We spent our first night on board at the weekend. Matt suggested we “camp out”, so we packed our pillows and sleeping bags, a washbag and towels, an esky with food and non-alcoholic champagne PLUS a ridiculous amount of Beanie Boos, books, torches, glow in the dark stars, a pretty necklace and a train made of a tissue box and toilet roll, of course.
Matt was working until late, so the girls and I made up our beds (or rather, I made them up while the kids opened their forehatch and practiced climbing out, running aft to the companionway, back through the saloon to their cabin and doing it again).
We’d spent the afternoon at the foreshore with friends, rollerblading and generally whizzing around on wheeled devices, and had feasted on sausages cooked on the barbie, so the kids were not hungry and full of beans. I’d brought Uno and colouring in, but there was no interest, so we decided to make our way up to the shower block.
Abell Point Marina had been damaged in Cyclone Debbie, the same as the rest of Airlie. One of the casualties was the floating amenities block in the southern end of the marina – the marina is large and spread out, and we’re berthed at one of the furthest points. It’s being repaired and soon should be ready to use. We were happy with the adventure and gathered towels, washbags and torches and set off to trek the half a kilometre to the shower block up by the office.
Sasha, who is 7, can be a little unco and is also quite impulsive. This is a combination that sometimes gives me sleepless nights. I held her hand tightly as we navigated up the pontoons from the pool of light from each lightstand to the next. I know, I AM going to have to relax more, but I need time!
Tilly is 9, astute and nimble, and was fascinated with the fish milling around under the pontoons. She shone her torch under the pontoons as we walked and squeaked with excitements when the fish flashed into sight. The strange thing was she kept calling them “mallets” rather than “mullet” and when I corrected her she said she knew, but carried on calling them “mallets”! Sometimes her accent is a little odd, maybe from the combo of having one Aussie parent and one Pom. Sasha hadn’t thought to bring her torch, and begged her sister for a turn, then wouldn’t return it. They bickered their way up the pontoon and I wondered if we are mad, making them leave all their friends and lovely spacious bedrooms and expecting them live in a forepeak together.
The showers at Abell Point are extremely luxurious and we happily shared a stall together, with only minor squabbling over the soap, hanging clothes etc.
When we returned to the boat, Matt was home, and we could see him in the cockpit light. We tried to sneak up on him, but we were spotted, the man has senses like a hawk! We were all very excited to be together, and popped open the bubbly. There were many toasts and SOME of us got quite giddy with excitement! Matt and I checked the bottle label at least twice to make sure it really was “alcohol removed”!
We persuaded the girls to bed eventually and very cosy they looked, tucked in in their new beds. Matt and I curled up in the saloon and watched actual TV, a rarity for us as our TV at home has very poor reception, and since the cyclone when the arial blew off, none at all. Iron Will is beautifully laid out down below and very comfortable. You can see that she was designed for the higher latitudes; the builder’s dream was to go to the Antarctic although ill-health prevented the voyage (after 20 years of building her! tragic). She has a lot of space down below but we haven’t quite worked out the best way to socialise topsides. Anyway, the muted chatter the other side of their louvred door sent the girls off to sleep quickly and Matt and I retired to our own cabin.
Bright dawn light woke us early the next morning – we have to work out a way of putting curtain on old-fashioned brass portholes! (portlights?). We’d slept pretty well, although the mattress needs replacing and it was an adjustment getting used to Matt climbing over me when he needed a pee! I am SUCH a light sleeper. We also discussed ways of extending the bed, it’s a double at the moment and I am untidy sleeper. Matt says I sleep like someone has thrown me from a great height, like a crime scene chalk outline. But overall we were very happy with our aft cabin.
We cooked up bacon and eggs and had our first proper meal on board. I really like the galley and the layout of the saloon.
We had a busy morning with a procession of visitors and well-wishers. I loved seeing the kids showing their new cabin to friends, and all the kids seem to love using the boat as one big climbing frame. There were a few problems with the grey tank, to which we are applying our problem solving skills. Eventually is was time to pack up and leave. It was lunchtime and very hot now the sun was up.
We took heaps and heaps of stuff off the boat that was left behind by the previous owners. There is SO much stuff on board, we’d like to get all of it off, clean out the lockers and work out what to stow ourselves. The previous owners joked that we’d need a trailer to take it all off – well, we thought it was a joke but maybe not!
We had a great first night on board. Now if feels like the work can really begin.