Getting out and about around the country gives you the chance to meet various people in all sorts of different places. We had just arrived in Middlemarch from where we planned to ride the Otago Rail Trail as part of our South Island tour. We had pulled in behind a large bus and got chatting to the fellow who pulled upon a fantastic looking E-Bike, more like a motorbike than a bicycle. The next thing you know, we are riding the trail together and sharing the adventure.
During the 7 days, we rode the trail, Brian told us of his dream. Once his house sold, he was going to buy a boat that he had seen advertised on Trade Me for the last 18 months. Do some renovations and then sail off into the sunset using the motorhome as his base on land. He thought that if it were meant to be, then the stars would align and with his house selling allowing the purchase of the boat before someone else brought it.
The property market the way it is though meant it was tough to sell the house, and Brian ended up taking it off the market and listing his rental property instead. Over 12 months later that sold, and Brian was ready to start his dream. By then, the dream boat was no longer available, so other options needed to be looked at.
In talking with a friend in Whangarei, Brian heard about a similar boat in storage and possibly for sale. One thing lead to another, and he was negotiating directly with the owners before the day was out. A day or two after the deal was concluded I got a phone call from Brian to tell me he had purchased a “dingy” and was sending me a photo. When the above photo arrived, I thought it was sent in jest, but no he was quite serious.
Brian mentioned that he would be coming north in his bus to get the “dingy” organised the plan was to turn it into a floating 3 bedroom house while using the bus as his base on land. He mentioned that he would be based at a shipyard in Whangarei while the work was undertaken and would we like to come visit and have a look.
With some free time between my various mentor meetings and hospital appointments for my mother, we had a few days to slip away north and inspect this “dingy”! We rang Brian to let him know that we were coming north and he kindly arranged for us to stay in the boatyard for the night.
We arrived at the Marine Centre, which is really well set up with power and water at each stand obviously so boats can be worked on but also really handy if you are in your motorhome. Still, I wouldn’t want to have to pay the hardstand rates at between $80 and $100 per night!!!!! Thankfully free for us parked up next to Brian’s Bus.
There are other motorhomes parked here as well as people staying in their boats while they work on them. Brian tells me that there is quite a community of people from all around the world. The place is very well set up with toilets, showers, laundry, huge kitchen and communal lounge.
I don’t think I truly appreciated how big this dingy is until we found it and Brian in the shed where he had been spending the day removing the stickers from the side of the boat preparing it for a repaint. The boat is 23 metres long and weighs 36 tons and is powered by two substantial 1000hp jet units the draft is only 600mm allowing easy access to many bays. I talked with Brian about fuel usage, let’s just say that you wouldn’t open the throttles too often. Although he did assure me that at gentle cruising, it was reasonably economical at 36 litres per hour!
For those of you who think I know that boat, it used to serve as the Fullers boat that did the famed Cream Trip cruise in the Bay of Islands. Brian has yet to decide if he is going to keep the swimming net on the side of the boat, although that could be a bit of fun once the boat gets underway.
I think you get a real sense of how big the boat is when you stand on the top viewing deck and look down at the motorhome in corner which looks small but is actually 7.6 metres long.
After removing almost all of the plastic chairs that used to seat the tourists, Brian is transforming the inside into his new 3 bedroom home complete with a large lounge and kitchen area. It really is inspiring for him, we are both very much looking forward to seeing the finished product a few weeks from now.
We are coming back for the relaunch, and I will post an update to this blog once the boat is finished and launched.
From here we are heading north to check out and stay at a place we have driven past for 18 years and never once stopped so that could be interesting for us.
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