It was a quiet Sunday morning and the weather was perfect. The neighborhood consisted of single-story homes with expansive lawns, but at the address given there was no boat in sight. I swallowed my panic as we walked towards the front door; when suddenly Santa Claus in a pastel polo shirt and deck shoes hopped up to introduce himself.
“Hello there! I'm Chester, and I’ll be showing you the boat.” He took no time in leading us around the side of the house towards our future.
“It’s just like the picture!” I felt light as a feather from the sense of relief.
“Better than the picture. Look at the size…it’s huge!! We can do this.”
At the time I was in awe and shock, so there aren't many photos from when we first moved onto the boat; therefore most photos will contain accumulated junk and later modification. Here's my cook's tour to help set the stage.
Above deck the hull was about 24" tall around the stern, and topped with 14" stainless steel stanchions supporting thin wooden railings. I was told that King Tut was one of the first boats built using a fiberglass hull (in production, at least); and because it was still relatively new the hull was built extra thick. I cannot now confirm or deny this claim, but at the time it was meant to reassure me, which it did. The cabin itself was wood.
|Samson Post and Pulpit|
All of the brightwork, the mahogany and stainless trim, was freshly varnished and polished. The place looked like a new penny. The only areas which hadn't been touched were the back deck and parquet floor inside. I liked the weathered-grey look outside; but the parquet would definitely take time to refinish.
The main drive station was next to the side door, opposite the fridge. The Captain's Chair was a small cushioned seat, no larger than a bar stool, hinged to the side of the tall cabinet opposite the wheel, and propped up with a wooden stick. A step-drawer led out the door.
"Do I have to?" But I would, sooner or later. Climbing up the ladder was easy, but once up top it was terrifying. It felt like being on the ledge of a second story window, with nothing to hold on to while swaying side to side.
"Oh my God! There's nothing to stop us from falling over!" A flimsy-looking railing surrounded the empty space, and to reach the second steering station you staggered for 10-12 feet before grabbing the mast, which held a couple of instruments, lights and antennas. A blue bimini cover offered some protection from the sun. I couldn't wait to get back down.
|With added panels|
"Think of the possibilities! I can build seats around the edge."
"As long as you put something around the edge!"
Fast as we could we carried boxes across the lawn and filled every space on the boat. We dropped off the U-haul at a dealer, grabbed some Chinese take-out and went back to the motel. So far, so good, except we brought too much crap.
Next up: Life is Short-Have Dessert First!
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To read from Chapter 1: A Rough Start