Recently we took you behind the scenes of the Caraboat, an invention by Waiuku locals who transformed a caravan into a fishing boat.
This week we throw it back to the 80’s, to an Awhitu couple, who transformed their caravan into a floating “hotel”.
In 1983 Barry and Ann Lee attended the Sweetwaters Festival in Pukekawa. In order to have easy access to the festival and their accommodation, Barry decided to build two pontoons that he could place a caravan on and float in the Waikato River.
On her maiden voyage, the caravan was launched successfully at Rangiriri bridge. More than ten Awhitians were able to enjoy this ‘Lee-adventure’.
The pontoons were towed by a jet boat, then moored nearby the Festival. Some of the boys who stayed on the caravan built a raft from materials found nearby so they could ferry themselves across the river, to and from the festival.
It was a project that kept Barry busy for some time in the lead up to the festival. The creation required an extra-long trailer to transport the pontoons to the launch site. A trailer was borrowed, but it wasn’t long enough, so Barry cut the draw bar in half and extended it by four feet. He reversed this extension before returning the trailer.
The journey to the festival and home brought on many smiles from passing vehicles on SH1.
The trip to Sweetwaters Festival was the caravan’s only voyage. After the expedition, the pontoons were donated to local Scouts and the caravan dissembled with parts recycled to construct another “Adventure Vehicle” in the form of accommodation on the tray of a Mazda Ute.
Barry and Ann say it was “all fun”.