Life on Cloud 9

Sat 9 Sep 2017 05:16

Looking at Zoonie from Cloud 9


You know a fellow live aboard friend recently said to us “As cruising people we are second class citizens,” and when we languish in our room with its king size bed, vast TV, spa bath and ultra fast WiFi I begin to agree with him. The doctor was right to send us into this oasis of calm luxury for Rob’s recovery. He is doing well bless him, walking a little further each day and tucking into a full English breakfast with the wonderful knowledge he needs to put some weight back on.

I tried the spa bath the other evening and made an unsurprising discovery. It is over a year since I have had a bath. Disgusting you might well think and I can tell you my heart leaped when I spied the hollow white fellow lying in the corner of the bathroom. I gently squeezed about half of the little courtesy tube of Bath Gel into the tumbling hot water and slowly laid myself down, relishing every millimetre of warm soapy liquid.

After a few minutes of familiar soaking I pressed the soft ‘on’ switch and waited. Suddenly a loud sub-terranium gurgling started and water shot out from under the eight little nozzles in the bath walls, pummelling my extremities. It was nice. I relaxed and let my eyelids fall. A few minutes of this liquid massage later I opened my eyes to find a cloud of creamy white bubbles about to cascade over the side and onto the floor. Wow, a little bath gel goes a long way with this game. Is this what it feels like on the top of cloud 9?

The next morning was a bit of a shock. My lovely cloud having dried away to nothing a black residue stared up at me from the bottom of the bath. Rob suggested it may be from the tubes within the shell of the bath if it hasn’t been used for a while. But yesterday I decided to test his theory by having another flight on cloud 9 only to find the same scary residue in the bath which had apparently come from me!

I’ve just ordered an anthology if Pasifika writing and art and ‘The Shipwreck Hunter’ which involves modern day research into written evidence, meteorology and ocean currents and then state of the art sonar equipment and photos to locate the wrecks. Maybe more importantly the stories of the ships themselves and the emotional tales of the families who have waited patiently for a long time to learn where on the vast ocean floor their relative was laid to rest.

There’s a lot of rugby on the TV tonight so we are ordering room service for the first time. The food is fine although evening meals vary a little depending on the chef on duty I guess. One chef’s Rogan Josh or grilled Halloumi salad is not necessarily the same as another chef’s version.

Nor do we eat in every night. It has been great to be back with our friends and last weekend we tried some Asian Fusion food with two couples at the restaurant near the marina that used to host the cruisers Happy Hour on Tuesdays. The food was very tasty but the idea was to order lots of dishes that everyone could dip into. Ordering led to quite a bit of con’fusion’ until we let the waitress guide us.

Rob has now walked the 4.5km around the Hatea Loop on two separate occasions and his breathing is getting deeper and his stride faster all the time. He sits on a little plastic step on the pontoon while I go onto Zoonie to collect or deposit something. Must feel very odd not being able to climb aboard. But a week has gone quickly and in two weeks’ time we will hopefully be allowed back on board. The space may be small but she’s ‘home.’

Auckland City Hospital’s Eligibility Department finally decided Rob was indeed ordinarily resident in the UK for the purposes of the Reciprocal Health Agreement after we sent them evidence of his rented home and Tax Account. Whangarei Hospital never questioned it, perhaps because they are nearer to our way of life, being walking distance from the marina and many of them having sailing connections. Circumnavigators are not necessarily homeless.

The ducklings have started arriving, a pair near Zoonie are nursing 12 tiny balls of mottled brown fluff. It all starts again, in the time honoured way and that is reassuring in our presently dangerous world. I’m off to put the kettle on for a nice cuppa, speak soon.