1999 New Zealand - published newpaper story PDF Print E-mail
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1999 New Zealand - published newpaper story
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We start to get kitted up. Life jackets, harness a few small bags. We remove the side safety wire and stanchions and throw the lot up onto the front deck.

We don't need to be snagged by these when the time comes. The closer this ship gets the more terrified I feel. Ivan and Charley are not looking very confident at all.

Charley manages to down three of his precious cans of black, saying something about not letting them go to the bottom. Time has passed quickly and we have neglected the baling.

The pressure pump is slowing the water down, but it is losing ground. I dive down and bale some more water. The crossing to the ship might take longer than we expect. Ivan comes down to help and has a last look around his boat. He has had it over ten years and stored a lot of memories.

The inside is a shambles. Remains of the last meal of defrosted meatloaf are scattered on the floor and oily water is all up the wall near the sink, where we have been emptying the bucket. There are the hand made wall coverings in each cabin and his lovely glass ship in a bottle. All will be lost.

Back on deck and the ship is almost along side. The captain is using the bow and stern thrusters to maneuver the ship onto us. A masterful effort. The crew throw us a lead line and then feed us a rope to tie onto our bow.

The boats come together for the first time with a gut wrenching crash that jars both Charley and I off our feet. Ivan is running the engine and endeavouring to steady the boat near the ship.

The boat hits again, this time crashing the mast and rig into the hull of the ship. I can't see the damage that is being caused, not that it will make much difference in a short while, but no boat as beautiful as ours should be treated in such a way.

Charley and I leave the front of the boat and head back to the cargo net. Ivan is already half way up and we wait until he is clear. The boat and the ship are pounding together and the swell is lifting the boat up and down next to the ship, by about 3 metres.

Together, Charley and I wait for the boat to get to the top of a swell and we grab the rope netting and climb. Oddly enough I am not scared at that moment. I am focused intently on getting to the top, and I still have time to check out Charley to see if he is OK. 
You seem to think very fast at a time like that. The wire rigging of the mast rakes both Charley and myself and could have easily sent us into the water, but this is not an option.

I hang on and climb a bit more and get to the top. Many hands grab me and I half climb and half lifted over the edge. Charley is right next to me and we are safe. The ships crew cut the rope holding GADJET and it quickly drifts astern.

We are hustled inside and I don't even get a look at the boat as it drifts away. I lose Ivan for a while as we are directed this way and that through the ship.

He had apparently stayed to wish his boat farewell.
Something probably best done by himself anyway.


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