Every now and then... well, quite often actually, both Helen and I are struck by the thought of the ‘what the hell are we doing here?’ question. If this trip was the fruit of a lifelong dream, then I don’t think we’d have that feeling. A feeling of relief, perhaps, but not bemusement. The fact is, this adventure came about because circumstances allowed us to have the thought that we now describe as “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. Sometimes I think that the lifelong dream would have been easier to justify.
As Aroha sits at anchor in perhaps one of the most idyllic places I’ve ever visited, with a promise of further adventures, I think back to the day she was ‘born’ into our world...
Bavaria have a great business model- they don’t start building your boat until you pay for it in full. What that means is that you part with a substantial lump of cash about four months before she is completed, and (for ME customers) six months before she is launched. That gives you plenty of time to reflect “am I being just a little silly buying this yacht?”
We’d tracked Aroha (or more accurately, the cargo ship on which she was travelling) all the way from Hamburg to Dubai. She averaged 22 knots- the fastest she’ll ever go! She arrived in the middle of 2006 Ramadan. Helen’s contacts at Jebel Ali port told us she’d be off loaded at 8pm. We high-tailed it to the port and (using Helen’s contacts) got onto the cargo ship.
It was a long night full of false starts and plenty of praying and rest breaks. She was finally off loaded at about 5am the following day. I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous than seeing my life savings being hoisted high above our heads in just a couple of slings.
We saw her landed on the dockside, and then had time to drive home, shower, and go straight to work. Adrenalin and excitement of things to come kept us awake for the rest of that day. We didn’t expect at that time that she’d bring us to the Maldives and beyond.