At this stage I may need to recap events that may not have been published on this site. Way back, after making the initial booking for the return of Loopy Kiwi to New Zealand on a fixed date and making travel arrangements accordingly, the sailing was cancelled, then re-instated within our period of stay. On arrival, we received an email saying the loading had been put back 11 days, some 6 days after we were scheduled to fly out of Savannah. Port charges for the boat would be $350 per day if we pulled out as scheduled, but we were offered as an alternative to leave the boat at a marina for $75/day and pay a professional skipper $200/hr to take it to the Port for liftout - conservatively estimated at $1700 in total. Considering the stress involved in having a total stranger take care of the arrangements plus the cost involved, we found it more effective to change our travel plans and stay an extra 9 days. After all, it was just a few days and shouldn't be that difficult!
Air New Zealand were easy and took 10 minutes - it just cost money for the transfer plus penalties. United Airlines - what a joke! 40 minutes on the phone and USD184 to change a USD326 airfare. But it was done and all was OK
Several days ago, Charlie pointed out that our travel insurance, which was part of our using airline supported credit cards, was only good for 35 days. This was fine for the original 33 day trip, but the rearrangements had us staying 42 days and the insurance would lapse. Having no insurance in the USA being somewhat unacceptable, surely, when we explained our circumstances to the insurance company they would just extend it for us, even if we had to pay a little more....
Ha, Ha freakin ha!
Nope - no extension. So what about the alternatives...our NZ health insurance provider? Nope! The airline? nope! The bank? nope! - all required insurance to be taken out prior to leaving NZ. After 3 days of effort, we finally managed to get coverage through a travel agent friend of Charlies in KeriKeri....but what a (stressful) rigmarole.
So....back to the story. Here we are at Hincklys. We spent the weekend taking a full inventory of all the loose gear aboard in anticipation of taking the boat to the Port early Friday morning for an immediate loading. Knowing that the hull needed to be fairly clean for NZ Agriculture, I queried with the forwarder and shipping company where a waterblast (pressure wash) of the hull would take place. On Tuesday afternoon I was informed that the Port would NOT allow this to be done on the loading wharf so we had to hastily arrange for the boat to be hauled and waterblasted at Hinckly's on Wednesday. This disrupted our last day for last minute purchases to be arranged, but we still had all day Thursday to prepare the boat for lifting on Friday morning.....
At 4.00pm on Wednesday afternoon, we got a call saying the Port was insisting the boat be there for lifting at 2.15pm on the Thursday. As it was a 2 hour trip to the port, that meant we had to leave Hincklys at noon. We were also informed that, despite making the booking 3 months ago, the cradle was not yet finished, but should be by the time we arrived. At this time the forwarder, shipping company and the port authorities were still asking for dimensions of the boat!!!
We started the day at 3.30am and got underway from Hinckly at 12.30pm still arranging stuff in the boat. Fortunately we had an incoming tide and arrived at the Port at the scheduled time, and were met by an army of men who proceeded to swarm aboard to lift the boat, which made any further preparations impossible. (I have not mentioned yet that we had not been issued with the correct documentation that allowed us to step off the boat onto the wharf - but that was duly arranged). The Port guys were great and very helpful - other than the one who said, in response to my asking the workers to ensure the sundeck doors were secure during the lift; "you should leave them open - it will help it sink faster when I drop it off the crane". She was picked up by one of the gargantuan container lift cranes and (when I was able to actually watch), looked tiny against it, particularly when she was suspended 300 feet in the air above the concrete wharf:
We had a few more issue today getting back there - like the train with 69 railcars that shunted across the entrance to the port for just under an hour, completely stopping all traffic from coming or going - but finally got to see her squared away and ready to be loaded
After that we "got out of Dodge" as I don't want to see anything more of her until she is sitting on the wharf in Tauranga in a little over a months time. We are up in a motel in Beaufort (pronounced Bewfort) South Carolina trying to chill out a little before returning to Savannah to start the journey home. My experience of 35 years in the importing business, and dealing with forwarders, shipping companies and their colleagues was invaluable during this process and without it I probably would have gone insane with frustration. However, I have learnt a lot about shipping boats from the USA to NZ, and could do it a lot easier a second time - but am glad I will never have to! If anyone ever needs a few hints - give me a call.