All Things Come to an End
Te Papa Is Still Our Place, but Lady Fair Is No Longer Our Place
Architecture or space is all around us.
- David Lynch
Source: Wellington's Waterfront...a Progress Report December 2000 (I don't know who the photographer was)
The above photo shows our boat - or, rather, our ex-boat - in relation to Te Papa. The photo was almost certainly taken from a helicopter - and guess who bought our boat: a helicopter pilot who saw it from the air and contacted us with an offer!
I must say, we were ready to relinquish it. If you've ever owned a boat, you'll understand how they require constant attention and the frequent expenditure of money (usually at the most inopportune times). They cannot be safely ignored for long at all - rather like having a young child.
So why do people get boats if they're so much trouble?
I'd have to say for the experiences - they DO provide plenty of those.
Isn't this a nice view of Te Papa and Chaffers Marina?
By the way, I read where one translation of Te Papa could actually be-----Flat Rock. Cool.
The following is from my journal, 18 November 1993:
The sea is liquid silver, smooth and rolling. The boat skates over the surface of the water, undulating rhythmically - somewhat as if we're skating over regular seams in a neighbourhood sidewalk.
Occasionally, like now, it occurs to me how amazing it is, really, that we've essentially driven our home halfway around the world. I feel somewhat like Dorothy leaving Kansas for Oz in her house powered by the tornado, only I'm powered by the relentless, grinding machine that is the Cat diesel engine of this boat.
Last evening, my husband and children and I went up to the bow to watch the sun set. The sky was hot pink, reflected in the water. The ocean was so calm, you could even see the reflection of the moon. It was eerie - like being in a living dream.
Using a powerboat for crossing the Pacific isn't all that common. Our boat holds in excess of 3200 gallons of fuel. We maximise our fuel if we keep our speed at about eight knots, thus getting, on average, just under two nautical miles per gallon. For each day we shorten our trip (by picking up speed), it costs us almost (US)$250 extra for the additional fuel used.
Unlike a sailboat, this boat requires little work outside some constant, mostly mechanical (mostly minor), repairs. The passengers/crewmembers (and on our boat, except for my 5-year-old son, they're one and the same) have a lot of free time to read, write, talk, interact, play games, sleep, or to play charades.
The personalities of the crewmembers has turned out to be a matter of higher importance than we had rated it when preparing for this trip. Though this portion of the trip seems languid, totally risk-free, it isn't. This IS the official cyclone season in this part of the world. We've been through some seriously rough seas, and had a couple of major mechanical problems in recent weeks. (No one's fallen overboard, yet, but that will occasionally happen, too.) Our lives DO depend on each other, each member of the crew. We also share our living space - which, in our case, is additionally our home. And yet two of our number are strangers.
That is, we began this trip with two crewmembers. But, in Tahiti, one crewmember accused the other of theft. Since the two of them could no longer share a boat after that, much less a crew room, we were forced to choose sides based on our assessment of their respective personalities and send one of them back to the US. We all agreed as to which one we thought was being false. It felt good to see him go - his insensitivity had alienated us all. The remaining crewmember has proven to be very moody. This trait was present from the first, but masked by the fact that the other crewmember had been so annoying. (Is this guy too moody? For what? Not, I think, for teaching me lessons about how to get along with others.)
I've tried to be his friend, his ally; I've tried to be neutral, not offering my opinions nor involving myself; I've even tried open hostility, criticism, public and private; I've offered reconciliation, apology, sympathy.
Peace is still ruling, but I know I spend a disproportionate part of my time trying to understand the situation, trying to alleviate, trying to empathise, to curb my negative feelings when one of us is met with icy indifference or biting sarcasm from this crewmember. Other days (all too infrequently), he is ebullient, leading my children in games, snorkeling with them, instructing them in simple boat-maintenance tasks, acting open and child-like himself.
It's hard enough for the members of my family to minimise interpersonal friction after stretches of more than 2 weeks on the open ocean, no land in sight. How do I deal with this foreigner among us? (Treat him as a mere employee? And what would that mean?)
Are we on our ship, as totally isolated as we are - no phone, no newspaper, no tv, no visitors - a microcosm, similar in form to individual countries who are alienated from each other by culture, history, and language and isolated on another ship, that of our Planet Earth? Each of us sails through space and time, each continually establishing our "pecking orders" - making treaties, talking coercion while trying not to resort to it (afraid of the consequences, the forces which could be unleashed). Certainly each of us uses (must use?) resources extravagantly to make noticeable progress.
We each have to live with our mistakes - at least for the duration of this trip.
One of the things we expect to like about New Zealand is that, being an isolated island, people must deal with the consequences of their actions from one day to the next, therefore treating each other with more respect than passing strangers or travelling salesmen connecting in big cities seem to do.
When this trip is over, what will happen? We'll separate from this crewmember, probably promising to write, to keep in touch - but we probably won't, or, anyway, not for long. What influence does our knowledge of the temporary nature of our association have on the quality and sincerity of our interactions?
We've considered offering our crewmember longer-term employment (within the confines of New Zealand law, since he hasn't yet applied for residency, and may not qualify), but the potential frustrations we can envision usually overwhelm any generous impulse. What do we owe those among us who need our help - whether they are individuals or countries? How much importance do we place on what they can return to us?
I thought I was on this boat because it is my immigration transport mechanism - the vehicle allowing me to move from one country to another (that is, one westernised country to another - something like cheering for a different team while staying in the same league). But -
Perhaps it's the path, the trip itself, that's important. (I've always thought that, but sometimes I forget.) Perhaps this trip can teach me what it really means to HAVE a "country" - or a friend, or a family member, or an employee. And maybe I'm learning what's important, after all.
- Ruth Hatch
The Last Stop
We tried driving our motor home to New Zealand, but found the road impassable.
Source: my husband Jeff and his Polaroid Spectra (a great camera which we relinquished when we came to New Zealand because film was too dear).
A recent issue of the Economist described New Zealand as "the last bus stop on the planet." (Rudyard Kipling said Christchurch was where you could find "the last lamppost in the world...") The above photo was actually taken at the very southernmost tip of Texas (Texas was our last US home before we moved to New Zealand). Did we move from one "last bus stop/lamppost" to another?
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