The trip home reeked of (in the words of Mr Obama) "Deja Vue all over again". The United Airlines flight left Savannah 30 minutes late, due to the late arrival of the plane, but the pilot picked up the pace and we arrived on time in Chicago, giving us the full 1hr 20 to make our connection to LA. Not that this was necessary, as it turned out, because the attendants at the gate for the next flight began making announcements of a delay about 1 hour before we were due to board and this continued to be updated for the next 3 hours. The plane was showing as completely full when we arrived at the gate but, over the course of the delay, it began to empty out as people were forced to make alternative arrangements for connections in LA and by the time we boarded, there were about 20 empty seats. So we finally got aboard and waited while the baggage (presumably taken off to retrieve the bags for the people who had made other arrangements) was reloaded. This took around 45 minutes, but those of us right at the back of the plane did notice that 2 cartloads of cargo seemed to take most of that loading time! All set to go, when a young lady 2 rows in front of us decided she didn't want to go to LA any more (not on this plane, anyway) and insisted on getting off - which meant they had to find her bag as well, which took another 20 minutes or so. Finally we got underway and the captain graciously apologised and allowed us to have FREE access to the entertainment system for the 4.5hr flight. Whoopie-do!! So we arrived at 6.00pm, only 3hrs later than planned which, I guess, is a whole lot better than the 1.30am arrival that United subjected us to last time we flew with them to LA.
We had a relaxed days shopping in LA the next day and Air New Zealand departed on time that night for a comfortable 13hr crossing of the Pacific. It wasn't till we touched down in Auckland at 5.30am that the Captain informed us that he had been told to expect severe turbulence during the crossing - so we were pleased to have not been subjected to that!
While the change to our circumstances has had a considerable impact on our future boating adventures, this has only effected where we intend to cruise, and not necessarily how. As we are both now retired, we have plenty of time to take Loopy Kiwi where, and for as long as, we wish - so the plan has continued with regards to downsizing to a "lock up and leave" apartment to allow us to vacation on Loopy Kiwi when and where she may happen to be at the time. Prior to my departure for the USA to move the boat, we had looked for a suitable habitat and found one to our liking at Orewa Beach, 30 minutes north of our current home. It is an apartment presently under construction in a community style development and is expected to be ready for occupancy in September. We gave the developer the go-ahead 2 days after I arrived in the US and signed up 2 days after my return to NZ. In the meantime Carolyn had returned from her vacation on Great Barrier Island and began preparing our house for sale. Anyone who has ever downsized after 20 years to a place less than half the size will, no doubt, understand the chaos that we now find ourselves in. The house itself looks great, as it must for the prospective buyers.... but the garage....ugh! Still, we have a bit of time before the apartment is ready so we will just keep nibbling away at the pile of "stuff".
I went and saw New Zealand Customs last week to begin proceedings for Loopy Kiwi's entry into NZ. First we saw the Agricultural folk who, unsurprisingly, will want to undertake an inspection when she arrives in Tauranga. Interestingly, the things they are most concerned with are the bikes, the Barbecue and the vacuum cleaner as well as any food stored aboard - I suppose they are the more likely things to be carrying unwanted greebies into the country and I think we cleaned them all fairly thoroughly before loading Loopy Kiwi on to the ship (it WAS kinda hectic at the time, though). She is scheduled to arrive on May 28th and will be inspected and cleared on the wharf before re-launch is allowed. The Customs guys looked over the inventory and originally were interested in all the loose items (Barbecues, guitars, bikes etc) and wanted receipts for everything we had purchased in the USA for duty and tax calculation. Then they figured out what the duty and GST was going to be for the boat itself, and decided that the stuff aboard paled into insignificance when compared to that, so have waived that requirement. As we had owned the boat since October 2011, they allowed 8% depreciation on the original purchase price before calculating the 5% duty. The 15% GST, however, is calculated on the "total landed cost" which is the depreciated value PLUS the duty PLUS the freight and insurance, so it comes to a tidy sum. However, having spent 35 years in the importing business, we always knew that this was going to be the case. While they did look into some concession on medical grounds after hearing our saga, they have told us that there was nothing further they can do, and we will have to pay the duty and Tax before the boat is allowed to leave the wharf.
Well that's about all for now. Sorry there are no pix or maps this time, but there was nothing really to show. I'll plonk some on the next post of Loopy Kiwi's arrival in New Zealand and, hopefully, our trip up the coast to Auckland.