Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Home again.

 Two big trips, and I'm very pleased to be back at home.

Its been a very busy time,  three boat shows, two small boat gatherings, a two week boatbuilding course, a two day workshop skills course, a one day one on epoxy and fiberglassing, eleven presentations at shows and gatherings, way way too much time in cars and aircraft, enormously way too much time in airport terminals ( if there is a hell on earth, they are a very close cousin) and even more enormously too much time away from home.

I had worried about how my recovering physical condition would cope, but with the help of good friends and lots of sleep along the way I got through it, but you can bet that I’m feeling more jetlagged than I’ve ever been before.

The trip home went as follows.
Travel from my friends place to the airport, 1 1/2 hours. 3 hours at San Antonio Airport, not a bad place as far as airport terminals go, then a 45 min flight to Dallas Fort Worth.  4 hours there, and if I was about 7 years old I’d have had a lot of fun riding the elevated railway that connects the various elements of the terminal.  It’s a good system with good views out the big windows. Its clean and prompt, well signposted and, at least when I was there not crowded.
Then, THEN! The monster airplane, the Airbus A380 double decked super jumbo.
16 ½ hours, the longest scheduled airline flight in the world, nonstop for 7 ½ thousand nautical miles from DFW to Sydney Australia.
That aircraft is a revelation, its still a big tubular prison in the sky, still a high tech sardine can packed with bored and uncomfortable people, but in fact there is a lot of room to move around, you can walk for quite a distance, the restrooms are plentiful, there is a little snack bar down aft with cookies, fresh fruit, water and cans of soft drink courtesy of the management, and space enough down there to do your stretches and excersize.
The seats seem a fraction wider, the  legroom a little better, and the seats lay back a little further.  They’re not as uncomfortable as most other airline seats, and there is a good choice of movies and entertainment on the little tv screen.
The meals are ok, the limitations of having to have meals pre prepared and reheated mean that you don’t get a la cart restaurant food, but its ok. Two full meals plus a snack bag for midnight munchies, the crew cruise the aisles at night quietly checking that everyones ok and will bring whatever you ask for, water or food. I saw the hosties sitting and chatting with people a couple of times and for me, travelling as “impaired hearing” ( I’m mostly ok apart from when there is a lot of background noise which makes Airport terminals difficult) Lois went and got me a pair of full earmuff headphones from first class so I could hear the soundtrack on the movies.  Thanks Lois, much appreciated.

By the way, I really enjoyed “ How to tame your dragon” one and two!  Real fun that did not require much concentration to follow.
There were 42 movies available, plus music plus a whole range of tv programs (without the ads)  games and such.

The big plane is smooth, turbulence does not affect it nearly as much as smaller aircraft, and its much quieter.  It’s a good experience as far as air travel goes.

I asked Lois if the cabin crew had a space of their own, and yes they do, a bunk and a little bit of privacy which is possibly one of the reasons that they were all of them cheerful and helpful throughout the flight. Quantas has a new CEO, and they have really upped their act.  Well done you guys.  Air New Zealand,  get with it!

Back in Sydney, that place is not one of my favourites, not as bad as LAX (which scores minus 10 on the “Pits” scale ) but very very noisy and uncomfortable.  Only an hour and a half there, but why, when having been screened to get onto the previous flight, and in an area where one has to be screened to get into, do we all have to go through another screening to get onto the flight back out of Sydney?  I think its an employment program for retired police officers or sommat.

3 hours 45 mins to New Zealand.  Half an hour to get out through immigration and customs, this time they did not lose my baggage.  An hour to get out to the motel where my little truck was stored, and then two hours to where my bed is.

I’d been travelling for almost 40 hours and travelled about a third the way around the globe plus from 30deg north to 35 deg south.  Tired does not describe it.

Its four days since I got in, and while I don’t usually suffer from jetlag, in the past I’ve not had the issues that I’ve had of late but I’ve been sleeping a lot, puttering around very gently and am just about back to normal.

I came home with a lot of work to get on with,  am still in catchup mode on the outstanding work,  and am in better shape than I have been in a while.


Right now, I’m in my bunk on the ship. Its raining, the river is interestingly bi coloured as the grey green  incoming tide pushes the silty runoff of the river back up ahead of it,  the rain sounds like a team of snare drums beating on the cabin top, that’s sort of peaceful.
Or it would be if my little dog was not running around growling, demanding to be let out to go and fight the thunder and lightning that’s been rumbling and flashing for the past hour or so.

Its very nice to be home.

John Welsford


  1. Welcome home...again! Time to stay awhile methinks.

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