Gonzalo Garcia caught his newborn daughter with his "own hands" aboard the first Waiheke Island ferry of yesterday morning, rushing in the dawn light to paramedics on Auckland city shore.
The dramatic at-sea delivery occurred just after 7am Saturday morning, as Waiheke Island woman Marina Dinerstein gave birth to her third child, Uma, while on the ferry to Auckland.
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Relieved father Garcia has recounted to the Herald on Sunday how his pregnant partner Dinerstein started having contractions at 3.30am Saturday morning.
"We were in the middle of the night and Marina kept getting contractions. We eventually called the midwife, who lived at the bottom end of the Island, so she got here around 6am," the 37-year-old landscape gardener said.
However, the first ferry departing Waiheke Island to Auckland on Saturday morning is at 7am, and the couple had to wait at the ferry terminal for an hour.
Once abroad, Garcia says things escalated so quickly he didn't even have time to worry.
"Once aboard it happened so fast, contraction after contraction," Garcia said.
"Marina was ready to push so we went into the disabled bathroom on the ferry - they are a little bigger than a normal bathroom - and after a few pushes everything just happened.
"I got the baby, I caught her with my own hands. It was really awesome."
Once ashore in downtown Auckland, an ambulance took the couple to their planned birthing destination at Birthcare Auckland in Parnell.
Speaking yesterday evening, Garcia said both mum and 3.94kg baby Uma are both happy, healthy and recuperating.
After moving separately from Argentina in 2010, the pair met on Waiheke Island, and have now had three children while living on the Hauraki Gulf island, 20km east from Auckland city centre.
The birth of Dinerstein and Garcia's first boy, Salo, now 7 years old, was a home birth on the island.
Their second boy Tahiel, 2, was born at Auckland Hospital, and on that occasion the couple successfully made the 40-minute journey across the Hauraki Gulf in time for the birth.
"After our first home birth we said 'okay, we've been very lucky. We don't want to play with the roulette too much'," Garcia said.
"We've been living on the island for so many years so catching the ferry is something you have to do for every single thing that you want to do in town. That includes having a baby.
"If you don't want to have a home birth you have to catch the ferry. Hopefully it doesn't happen in the middle of the night. But it did happen this time, just."
Garcia said the past experiences of coordinating the birth of a child from an island without a hospital helped with his and Dinerstein's composure.
"I wasn't worried 100 per cent because it's our third child so we've been there," he said.
"We have taken the ferry before with Marina in labour. But I didn't really have any time to worry, it happened so fast.
"We just thought 'okay we have to get this done', and we got it done. We were really focused on it."
Garcia also praised the help of their two Waiheke Island midwives, Alisha and Linda, who accompanied them the whole journey.
"The midwives, they helped us a lot. We worked as a team, and I think that was the key. Marina the mum did an amazing job," Garcia said.
"I'm trying to help as much as I can, you know, I've got the baby in my hands.
"But everything turned out good for us. We're really lucky because in the middle of the water you never know what can happen."