Shangri La getting ready for her survey
Shangri La getting ready for her survey

The journey begins . . . here.

It’s always the same. Hurry up and wait. An engineer came and went. And came and went again. All the floorboards were up. We couldn’t do much, so sat around waiting for the job to be done. New hose. New clips. New this. New that. Three hours of cleaning. Four hours of repairs. All seemed good.

We headed back to the outer pontoons to tie up. My other half – of course – went down below to check – and there was STILL oil leaking. We went back through the lock to the marina and tied up away from the ‘For Sale’ boats.

My husband went straight up to the office and managed to find a senior member of staff who came back to look at the boat. I wont lie, I had a go and said that we had paid for the same repair multiple times. This had deeply impacted our last year on the boat as we had to be available for repairs. But also, we couldn’t use the boat until the repairs had been done successfully.

Shangri La out the water
Shangri La out the water

Basically we had gone nowhere and mostly hung around waiting. Was a bit annoyed when he suggested the solution all along was to fit a new engine. Like its OK to keep saying the problem is minor, charging for work, not deliver on the work, and then turn the whole thing on us because our expectations were too high!

We had a bad evening. Both of us were utterly devastated. I accused my better half of willing a leak to happen. He was hurt. I was super duper angry that after countless new pipes and countless hours of supposed fixing – and a deep clean in preparation for the survey – we still had a problem.

And oil in the hull. Again. How many times can you fail at fixing something before it’s actually a farce? Our efforts to deliver a perfect boat had failed through no fault of our own. We drowned our sorrows in multiple glasses of Burgundy wine and passed out.

Shangri La going on the hard
Shangri La going on the hard

Next morning the potential buyers arrived 9.00am sharp. I got tearful seeing them. My better half had arranged with the lock-keeper for the lock to be ready. Which was a waste of time. A hotel barge came and promptly pushed in front of us. The potential buyers tried to explain they had booked and paid a crane for lift-out and we really needed to go through the lock. They were unmoved.

We arrived for lift-out an hour late. Then we waited yet another hour before the crane was ready to raise the boat out the water. Meanwhile we were chatting to the new owners and they seemed in love with Shangri La. This was not their first water craft – it was their fifth! But it reminded them of their very first boat. Clearly they had plans to do all sorts of upgrades and fixes. It was so reassuring that Shangri La would be looked after.

Finally the crane was ready for us. It was a mobile crane so it had to be set just the right distance to manouevre the weight of the boat. Straps were placed around the hull and they had to get them positioned correctly so the boat didn’t dip forward, backward, left or right. We watched her coming out of the water with the potential new owners, all of us snapping away on our phones. During the lift, the boat did tilt forward slightly. Once she was up on stilts, my other half scaled the ladder to check nothing had fallen. The surveyor was only coming after lunch so new buyers and us parted ways until he came.

The crane getting ready for lift out
The crane getting ready for lift out

Once he arrived, there was little point in me hanging around so I went and sat in the Club House and used Wi-Fi. While sitting there, I heard an almighty bang. You just know when something doesn’t sound right. I saw people running past the Club House, so I grabbed my bag and went to see what the fuss was. Turned out somone was working on a petrol boat and either he was smoking or working with something that sparked next to his tank which caused his boat to explode. There were bits of boat and fenders and debris everywhere. There was also smoke coming out of the boat which was growing into a cloud, getting bigger and darker. Bright orange flames appeared and in no time, there was a raging fire and a tower of thick black smoke.

Not sure what took the fire department so long to come as they are literally about 100 metres across the road from the marina. The police were there in about 10 minutes and staff from H2O started checking who was on their boats and getting them to leave. It didn’t take long for a couple of boats adjacent to set on fire. Finally the pompiers arrived – my guess – 25 minutes later. It was like something you see in the news or in the movies. The bloke who started it was in a bad way. It eventually subsided and the drama was over. I went back to chatting to locals.

And then I saw my better half and the buyers walking back to the marina looking pleased with themselves. The surveyor had done his thing and his verbal feedback indicated there weren’t many problems. A very minor dent – about 1 cm diametre – to fill. Two x stop cocks for sink outlets. And he suggested the un-used gas vent pipe could either be stopped or covered with a plate. That was it!

He said the hull was in good condition and the boat was in good shape given her age. All good. The sellers left saying they would go to the agent and set up a time to sign the final papers the following day. And that the agent would confirm the time with my husband. We were so happy. Life was good.

The agent duly phoned and his actual words were – “The buyers had changed their minds. There were some issues to be dealt with. And the buyers would only be signing the following week.” So actually it wasn’t good after all.

We couldn’t believe the new buyers who appeared such nice people and keen to buy – at a good price – had done a complete turnabout. My better half immediately went over to discuss this with H2O. The list of things to be repaired included the leak which H2O had repeatedly told us wasn’t a big issue.

None of the other repairs were actually necessary or even serious. Certainly no previous survey had ever required them. They had not caused us or the previous owners any problems in the last 20 years. But this put a halt on the purchase which now couldn’t go ahead until they had been adressed. We were gutted and drowned our sorrows once more in Burgundy wine.

The journey continues  . . . . . . in this last post.

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