River liv­ing good for the soul

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jes­sica Howard

FROM sail­ing the pris­tine wa­ters of the Ta­mar and Gor­don rivers to fer­ry­ing com­muters across the Der­went and even­tu­ally be­com­ing a per­ma­nent liv­ing space, this is far from your av­er­age home.

The Wan­derer, a 60- foot for­mer ferry, was con­structed in 1974 by Beauty Point boat builder Peter Shaw and was orig­i­nally named the John Wy­att.

Since then, she has served many pur­poses, un­der var­i­ous own­ers, un­til a few years ago when Stephanie and Ric Kalesh bought her and con­verted the cel­ery top pine beauty into a float­ing apart­ment.

New York City- born Ric and Mel­bur­nian Stephanie were no strangers to life aboard a boat.

“One bor­ing Satur­day morn­ing we were read­ing the travel sec­tion of the pa­per and there was a lit­tle snip­pet on a story about some­body who had lived on a barge in Europe,” Stephanie said. “I was sud­denly over­whelmed with a com­pelling need to go and do ex­actly that. “We’d never been on a row boat at the time – we weren’t boat­ies at all.

“I think we were hav­ing a bit of a mid- life cri­sis.

“A few months later we had sold up, packed two suit­cases and were over in Hol­land look­ing for a barge with ab­so­lutely no idea what we should be look­ing for or what was re­quired.” With a bit of lo­cal help and knowl­edge, the pair were soon liv­ing aboard their new home, Galileo, and spent the next three- and- a- half years trav­el­ling the canals of Hol­land, Bel­gium and France.

Re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia, they moved to Tas­ma­nia but strug­gled to re- en­gage with main­stream liv­ing.

Miss­ing the wa­ter, Stephanie and Ric set about look­ing for a dinghy to take them around the har­bour and down the Der­went, but what

they ended up with was a mas­sive com­mer­cial ferry in­stead.

“We saw the pho­to­graph in the boat bro­kers and Ric said to me, ‘ Oh no, we’re not do­ing this’,” Stephanie laughed.

“I said to him, ‘ Come on, let’s just go have a look at it’ and went for a ride on her and that was it – we fell in love.”

For the next year, the Wan­derer pre­vi­ously also known as the Her­itage Wan­derer and the Wrest Point Wan­derer was com­pletely gut­ted and re­fur­bished.

Still an op­er­a­tion ves­sel, she now also fea­tures a full do­mes­tic kitchen with pantry, be­spoke join­ery and bench­tops, a full bath­room with shower, two sep­a­rate be­d­rooms plus a dou­ble day bed in the liv­ing area, a laun­dry and a huge out­door area up­stairs.

“We wanted to live aboard in that Euro­pean style,” Stephanie said.

“You are ab­so­lute wa­ter­front and you form part of the view that peo­ple are pay­ing heaps of money to see from their fancy houses on­shore.

“I didn’t nec­es­sar­ily want it to have a nau­ti­cal feel with blue and white ev­ery­where be­cause it was go­ing to be our home. In­stead I went for rich fab­rics and ma­te­ri­als which I think work beau­ti­fully.”

Based at Port Huon, the cou­ple even wrote a book, Babes In The Wa­ter, while liv­ing on the

Wan­derer based on their ex­pe­ri­ences of liv­ing on the wa­ter in Europe.

In fact, she seems to be a in­spir­ing place for those with lit­er­ary as­pi­ra­tions.

Mel­bourne- based co­me­dian, writer and friend of the Kaleshes Rachel Berger pe­ri­od­i­cally lives on­board, as she writes her next book.

Life on the wa­ter for the most part isn’t all that dif­fer­ent from liv­ing in a nor­mal house, Stephanie said.

“You do have to be mind­ful of the fact that it isn’t a house where you can throw a switch and the city pro­vides ev­ery­thing,” she said.

“You have to change gas bot­tles, you do have to hook in your elec­tric­ity and if you’re not cruis­ing reg­u­larly you have to oc­ca­sion­ally turn over the en­gine.

“But it isn’t re­ally that dif­fer­ent ex­cept you have the ab­so­lute delight of be­ing lit­er­ally on the wa­ter, which is re­ally good for you, good for the soul, good for your well­be­ing, good for your health.”

The Wan­derer is cur­rently docked at Prince of Wales Bay and is for sale through Boat Sales Tas­ma­nia.

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