Posted by: adventuressetravels | January 22, 2013

Meet Mareva

I climbed down the stairs into the gloomy interior of the boat.  I felt like I had traveled back in time.  This was vastly different from the light-airy cats I was accustomed to sailing.  Mareva had a lived-in feel about her, not surprising for a boat old enough for my father to have sailed.

The layout was simple:  there were two berths, and three bunks.  The captain’s quarters were in the stern.   The toilet and a make-shift bathtub/shower type contraption he had Gerry-rigged just outside of it.

Huddling under a mound of blankets in Mareva's saloon trying to stay warm in Australia's frigid winter

Huddling under a mound of blankets in Mareva’s saloon trying to stay warm in Australia’s frigid winter

The shower was interesting to say the least and the captain was extremely proud of his ingenuity.  To take a shower one sat in a large square basin which could be filled with water and turn the shower tap on.  One could make a hot shower by boiling water and pouring it into the holding tank for the shower water or have a warm sponge-bath by boiling water in a pot and adding cold water to the holding tank.  He assured me that in Papua New Guinea water in the holding tank heated up enough that there was no need to boil anything.  I was skeptical.

I have no problem roughing it in most cases, but hot showers are one thing I require.  Especially in cold weather, and winter in Australia was by no means as warm as I had hoped.  The chill air seemed positively frigid to me after spending months in the steamy climbs of Southeast Asia.

My berth was towards the bow.  I took the bunk on the port side and threw my backpack on the berth on the starboard.  As used to sailing on catamarans as I was, I was startled that there wasn’t any closet space and that all of the drawers were stuffed to overflowing, but to go sailing I could make due.  This was a great opportunity to sail on a monohull.

Like any captain, Nemo waxed poetic about the enormous amount of space and virtues of Mareva.  I was starting to realize how much sailing on cats had spoiled me.

Unaccustomed to such cramped quarters, I was a bit uncomfortable that there was too many things stored in my berth to close the doors.  However, numerous girls had sailed with Nemo before and I had spoken with several of them, so I was not overly concerned and simply hung a sarong curtain over my door for privacy.

Giving me the brief tour of Mareva, the Captain gushed, going on about the ship and the upcoming voyage.  He was clearly looking forward to getting underway.  He had been doing this trip for the past 12-years but this year he was getting a late start.  One American girl had flown out to go on the trip with him and though she had been a lovely girl and they were still friends, it just wasn’t the right fit.

To sail with someone for months at a time it really does have to be the right fit.  That is why Nemo did a trial run up the coast of Australia to make sure he and his crew got on well enough to sail for months in the wilds of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.  I completely understood and agreed with this trial-run policy and Nemo seemed like an incredibly laid-back good-hearted person.

“This will be the adventure of a lifetime,” he told me, eyes shining.  “One girl who went with me told me she hated me when we got back to Australia.  When I asked her why she told me that nothing she would ever do could top this.”

I couldn’t wait: sailing, snorkeling, and exploring the remotest regions of the world would be incredible.  Now all that was left to do was prepare and provision.


  1. Oh Sally………. the next chapter……………..I do hope, SOON!

  2. Winter in Australia? I keep forgetting that there is one.

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