Friday, April 11, 2014

Hauling Out, Part 2, Living on the Hard

Bella Vita on land - not normal!

Brett and I have been living on Bella Vita for almost five years now, almost two of those out cruising, so we are very aware of all the systems on our boat and how everything works on a normal day.  That said, hauling out in New Zealand would be our first time living on the boat OUT of the water.  Not really an experience that either on of us was looking forward to.

It doesn't look too scary
from this angle, but
trust me,  it's steep!
As our readers may (or may not!) know, many systems on a boat are dependent on water to operate.  For us, this includes the refrigeration system, the engine, the genset, and especially the toilets!  That means that when the boat is out of the water (“on the hard”) and doesn’t have access to water, those systems don’t work.  Yep……think on it….living without a toilet nearby for 10 days.  How does that sound to those of you who regularly get up in the wee hours of the night like I do?  Add to that the fact that to get off  the boat you have to climb down a nice, steep ladder.  Did I mention that I often have to go in the middle of the night…..when it’s DARK????  I know, I know, too much information – but I’m trying to give you a clear mental picture here.  Have you got it?  If not, check out the ladder shot I’ve included.

Okay, so I’m relieved to report that there were toilets located about 400 feet from where they put our boat (soooo thankful they didn’t put us in the back 40, which is like a 1/4 mile from the bathrooms!!!), so at least isn’t wasn’t too far to travel EVERY TIME the urge struck – but not exactly fun at 3am either.

Some of the daily chaos inside...
Add to that the fact that we couldn’t keep our refrigeration or freezer going, so all of our food was being babysat by a very kind cruising friend of ours while we were out of the water.  This can make feeding two people for 10 days a bit of a challenge.  It did, however, help us convince ourselves that there would be no way to live this way without a car – especially since Norsand Boatyard is about a 40 minute walk (one way) out of town.  Knowing we would likely need frequent trips to the boat store, hardware store and grocery store was exactly the push we needed, so we signed on for a cheap rental car – which was worth every penny!

The galley is not exactly
ripe for meal prep, eh?
Cooking was definitely a challenge, but the yard did have a nice BBQ that the boaters were allowed to use, so most dinners consisted of running to the store for items that were easy to barbeque.  Since we also didn’t have the ability to heat water, all water for dishes had to be hauled from the small kitchen to our boat (yep – up that big ladder!).  I quickly devised an easy solution – a big thermos we use during passages was just the amount of water we needed for dishes once a day.  Much easier to haul that to the boat then to haul the dishes to their kitchen!

A real positive was that the yard had showers that were nice and clean, so for a mere dollar a day (each) we could have 6 minutes of bliss with a hot shower after a long day of hard labor.

So other than no toilets at hand, no refrigeration and no hot water on the boat – how was living on the hard? 

Where do we sit and eat???
Not too bad….as long as you could get past the chaos on the INSIDE of the boat.  When you are trying to get back IN the water as quickly as possible, you may be working on several jobs at a time - depending on what stage they are each at.  Every job takes a meriad of support stuff.  All that stuff is normally stored away, but not anymore!  Lockers everywhere spilled forth their contents and at times it seemed every surface was covered.  Why not put it away, you ask?  Well, as soon as you do, you are guaranteed to need it again, so why put the puzzle away at all?  So out it all stays.  Frustrating, but it's really the only way to do things quickly. There were countless times when I would have to tell Brett that if he wanted food, he'd have to create a space for us to sit and eat.  Hunger is a powerful tool it seems!  But understanding and accepting the chaos is not something either of us consider fun. pretty much sucks.

I can't even get out without
climbing over something!
Okay, so it’s not all fun and games, but it really is amazing what you can get used to when you have to.  Plus there is the added bonus of making new friends in the yard, usually while we were all using the yard BBQ to make our dinner (we’re all in the same proverbial boat after all).  We also had the pleasure of catching up with some friends we hadn’t seen in months. A big thanks to Irene and Lionel on Kiapa for having us over to the place they were housesitting for a break from the yard – so needed that!  Add to that a dinner or two out in town and the time passed pretty darn fast. 

Overall, some good, some bad, but something we had to do regardless of how we felt as we have to maintain our boat and that’s where we live.  So you you suck it up and make the most of it.  Think of it as camping out, right?  And it puts us that much closer to being out on the water again for more adventures. 

 But I won’t miss that ladder at all!

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