Fred Acke

Houseboater of the Week

Published online: Jul 10, 2012 Feature
Viewed 1913 time(s)

Fred Acke, local New Zealander is the most unique houseboater Houseboat Magazine has heard from. He and a young Fijian built his houseboat out of local materials from Fiji and New Zealand. The boat is made out of four tons of mahogany and three tons of thatch. He built the houseboat last year, and this was Fred's first houseboat ever. He finished the boat in June 2011 and it took only three months to build. He lives the houseboater's fantasy of houseboating in a beautiful, warm place like Fiji.

Fred has been at sea all his life and recently retired as a captain of the 300ft schooner `Athena', Fred said, "I wanted to live a more relaxed life away from demanding billionaires and houseboating is the best way I know how." Fiji has everything Fred needs; "it is the perfect group of islands in the world. The people are friendly and it is a cheap place to live. It's only a nine hour direct flight from LAX," he comments.

Fred built the aluminum hulls in New Zealand to fit exactly into a 40 foot container and then shipped the hulls, outboards, fridge, cooker, and solar panels to Fiji. The young Fijian Fred hired, helped do all the heavy work and Fred designed the house. He named the boat `Bongiwalu' because he liked the sound of the name. `Bongiwalu' is a local name for an eight night wind that blows in Fiji sometimes.


He keeps the boat at Musket Cove on Malolo Island which is directly off the west coast on the main island of Fiji. Fred and his girlfriend Vanessa Schiff are on the houseboat a total of five months of the year, including the southern winter, when there are no cyclones. They thoroughly enjoy kite surfing and wind surfing off the back deck. They also love gliding over the beautiful coral reefs and diving.

In the off season Fred lives in a small coastal village in the Coromandel Peninsular in New Zealand which is 1,100 miles away from Fiji. The 43' houseboat weighs nine tons, has two Yamaha engines, and sleeps four. All of the docks and house are made out of mahogany and the roof has a galvanized steel sheet roof covered in tar and 1,000 bails of `Songa' grass. Fred claims he will build anyone a houseboat just like his for $270,000.

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