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home sweet boat

Several songs come to mind at this point…
“…just spent six months in a leaky boat”
“…we all live in a yellow submarine”
My boat isn’t a submarine (though it is painted yellow), and whether it’s leaky or not I can’t say, as it’s in permanent dry dock on top of a hill, but it’s my home for the moment, and it is awesome.  I’m staying with the lovely Jacobs family, in a small town outside Greymouth, on the West Coast of the South Island.  They live in an absolute dream house at the top of a hill with views to the Tasman Sea and inland to the Paparoa ranges.  The house is all windows and wide open spaces, and it’s filled with light and music at all hours of the day.  One could tell time by the patterns of light on the floor as the sun shines through first one window, then another, circling warmly around the house.  This is Lumir’s family – they’ve adopted him much as the Beveridges on the North Island have adopted me.  Susan (an American from Wisconsin), Geoffrey (a die hard West Coast gold miner), Navare (their 8-year-old son), and Cashew the dog.  Lumir lived with them for close to two months, and it’s his hard work as a carpenter and painter that I’m enjoying, living in the boat.  Having heard my name mentioned a great deal (by Lumir), the Jacobs asked him to invite me to stay so that they could get to meet me in person.  And here I am.

A brief recap of the past weeks…
I spent six days out in the mountains with Lumir, hiking all the way up the Rakaia River, learning to route-find and cross rivers.  We had exquisitely hot weather, which he complained about and I reveled in.  I found myself to be in pretty wretched shape after six months of inactivity, but it felt wonderful to be out and about, getting sunburned and dirty, living on cous cous and porridge.  I could feel the Ice just melting off me.  We climbed a glacier and ate breakfast one morning on the top of a mountain at the head of the Rakaia valley.  Gorgeous!!  It rained our last day – the first rain I’d seen in six months – and we arrived back at Jenny’s wet, cold, tired and muddy.  I got to spend some quality time catching up with Jenny (the woman I was working for before leaving for Antarctica) and helping Lumir pack 50 kilos worth of photo equipment, clothing, and hiking gear into a 32 kilo luggage limit.  Then it was back to Christchurch…Lumir’s last night was spent on the Banks Peninsula, out on a sagging jetty.  We drank, and toasted each other, and slept curled up together in Dr. Gonzo, only to wake at 3:30 AM to make the long, foggy drive back to the city to get him to the airport on time.  It was sad to see him go…

It was odd to be in Christchurch.  Too many people, too much traffic – and too many people from the Ice.  It was odd, how we all seemed to feel this lack of interest in each other.  Suddenly we had nothing to talk about, and wanted only to move on, out of the city to where we didn’t know anybody.  I did get to catch up with Mike and Stephen, though, friends from Tekapo and the Godley, which was a very fun blast from the past.  I was quite happy to leave the city, though, this past Thursday, and head over to the West Coast, where the Jacobs have been keeping me busy with art festivals in town, badminton, and a night of fishing out at the beach under a full moon during which I managed to catch my first shark, despite initially casting my hooks onto the sand next to me…

This place (the green, lush, alive place) is the perfect antidote to the Ice.  NZ’s West Coast is my favorite.  Beaches, mountains, rain forest – the Anti-Ice.  I’m loving it.  I’m missing Lumir, and I’m still feeling a bit off balance in this warm, bright world, but every day I wake up to the sunlight streaming through the porthole next to my bed, and the chattering of cicadas in the palms outside, and I hear the ocean and I close my eyes and imagine that I’m floating…

1 comment to home sweet boat

  • Rachel Brady

    Hi there. I’m traveling in New Zealand and found your posting about the Lumir family on the South Island with help from HelpExchange. They sound wonderful! Do you, by any chance, have their contact info? I’m traveling with a partner and we’d love to send them an email.
    Thanks!
    -Rachel

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