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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010

D-day! Nic dropped us off at the airport at about 8am, for our 11:45am flight. We thought that would be plenty of time, but by the time we checked in, went through immigration and got through customs to claim back our GST we had about 20 minutes before boarding. Which is probably a good thing considering Stu hates flying, and a longer wait means longer to think about how those big metal machines get up in the air and (hopefully) stay there!
The flight was long, of course, but not as horrific and unpleasant as it could have been. We’d definitely fly international with Virgin again – decent legroom, great entertainment, better than average food and good service. I found a documentary on the South Pacific – perfect ‘research’, I thought! A few snippets of information I picked up:
- You could fit all the continents in the Pacific Ocean, with room for another Africa
- The Pacific Ocean is 16000kms wide, and less than 1% is land
- Hawaii is 3000kms from the nearest continent

Ok, not so reassuring. I turned it off once it started talking about storms....

W e managed a few hours of sleep, but as expected it wasn’t wonderful and we were greasy-haired and blurry-eyed when we finally landed in LA. Immigration in the US was surprisingly easy! Not that we had anything to hide, but you see the news and you watch movies, and you develop certain expectations. Plus we had epirbs and life harnesses with gas canisters, so we thought they might raise a few questions.
Hire car. Let’s just say that jet-lag + driving on the opposite side of the road = a few choice words and a bit of stress... that said, Stu did an awesome job (no real near misses!) and there’s no way I was getting behind the wheel!
We picked up a sail that Stu had organised to buy while we were still in Hobart. I hadn’t seen our boat yet, but Steve – who we picked the sail up from – had a newer 2 cabin version so that was my first encounter with a Catalina 42. Really nice (phew!!), as was Steve who was our first encounter with a ‘real American’, and who was super-friendly and a really nice guy. Funnily enough, he made a comment about originally wanting a 3-cabin (which is what ‘Pelon’ is) and Stu mentioned that he would have loved a 2-cabin. Obviously a direct swap would have been ideal!! Never mind the price difference and the fact that Steve’s boat is a few years newer...
On to Dana Point, and ‘THE’ boat. Stu had obviously seen the boat in October, but I had only seen pictures and was very excited about catching my first glimpse of our new home. It didn’t disappoint. Granted, after seeing Steve’s newer 2-cabin I was expecting something a little different, but I was pleasantly surprised with Pelon and could instantly picture us living aboard and being very comfortable.

King (Queen...) of the world!!
Before we could relax though, we had to shop. Ahhh, the hardship!! We HAD to shop!! We had no supplies for the boat – no bedding; no crockery/cutlery/utensils for the kitchen; limited toiletries because rather than packing them we figured we’d buy them over here – nothing. In an exhausted stupor (which was much like being a little drunk) we set the Navman for ‘Department Store’ and went from there. A helpful sales assistant in JC Penney’s directed us to discount stores (no doubt blocking her nose and trying to get us out of her shop, because I have no doubt we looked worse for wear and ponged like anyone would after a 14 hour flight!!).
Essentials bought, we went out for our first meal on our adventure – how could we go past the clam chowder?! Requests for scotch and dry to wash it down with were met with confused faces and lots of questions, after which we settled for what we were assured was the American equivalent – bourbon and 7-Up. Actually, surprisingly good!!
Fell in to bed, utterly exhausted after our 38 hour day.

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