Monday 22nd January
This is my third attempt to write this blog, I have, yet again, been completely poleaxed with jet lag, my writing skills, such as they are, seem to have been wiped out along with my concentration and all my energy.
Our final week in the UK passed by in a blur of last minute organisation, shopping and goodbyes. We drove through everything from dank drizzle and crisp frosts to blinding blizzards. We ate at yet more lovely restaurants, met up with lots more friends and managed to squeeze in an extra get together with the kids.
But eventually it was time to leave and Wednesday afternoon we headed for Heathrow. We had a long journey ahead of us and could have done without what proved to be a rather stressful check-in. As always with this strange life we lead we didn’t tick the normal boxes, we had no return ticket, the airline couldn’t let us fly without a valid visa. We had been warned by customs when we first checked into New Zealand, at the dock in Opua, that we may have this issue when we tried to re-enter the country, so had come armed with our ‘temporary import of vessel’ form to prove we would be departing by boat. By the confused expressions this was obviously not something the Cathay Pacific staff had come across before but they were very efficient and after discussions with the check-in manager, a telephone conversation with NZ Customs officials and much tapping on the keyboard, the computer finally gave us the all clear. We tried not to look at the long queue of tutting travellers forming behind us, praying that our tightly packed luggage wouldn’t be overweight and hold everybody up even further, thankfully they were just a smidgen under our allowance and finally we received our boarding passes
The flight comprised of two 12hr legs, with a three hour stop over in Hong Kong and was surprisingly easy, despite having to battle through scrambled eggs and sunshine when our bodies thought it was the middle of the night, twice and being presented with champagne and a three course supper when our stomachs were expecting breakfast.
We arrived two days after we had started to a warm sunny Auckland and it was with relief we climbed back onboard Raya to find everything OK. The next morning with winter wollies rejected we drove into town to buy food and Sims for our phones. However our eagerness to return to our summer wardrobe was somewhat premature. Gulf Harbour was as windswept as ever and by Saturday evening the whole of New Zealand was being bashed by a low pressure system coming in from the Tasman Sea. Soon we had torrential rain and gale force winds. We lay in bed trying hard to persuade our body clocks it was time to sleep while outside the rain pounded on the hatches and the wind rocked Raya from side to side, whistled through the rigging, rattled the bimini and blew a slightly lose passerelle halyard continuously onto the back stay, resulting in a hollow metallic resonance to run loudly through the hull.
The wind continues to blow and the jetlag continues to plague us, we have given up fighting it and have indulged in an afternoon of books and movies. Summer is forecast to return tomorrow lets hope the fog in my head lifts with it.