After having worked so hard the day before, today was a relaxing day to recharge. We woke up early and went on a speedboat ride to Garden Cove where I received my first ever SCUBA diving lesson. I took to the basics quickly, but I had to call off the practice dive once we made it down to about 4 meters. I have been dealing with some sinus issues since I arrived in New Zealand, and my head was starting to hurt, even after spending time getting used to the pressures.
The speedboat ride on the way back had super choppy waters. We were ramping off each wave, and it was a workout holding on to the side to stay in the boat. This, combined with blasting music like “Eye of the Tiger” made for a pretty epic ride.
When we got back to the big boat, we had to move it to another anchor point. While the captain moved the boat, I focused on getting some more painting done. The trip took an hour, and the boat wasn’t rocking so much while moving that I couldn’t paint.
We spent the night deep-frying anything we could get our hands on, including onions, cauliflower, cheese, chocolate, berries, and pickles. We also made up some churros.
Day four started out as a work day. We got a lot of painting done, including finishing putting the primer on the stairs. Painting the stairs hurt my back, as we had to get under the stairs as well. The upper ones weren’t too bad, but you had to get in some weird body positions to reach the underside of the lower stairs.
Afterwards, we took a trip to the captain’s parents house to eat lunch. Turns out he plays the piano as well, so we spent some time going back and forth playing for everyone. The stepfather was saying a lot of strange things that I didn’t really understand, but I smiled and nodded.
We borrowed the parents’ car to go run some errands. We needed food, petrol for the speedboat, and a few other boat supplies. After we left the boat store, the car’s engine wouldn’t turn over. Turns out petrol doesn’t work too well in a diesel engine. Luckily, we were able to dilute the petrol with diesel we got from three trips to the gas station with our gas cans.
The parents insisted on giving us dinner as well. We all wanted to be back on the boat and go to bed early, but that was not to be the case.
We got back to the boat super late. The ride back in the dark was creepy. The ocean was still and foreboding, and the city lights only created a deeper sense of loneliness out on the ocean.
We woke up early day 5 intending to go for a hike, but the weather had other plans. We ended up spending the day getting work done on our computers.
We also got quite a bit of cleaning done on the shore. I worked on cleaning the aft deck and cleaning the SCUBA gear. Later on in the day we took a trip into town to get some Burger Fuel. We wrapped up the day early and watched movies.
Today was the first day of real work. I spent much of the day with a “needle” gun. It is a power tool that has about twenty metal rods coming out the end. These rods are propelled at a high speed, causing rust to break off from metal. Rust was the theme of the day. Breaking it off, sweeping it up, putting a layer of paint on to prevent it.
The boat itself is an old Japanese fishing boat.
We also moved a big pile of scrap metal, a refrigerator, and rearranged much of the chaos. We removed much of the old signage and warnings.
The hours of hard labor in the morning made the afternoon seem that much better. We climbed on top of the crane and made it to the edge in order to jump off. We also took the powerboat into town to get ice cream. After trying about ten different flavor each, we made our way back to work.
The second half of the day was spent removing more rust, as well as putting on a layer of rust prevention. This goes on even before the primer, and was a lime-green, viscous liquid.
There is so much work left to be done on the boat, it is a little overwhelming. We spend eight hours of good, hard labor, and it didn’t feel like we even made a dent in what was left to do.
The boat is a beautiful vessel, and I have no doubt the people aboard it will do great things for the world.
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?”