Our beloved floating home was taken out of the water last month, to have her hull cleaned and coated.
I was going to write the ‘b’ word but thought it best not to. I once wrote a blog headline about ‘naughty boys’, following a visit from Fred and his young sons on our previous narrowboat in 2009. The amount of spam traffic it received was phenomenal. I had to edit the headline to something a little tamer – ‘What A Carry On Up The Caldon‘!
Coming Out Of The Water
We knew for a few years we’d be heading back to New Zealand once Barry had gained his permanent residency and citizenship in the UK. It’s just how it is when you marry someone from an opposite hemisphere and have family and friends in each! Having booked our one-way tickets last November, we then pondered what to do with our floating home while we were away.
Barry did some research about places to store her on hardstanding, rather than left moored up on the cut somewhere. Since we bought Areandare in April 2013, she’s been out of the water and had her hull ‘blacked’ three times. The first time we paid the folks at Tattenhall Marina to do it, while we lived inside. The second time we did it ourselves (well Barry did 99% of it!) was at Hawne Basin, February 2017, where it snowed for some of the time. I was in the hospital for most of it – great excuse! The third time in March 2019, we chose Stafford Boat Club where Barry did 85% of it! It seems I did use the ‘b’ word in that headline without incident …
The challenge has been that every time we’ve had her
bottom hull scraped and blacked, it’s been winter. Barry felt that there’s always been insufficient time between putting the two coats of bitumen on, to returning Areandare to the water. Which inevitably meant that the blacking wasn’t likely to stick so well.
He, therefore, investigated possibilities of having the hull grit-blasted, zinc-coated and then double-epoxied. The best place he decided to do this was Debdale Wharf Marina.
An Inevitable Delay
Originally Areandare was booked in to come out of the water after our planned flight to New Zealand on 13th August. Modifications galore were made after COVID-19 reached the shores of the UK. Our flight dates changed, and my younger daughter Kimberley living on board until the end of September. We relinquished our slot and moved it forward to November.
David and his team at Debdale, have been amazingly supportive. He’s even made sure we’ve got photos of Areandare coming out of the water, and through the process of getting her shiny new ‘bottom’.
Grit Blasting and Metal Spraying
Check out the video below from Debdale’s website, about the process. How amazing it is to see Areandare having this done.
Thank you Debdale! I won’t reveal the cost of this choice – but we shouldn’t now have to have Areandare’s hull blacked again for at least 10 years. We also feel that the hull is rather a crucial part of our UK home, so it’s worth spending the money while we have it.
Hopefully, we’ll be back at some stage in 2021 to get her placed back onto the canal and be living aboard once again welcoming family and friends on board. Whatever happens, we know she’s in safe hands there.
Happy Anniversary To Us
One last thing before I leave – today is our 11th ‘official wedding’ anniversary. We said our vows to each other on Wainui Beach, on this day in 2009. It was a stunning blue-sky day. Today is warm too, but not such blue skies. I’m heading to the wharf in Gisborne for a trip on The Big Waka. Barry will take photos. He’s not keen on being on a boat on the ocean funnily enough. He loves the canals. I love the sea. I love New Zealand. He loves the Inland Waterways of the UK. We somehow balance each other out almost perfectly.
Here’s to the next 11+ years. Cheers everyone. Meri Kirihimete.