The life cycle of an octopus
When Dan was 7 he drew a picture of a boat with a submarine attached. He had a determined fascination with the sea and would sneak out as teenager to go fishing.
In the late 1980s his uncle bought Lifeboat 8 from the cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov, which sank in the Marlborough Sounds in 1986. Dan became a live- aboard at Mana Marina.
When Niharika was growing up in India, she used to love going out on glass- bottomed boats looking at coral. By 7 she knew all about the life cycle of an octopus.
For a short time her interest in astronomy took over (and her other career option, being a queen, subsided), but somehow she knew that one day she would explore the ocean floor.
She is now finishing her masters degree in submarine volcanoes.
A fisheries officer, she spends up to six weeks at sea at a time, measuring fish, counting birds and fathoming the underworld. She’s also married to Dan and lives aboard Lifeboat 8.
Further along the marina are Kate and her two children.
Kate works as a project manager and last month she and her children traded a house for a boat.
She wanted to give her children a different view of life, as well as push the boundaries for herself.
It took a bit of convincing for her kids to agree to move on to the boat.
Luckily her daughter thought it would be cool to play Titanic.
But it was the start of winter and on the second night the boat blew a fuse and was without shore power. Then the water pump blew. Kate wondered what the hell she’d done.
But the sense of euphoria in waking up in a cosy boat in a marina regardless of the weather confirms she’s made the right decision.
Kate says it’s like living in a lullaby with the boat gently moving, looking up at the stars.
People live aboard their boats at Mana Marina for many different reasons.
My partner, Dean, and I went in search of our dream boat, found it, then realised we couldn’t afford it.
That same afternoon we walked down to Raumati Beach and bumped into a friend we hadn’t seen for a few months.
We asked how his wife was; she had died suddenly a couple of weeks before.
There was a really terrible silence – what do you say? It shook us. We said something insufficient then walked down to the beach.
We asked ourselves, ‘‘What are we waiting for?’’. All the reasons for waiting to do something extraordinary weren’t good enough.
So we pulled every last cent out of the universe and made an offer.
I usually hate inspiration quotes, but I like this one by Bill Cosby: ‘‘Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.’’
Or Niharika from Lifeboat 8’ s favourite one (thanks to her other love, Bon Jovi): ‘‘Keep the faith.’’
Water heaven: Dan and Niharika shared a similar childhood dream.