The Seagulls Have Landed

Here we are at long last – home again. As all international journeys go, it has been a long haul to get here.

We departed Riverhaven at 9AM with nine pieces of weight-maxed check-in luggage, five cement-filled carry-on bags, a nine-month old and a two-year old. After negotiating fees for our excess-baggage charge, redistributing weight in our carry-ons and wiping up the urine left at the counter by a near-potty trained toddler, our four-hour lead time to departure was quickly gobbled up. We juggled babies and bags through the international terminal and made the departure gate just in time.

I expected the demands of a long overseas trip to raise some patience-draining moments however Ayla and Braca proved to be capable and tolerant travel mates. We were well into our gin-induced zen state when we realized that we were minus one electronics-laden carry-on luggage. Laptops, cameras, ipods were left somewhere between check-in and the boarding gate and we had a thirteen hour flight to sit and ponder our idiocy and the implications of this digital loss.

We landed in Kuala Lampur at 9PM local (1AM NZ) and dragged eight droopy eyes and one less bag to a hotel near the airport. Whilst the adult contingent was well aware of the collective need for sleep, infant and toddler weren’t briefed on jet lag or the importance of getting on local time as soon as possible. This is not where I mention that John thought he left an additional item on the KL side and dragged a very-awake infant back to the airport at 4AM to scourer the trolleys and carrousel for the missing piece.

Our daybreak action plan was to try and track down our lost bag as soon as possible. After setting the sniffer dogs in motion we indulged in our first moments of the tropics – we donned togs and spent the morning evading early heat in the oasis-style pool. By 10AM we were back at our hotel room, by 10:15 we had confirmation that our bag had been located and by 10:30 we were off again on a four-hour taxi journey to Lamut, our final destination and Atea’s home for the past ten months.

Our current room has a marina view that looks out on Atea’s mast. The reunion has been quite sweet and all looks refreshingly good onboard. The work done on Atea has given her a much-needed facelift, and for me her interior is in equal portions beautifully familiar and intimidatingly small. We will adjust to our reduced space as outdoor time exceeds indoor life.

Alas, the travel dramas we expected didn’t materialize and those we didn’t anticipate have cost us. The kids are adjusting beautifully other than haphazard sleep and we are preparing for a few busy weeks ahead as we prepare Atea for the next season. And somewhere in that time we will need to find space onboard our little capsule for 215kg of luggage broken down to 180kg of toys, 20kg of boat bits, 12kg of Kia’s kit and a meager 3kg for John.