I have spent my first night aboard Raya. She is not really ready, when I arrived with a car load of our belongings last Friday I had to thread my way past the two guys beavering away in the salon, all of theirs and Rick’s tools, a couple of ceiling panels and holes in the floor. The forward cabin has become a disorganised storeroom, we have no means of cooking and the heating is still not working, but we have decided we can cope and next Wednesday we move on permanently!
We spent the day Friday moving two thirds of the contents out of Ongley and into two storage units. The removals guys were so quick and efficient that it was quite a challenge to keep everything organised for its correct destination. We watched in wonder as all our possessions miraculously squashed up into such a small space and both felt a bit odd as our life flashed before our eyes as it was all carried across the lawn.
With everything successfully packed away we returned to Shamrock Quay exhausted – to a very chilly boat. But we have very comfortable new mattresses and silky new fitted sheets, we had bought down our thick winter duvets and a warm furry blanket. Dressed in thermal vests and pyjamas, bed socks and hats we snuggled, giggling like a pair of kids playing camp, under the covers and fell almost immediately sound asleep.
Unfortunately I’m not a great sleeper at the best of times and within a couple of hours I was awake and the strangeness of my new environment kept me that way for most of the night. Boats aren’t quiet places, each has its own symphony of sounds that you gradually get use to as they accompany you through the night. So instead of hooting owls and screeching foxes, I had the tide sloshing against the hull and in place of the sound of the wind rustling through the trees, it was blowing through the rigging and rattling, the not yet connected, Davit drops.
Far too cold to emerge from our warm bed, I lay contemplating my new life. It had struck me during the day that my life is suddenly only accessible by punching a code into a keypad. The storage facility lies behind huge security gates that are accessed, both in and out, by entering a code into a keypad, each individual storage unit can only be opened once you’ve punched in a code to a keypad. Raya lies on a pontoon behind the marina gates again only accessed by punching a code into a keypad, even the marina shower block has its own code and keypad.
There is one difference with Raya however, she might be behind a security fence on one side but on the other side is the River Itchen, the sea and then the rest of the world and that, of course, is the whole point.