A few days ago, I felt I had seen everything I wanted to see in Auckland. I made a post on Reddit seeing if anybody in Auckland needed help with anything. My thought was maybe a few people would respond needing help moving, painting, fixing a fence, etc.
The thread had 2.7k views and about one hundred upvotes. I had three responses.
One woman needed a gym buddy, as hers recently stopped going and she was losing motivation. The woman was lovely, and we had a great time.
The second was a guy who needed help taking a pic for an online dating site to make it seem like he had friends. I thought he was just a lonely guy at first, but I got a weird vibe and said no can do.
The third was a much bigger project. The job was to help a guy fix up his boat. He told me he would pick me up on a beach, and I could stay on the boat and get food in exchange for some work. I thought this sounded interesting, so I accepted. We worked out a few details, and I was to meet him today on a beach on Waiheke island (an island off the coast of Auckland).
This morning, as I was boarding my ferry, I got a text saying their tender had been stolen. Some googling told me the tender is the smaller boat that allows people from anchored transports to get to land.
He said they were talking to the police and they would keep me updated.
I had already bought my ticket, so I decided to go on to the island. Worst case scenario, I could spend the day walking around a new place, no harm no foul.
I had been on the beach for about an hour when I got a message saying the tender had been located, and they wanted to pick me up before they went to pick up the tender. He told me to see if I could hitch a ride to the boat from shore.
I asked around to see if anybody could take me out to the boat, and eventually a man named Don agreed to take me out there.
The ship itself is a massive, old fishing boat, about 110 feet total, manned by the man and his wife. The ship is a work in progress and will eventually be used to take doctors to foreign countries to treat the locals there. It also will be used by scientists who need to conduct research in remote places.
I got a hands-on lesson steering the 200-ton ship, and a crash course in sailing.
The tender ended up being about an hour away by boat, being help by a yacht docked off the shore of an uninhabited island. They had their radio turned off, so another ship offered to take their dinghy over to retrieve ours.
We eventually got the dinghy returned and made our way back to Waiheke to dock.
After we docked, it was too late to get started working, so we extended the boat’s crane and took turns jumping off. The captain decided to do some SCUBA diving to check the hull and keel of the boat and was pleased by what he found.
Afterwards, we spent the evening chatting and drinking wine.
Today has been one of the craziest, most unexpected days of my life. We were supposed to work on the boat today but didn’t have time after all the insanity. Tomorrow, we start bright and early to remove rust, paint, weld, and make other alterations.
Here are my digs.
It is still unreal to me how today happened. I made a short post on a social media post, and two days later I’m on the crow’s nest of a 200-ton ship sailing to an island to retrieve a smaller boat.
I didn’t have time to get many pictures, but I will get more tomorrow.
I want to stay and help on the ship for a bit longer. I am not sure how long I will stay, but I do know that in the future I will always be sure to ask, “Does anybody need a hand with anything?”