Dear Kirstie,

Apart from my lost luggage at the airport, I've had little sleep now for 3 days and both my e-mail and mobile messages cannot be retrieved. I am now confronted with the enormous task of comprehending a mountain of "operations manuals" and "electrical knitting" to unravel! They came with the newly purchased digital camera, tape recorder, video recorder and hired mobile! The finding and sorting of accessories for them, to fit the aircraft, is daunting.

At my age just trying to grasp mobile texting is going to take a day and a half, at least!

Then there is the state of "Liberty Girl."

She is not ready for the Tasman Sea because Stan, the engineer, is in a bad way. Post op complications to his leg means he is still in bed and/or commuting to Auckland for dressing changes and variations to his medication.

Also, the 60 year old 10 gallon scuttle tank is leaking again despite the rewelds in Sydney, after the London Sydney race, when I had to resort to a bar of soap to plug the crack in order to cross the Timor.

A new tank is on its way from the States.

I've gone to earth in Orewa, an East coast town some 20 miles north of Auckland, 5 miles from North Shore Aerodrome. I'm staying in an adaequate backpackers' hostel, the little room strewn with paperwork, maps and gadgets.

I anticipate much bureaucracy ahead just to overcome even getting out of an old colony. I need to use a duster's strip on the North Cape which, I am told, is government run and 90 mile Beach is classified as a highway, it being the other nearest take off possiblity for Norfolk Island.

Still, "No Pain, No Gain"

Love M