one was able to save Trevor’s life. He was found dead a few hours after being reported missing on Monday, 15 December 2014. BRUCE SALT has paid a personal tribute in a message to friends, kindly shared here – with some of Bruce’s pictures. 

It’s amazing to see the amount of emails I’ve received from folk around the world who had either come into contact with Trevor, or had heard of him.

I had the pleasure of knowing him on a personal level for the past 27 years.

trevor o thomas 350Many have inquired as to the cause of death, as they remembered him as being a well manicured, fit, agile and intelligent gentleman who backed down from no man, and as a commercial fisherman has weathered many a storm both coastal and deep sea.

Not only was he a very successful commercial fisherman but a fine navigator and skipper of the MFV Westerdam (a Purse Seine trawler) and in between time his own inshore boat the Catfish.

In 2013/2014 he played a frontline role in the acquisition of the Australian-built 22m Westcoaster Longline Tuna fishing vessel the Extractor from Hout Bay, and sailed her to her new owners on St Helena Island, where he resided with his wife.

Apart from his passion for boats, he also loved stripping and rebuilding engines, especially diesels, with clinical cleanliness and precision. He also drew enormous pleasure from making equipment work again after it had been pronounced dead by its owners.

Ninety five percent of his projects were churned out from the porch of his flat in Jamestown, an area of miniscule proportions (perhaps eight feet long by five feet wide).

Rest in Peace Trevor
9 July 1953 – 14 December 2014


SEE ALSO: Sailing for St Helena with a floorboard for a rudder

Trevor Thomas and Charmaine Salt, pictured by Bruce Salt after he helped bring St Helena's new offshore fishing vessel to the island from South Africa in April 2014
Trevor Thomas and Charmaine Salt, pictured by Bruce Salt after he helped bring St Helena’s new offshore fishing vessel to the island from South Africa in April 2014

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  1. Dear Bruce
    I would like to thanku for these beautiful words on behalf of my late brother TREVOR OTTO THOMAS. . Furthermore I’d like to add that my brother thought highly of u nd loved u dearly.. I m so sorry that we all have to endure such a terrible loss nd sincerely hope that our hearts can only heal with time..
    warm regards
    serena hosking

  2. he was such a lovely man .He was like a father to us . We will miss him so much! But will never ever forget him!
    Arnold,Sandra,Sophie and Jada Crowie.

  3. To hear the sad news of the passing of Mr Trevor Otto Thomas brings great sadness and a great loss to the Island of St Helena, of a genuine hero , who retained the ideas of free speech , personal belief and genuine compassion.

    His spirit had an influence on many people including myself and his ideology will continue.

    Tale of the Fisherman
    the bow i sit
    quietly, patiently
    in this test
    of will, to see
    the outcome to be

    2 hours pass
    emotions high
    in this challenge to catch
    Tuna, Wahoo or Bass

    no tug of line
    or movement of float
    i do study
    for some time
    this does, prey upon my mind

    this creature
    i will challenge
    or is it i
    this is challenged, not sure
    as neither,
    submits to the others’ posture

    a nibble unveils
    a test
    cautious and wary
    from this minnow or whale
    not yet seen, not even its’ tail

    the line now taut
    at last
    the battle begins
    to be fought
    to be precocious, i dare not

    left and right
    circling the boat
    jumping in the air
    what a sight
    like that,
    of an approaching storms sprite

    harvest true
    for this bounty
    for now in lieu
    of hunger,
    that for today will not ensue
    – See more at:

    Benjamin Franklin

    Death is a fisherman, the world we see
    His fish-pond is, and we the fishes be;
    His net some general sickness; howe’er he
    Is not so kind as other fishers be;
    For if they take one of the smaller fry,
    They throw him in again, he shall not die:
    But death is sure to kill all he can get,
    And all is fish with him that comes to net.

    Benjamin Franklin

  4. A beautiful tribute to Trevor from his 4 grown-up children in last week’s Independent entitled the ‘World thro’ daddy’s eyes’ which was incidently the title track of the song written and recorded by his daughter Tammy in 2007 released on her first album – Chase the wind. Trevor raised 4 astonishing talented children with his wife Alicia! His spirit lives on……..

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