Snapshot: Captain Martin West
Occupation: I retired last year after 48 years in the maritime industry. I served 12 years in the British merchant marine, four years on the sixth largest private luxury yacht, and then came ashore and moved to the USA in 1988 to work in marine insurance.
Family: My lovely wife, Jan, and son, Mason, who lives and works in NYC.
Pets: None now after the recent demise of Goldy, our goldfish, who lived to the ripe old age of 23.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I have lived in Newtown since 1998.
What do you like to do in your free time? My favorite new retirement hobby is wildlife photography [and] taking my camera out every day on our local walks. Hiking at Audubon preserves like in Sharon, Conn., and Stratford Point. I love to cook, especially seafood dishes. Hopefully do some more traveling when things open up. I also squeeze in tennis, reading, playing guitar, crosswords, and some red wine.
What is your favorite book? No out-and-out favorites, but I really enjoyed Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built The Brooklyn Bridge. I also like detective mysteries set in the UK like the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths.
What is your favorite travel destination? That’s a difficult one. We loved Helsinki, Finland; Barcelona, Spain; visiting good friends in New Zealand; and getting away every January to the west coast of Florida.
What is the best part about Newtown? Having brought up my son in Newtown, I would have to say the school system with such dedicated teachers. A close second would be the organized kids’ sports with so many dependable volunteers and a quick shout out to the Parks and Rec Department for all they do. Oh, and the C.H. Booth library.
What organizations are you part of in Newtown? None at this moment, but I certainly support the library whenever I can. I coached 7th/8th grade boys basketball for about five years.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? I would have to say Mother Nature and specifically the oceans; having sailed around the world many times and seen the extremes from sunsets in a calm Indian Ocean to raging storms in the South Atlantic, those experiences have continuously guided my thought process.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? Besides my family, it would be Jacques Cousteau, the French undersea explorer, to gain a greater appreciation of what is under the ocean surface.
Who is your favorite musical artist? It’s a three-way tie between Mark Knopfler for his amazing guitar work, Ian Dury for biting lyrics, and John Prine for his ability to paint a simple picture with words and music.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? Less is more! Which I interpret as listen more than you speak!
What is something you cannot live without? English tea. Yorkshire Gold is absolutely fabulous.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Raising my son to be a self-assured empathetic, independent, productive person. Also, obtaining my master mariners license to be qualified to captain any size vessel.