At 0930hrs on March 21 2011 the Blacksmiths boarded Te Ikaroa, our new home.
We are now fully fledged ‘live aboards’. I had visions of Ross sweeping me off my feet and carrying me across the gangplank, but with six bags and a toddler he kinda had his hands full, so we dragged all our stuff below, flopped down in the saloon and stared at each other. The enormity of it slowly sinking in.
‘ Darling, we are here!” Ross with a captianly tone.
I responded in an equally first mate fashion, “Right, I’ll put the coffee on.”
And Dash, the ever helpful/ hindering cabin boy piped up with, “Dirty, fly, yuck”
Reinhardt literally walked off the yacht leaving behind, clothes, undies, pipes, every kind of tool imaginable, grime and grease, plates, a GPS, pirate costumes, a blow up fish (wtf?) and a very interesting selection of CD’s.
‘23 German Hits from the early 90s’, Revel’s ‘Bolero’, an informative CD on how to treat irritable bowel syndrome ( he was a doctor) and the granddaddy of them all, ‘Rod Stewarts Greatest Hits!!!!!!!’
He may be the filthiest doctor I have ever meet but the mere fact he had this on board meant he just shot in my esteem. ( I know, admitting my adolescence fascination with Rod Stewart is tantamount to social suicide but hey, these are exceptional times!) Never has “Sailing” resonated so strongly. How could you not get choked up to“ We are sailing, home again across the sea,” and with Ross in a pair of stubbies was as if Rod could read my mind when he belted out “ Hot legs, I love ya honey” . THIS was music to unpack too.
Dash thought so too as he spent his time waving his little fists around dancing in the saloon. Ahhh family life…
Four days on, and Summetime is slowly turning into Te Ikaroa. (We decided to change her name.) As the smell of old man is replaced with the smell of small boy, (not really that different!) lockers are cleared of weird bits of wire, sprayed with a combination of pledge and tea tree oil, and filled with t shirts, togs, and toys her true nature, as a grand old lady of the sea, emerges.
I have absolutely no understanding of sails, engines or thru hulls so I planned to make my mark in the soft furnishings department. I spent much of my preparation in NZ looking through House and Garden Magazine imagining a fresh, jazzy and cheap new interior. As luck would have it, Mum had a bolt of drill cotton stashed next to the Christmas decorations which was perfect for the new ‘look’. I enlisted the help of Gabe’s mum, Christine, who is well known for her upholstery prowess, and she whipped up some covers for us.
We pulled and tugged, and unpicked seams but it turned our measurements were a bit off. ( Reinhardt had given Ross an approximation as he couldn’t be bothered moving all the junk!). Disaster. The foam rubber was a health hazard and there was no way in hell I was sleeping on them. There was only one thing to do, armed myself with a copy of Spanish for Cruisers and my new friend Sherrie, I go on a mission to find someone in Aruba who could make my soft furnishings.
For two days we crisscrossed the island, got caught in traffic jams, had the jollopy breakdown, until we finally discovered Hassan and his Orange Matrick Fabric factory. ‘Spanish for Cruisers’ didn’t cut it , as Hassan spoke Arabic! But the age old language of point, laugh, sign and haul out a wad of US dollars worked wonders. These guys were amazing, not only do we have fantastic new squabs and mattress we had them delivered to the yacht within three days!
Ross and I now luxuriate in the saloon at night, sundowners in hand, grinning at each other. Dash has his own cabin, (admittedly there are fishing rods and poles lashed to the ceiling, but is amazing what a bit of bunting can disguise), and we have a HUGE stern cabin that we can sleep horizontally or vertically in. We have an open air cold shower, old washing machine and a plumbed toilet that Rudi ( the fisherman who owns the wharf) lets us use.
In real estate terms “this is a little slice of paradise, complete with rustic charm and great indoor out door flow. Perfect for those after the simple things in life.”
With only a coffee pot, a busen burner and a strong Columbian blend we have gone from living on an Arubia fisherman’s wharf in a half -finished -rust- bucket to reclining in our very own pleasure craft in the Caribbean.
Add a splash of the local rum and the bruises from whacking myself of bits of steel don’t hurt quiet so much.