Rare life at Mana Ma­rina

To­day we in­tro­duce Boat People, Janie Walker’s col­umn about Mana Ma­rina and the people who live there.

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

The tips of masts that you see in the en­trance to Porirua Har­bour be­long to a vil­lage of boat people – some salty old dogs, some ‘‘rich’’ folk who visit only at Christ­mas, but also or­di­nary people who call Mana Ma­rina home.

My part­ner, Dean, and I have lived on our 46-foot sail­ing boat at the ma­rina for a year.

We ex­changed in­ter­nal garage ac­cess in a house for a mad dash along the pier in a southerly. The down­siz­ing was ag­o­nis­ing ( 25 pairs of shoes down to eight!).

We’re not rich – it was cheaper than buy­ing a house – and I don’t drink rum.

There are 305 boats at Mana Ma­rina. The live-aboard limit is 20. We’re a mixed bunch: a nurse, some re­tirees, a ben­e­fi­ciary, news­pa­per man­ager, stone ma­son, fish­eries of­fi­cer, wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher and writer (that’s me), and sail­ing in­struc­tor and boat handy­man (that’s Dean), to name a few.

We’ve opted for a dif­fer­ent life for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.

Monthly ex­penses are cheaper than liv­ing in a house.

It costs $540 a month for a 14- me­tre berth, plus $ 230 a month live-aboard fee (for two, in­clud­ing elec­tric­ity). That’s it – no rates, no other ameni­ties costs.

The live- aboard fee in­cludes show­ers, a laun­dry block ($4 for a wash and dry) and a li­brary.

There’s a downside: last week we ran out of gas, mid-scram­bled eggs (no cup of tea!) and the toi­let block was out of or­der.

Some­times that’s fun and a bit like camp­ing, but I was sleep- de­prived from a windy night and in no mood for cute­ness.

Dean sleeps through any­thing less a hur­ri­cane – I still wake up clutch­ing the du­vet in fear.

In the re­cent storm, I self­e­vac­u­ated to a nearby mo­tel. Dean called it aban­don­ing ship.

The com­mu­nity here is gen­tly con­nected. We’re not in each other’s faces, but are here for each other in times of need.

Dur­ing the storm Dean and oth­ers went around the ma­rina tight­en­ing ropes and sails ( spread­ing gos­sip about who hadn’t tied their lines right).

We’ve shared some­one else’s catch of gurnard or tarak­ihi more than once.

News can spread like a gale­force southerly, not be­cause we’re nosy, but be­cause at sea you al­ways watch out for your crew.

It doesn’t work out for some, though. Last week a guy from D pier took a trip and had to be res­cued off Cape Pal­liser. He lost ev­ery­thing – pho­tos, documents, clothes – all his ma­te­rial life.

The boat was found a few days later, upside down with a cray pot caught around the pro­pel­ler. He’s lost his home and his un­com­mon life and has de­cided to head for the hills.

We have Mana Is­land and the ex­tra­or­di­nary beauty of the Marl­bor­ough Sounds as our back­yard.

Home, for now, is Mana Ma­rina, but it could be any­where in the world with­out hav­ing to pack a bag.

I’m still pinch­ing my­self, but more about that later.

Heave ho: A rare group of people live at Mana Ma­rina, Janie Walker’s wa­tery home.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.