Not Quite the Riviera

May 6, 2012

Whangarei, New Zealand

By: Kerry

It was insane getting out of Sydney. So much to do, so little time…. and so much stuff! We packed up all the stuff we wanted to take to the boat and sent it to the shipping company with fingers crossed it would cross the Tasman safely and somehow find its way to Whangarei, all intact.

Our house was going to be rented out and Damian was adamant we weren’t going to pay for storage of any stuff left behind, so we had to get rid of it, one way or another. What we couldn’t sell on eBay or pass on to friends and family went into the monster garage sale. We had over 100 people through, and the living room, dining room and front yard were piled high with books, kitchenware, furniture and clothes. What didn’t sell there went to Vinnies or council clean up.

On the last day, we were still delivering furniture to friends, wine to the auction house (around 400 bottles from Damian’s cellar), clearing out the pantry and packing the last of the stuff we were sticking under the house.

Years ago, I’d had my backpack stolen in Barcelona and spent the next several months travelling around Europe with all my worldly possessions contained in a plastic shopping bag. It had been wonderfully liberating, and I thought that getting rid of all my ‘stuff’ this time around might feel the same.

It didn’t. On the one hand, it was one step closer to freedom and adventure, on the other, it was a huge wrench – like falling off a cliff, with a terrifying drop below.

Having never felt homesick or any real sense of attachment to ‘home’, it was unnerving. But, at the end of the day, (I kept telling myself – and Damian kept reminding me) it is just STUFF – and we don’t need it!

We finally closed the door at 1.00am and drove to Damian’s friend, Kevin’s house for what remained of the night. Up at 6.00am, we drove to the airport. Waaaaay too much luggage, but fortunately I have friends in the right places and we had our excess waived and… an upgrade!

So we settled ourselves into business class, the nice lady handed us a champagne and the adventure officially began…

We arrived in Auckland, picked up a hire car, drove to the hotel and, after two gin and tonics, decided dinner was overrated. Woke up 15 hours later and drove two hours north to Whangarei, where Sel Citron has been waiting, out of the water, in a shipyard, since we did the survey and sail trials back in February.

Despite her sunny yellow hulls, she looked pretty forlorn, propped up on wooden piles, out the back of the yard, with views over old derelict hulks, puddles and piles of rusting junk.

View of the 'trailer park' - from our aft deckNot quite the French Riviera…

In fact, living aboard is more like camping, or being parked in a low rent caravan park: we’re nowhere near the seaside; it’s several hundred metres to the ‘amenities block’ (we can’t use the shower or loo on board while we’re out of the water); and we access the boat via a ladder.

We do, however, have a two-car garage…

Our Two Car Garage

Still, it’s only temporary, we’re excited – and after another two 10-hour sleeps, we’re feeling almost human!

~~~ ><(((°>  ><(((°> ><(((°> ~~~

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