After hearing Ray’s dinghy had failed to inflate, during an inopportune ditching in the Pacific last week and the 2nd, dropped by the rescue aircraft, inflated upside down, that was it for me, “I was off to Grandma’s”.

Straight down to Mr Bean I went to purchase 6 x 25 litre and 6 x 100 litre bags to slide down into the fuselage. I had also become rather close to the old girl and, as Kirstie quite rightly said, when I had disappeared for the 2nd time in the London–Sydney Air Race, “Maurice and Liberty Girl are welded together at the hip”.

£70 of bubbles could not be sponsored by Head Office, apparently, despite the suggestion of both the Australian and New Zealand chain of stores’ Logo would then feature on web site and aircraft! So it was to be Plan B as I now had to resort to other tactics as cash was short and precious time was ticking by.

So I drove straight around the back of their store and went through the dustbins for discarded packaging and retrieved what I needed.

Then I was off to Auckland Yacht Marinas to try and buy another EPERB as I had just been told an amazing story by my hosts, Mat and Dee.

Mat and Rob had been ferrying back a Lockheed Electra over the Pacific, from the US recently, when they landed at some small island to refuel. Whilst unloading their EPERB, supplied to all the competitors in the Sydney race, including me, started to bleep its 406 mhz frequency that should be detected all over the world.

The Control Tower, not 300 yards away, heard nothing. Rob’s “gurt” rock, as we would say in Somerset, sorted the bleeping irritation, but not to its required effect.

The other piece of kit was a Survival Suit supplied to the Military, but despite them giving immersion survival time of up to 8 times, priced at $4000 meant I would have to start collecting a lot of pennies before the 900 miles crossing of the China Sea.

Perhaps the RNZAF have a surplus size XL lying around somewhere or do I go for a new one with the help of Qantas, Emirates or Air New Zealand?

Now Dee’s use of a WISH LIST, as used in her Aero Club, is an idea?