Updated: May 22
I had my trusty, battered Berlingo van for over 10 years and she was so reliable that I was loathe to get rid of her. She had just passed an MOT and was still going strong when I finally made the leap to buy myself a new dive wagon.
I had visions of buying a Dispatch van, keen to stay with Citreon, but the long wheel base model was hard to come by and I only had a limited time on-shore to choose a new vehicle.
A very persuasive car salesman at Citreon talked me into buying the 2018 Spacetourer.
I hadn't even heard of it.
It had the same wheelbase of the Dispatch, but was definitely a car rather than a van. It had a plush interior and all the mod cons; Apple car play, air conditioning and was a beautiful drive. Out of sheer impatience, I bought Agnetha. She looks Swedish, even though she's not, and my favourite singer's name suited her.
The downside is that she came with NINE seats!!
I fixed that right away by taking the rear 6 seats out and putting them into storage.
The main purpose of getting a car this size was to be able to 'get my head down' for a night or two.
My vehicle is normally rammed full of scuba diving gear, caving kit and sometimes items for events such as gazebos, tables, merchandise etc for our charity Ghost Fishing UK.
The car needed to be multi purpose. I need to be able to sleep in it overnight on diving trips and at events, without the hassle of having to put up a tent or the expense of a hotel.
It removes the aggro of having to plan, book then often cancel things like Air BNB. My life changes at such short notice I was throwing away a lot of money on bookings with no refunds. Enough was enough. I would take my home with me.
The next job was to get some rubber matting down. I chose this as it is easy to wash all the caving mud and sand out and it protects the van from damage to the floor.
I cut a few small gaps for the anchor points at the corners. The mat didn't fit quite perfectly, so I used two sheets and taped them together with black duct tape. Some careful stanley knife work later and the floor
I curved it up slightly at the edges to stop any wash down water going underneath.
I wanted to take the grab handles out and replace them with some bolts, so that I could put up some hanging rails in the back.
This can be used for all sorts of things; hanging up drysuits, clothes, affixing lighting etc.
It didn't quite work out as, on removal of the grab handles (which wasn't easy at all) I was left with 8 square holes!
I improvised by putting in some pinch clips and attaching some curtain wire to them which seems to be doing the job.
I strung up some battery powered fairy lights and bought some cheap karabiners which come in handy for smaller, loose items. The interior makes it tricky to place additions as it's not a 'blank canvas' like a panelled van, so it needed a bit more thought.
Temporary battery powered push-on lights are handy too. They don't stick to the interior lining and fell off in the middle of the night scaring the living hell out of me! So mount them on the shelving, they work just fine.
With lights up (albeit no leisure battery yet) and floor down, it was time to start putting in some home comforts.
Check out my next blog as I continue to transform Agnetha.
Not too much, but enough to have the diving/camping/do-everything car that I dreamed of.
About the author:
Christine Grosart is an offshore Paramedic. In her free time, she is a cave diver, caving instructor and trustee for the charity Ghost Fishing UK.
She is one of the world's leading cave diving explorers and writes blogs and articles about her adventures, inspiring other women to take on the next challenge.