Saturday, 24 January 2015

DAY 45 - Home Sweet Home (Aka The End)

Hi y’all and welcome to the final Blog for our holiday coming to you from home.

Our Aircraft
Shouldn't someone be out there checking on the fuel pump?
This day started at around 0020h at Terminal B, Gate 55 at LAX as we sat in rows 64 and 65 onboard flight QF108, a Boeing B747-400 (VH-OJM). We were supposed to be pushing out for our departure at 1150h, but were sitting on the ground for an extended period due to a faulty fuel pump being detected. The mechanics were dispatched and apparently got the problem sorted, allowing us to depart only a half-hour past our scheduled departure time.

Some more night shots as we waited for our flight

After an extremely long taxi to our take-off runway (a actually thought we were going to drive to Sydney), we lifted off crossing the west coast almost immediately and continuing south westwards, homeward-bound. I watched an Australian Movie called ‘The Little Death’ which was really quite funny, before getting some sleep. I was briefly woken by the noise of a late night supper being served, but I pressed on with my sleep, managing to get around six-seven hours of fairly light sleep.

Whilst I was sleeping, Schuyler tried his hand at night photography outside the aircraft's window achieving some great results.

Tracking south of Hawaii, midway across the Pacific Ocean
On the negative side, I placed my glasses on magazine carrier of the seat in front of me hooking the side arm over the seat pocket. Somehow I must have inadvertently knocked my glasses out and onto the aisle where they were probably stood on half-a dozen times and finished off by the Supper Service trolley. The frames were cracked and one of the hinges broken, so it would be a slightly blurry remainder of the flight (as my other glasses were in a bag in the cargo hold).

Kyle and I. Tired and glasses-less
Around two hours before our scheduled landing in Sydney, the Captain announced that the previously repaired fuel pump had become unserviceable early in the flight, meaning that they didn’t have access to all of the fuel tanks and accordingly, had less fuel. But they had pressed on hoping to make changes to the route and cruising altitude. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough fuel to reach Sydney and elected to divert to Brisbane for a quick refuel (or more correctly a splash and dash), before heading off on the one-hour flight to Sydney. This meant that we were more than two hours later than our scheduled arrival time.

About to land at Brisbane
About to land in Sydney
On arrival at Sydney, clearing customs and emigration was pretty straight forward, although the queue for passengers with goods to declare (some wooden items we purchased) was not only long, but completely disorganised. We then collected a Rental Car from Avis. We needed a Rental car as there was no way that both our luggage and children could all fit into the Captiva, besides it would make it easier for me to collect the Captiva which was in long-term parking at Victoria Army Barracks in Sydney.

So Kyle and I headed out in the Rental Car to Victoria Barracks to collect the Captiva, Kyle would drive my Captiva and I the Rental. We then headed back to the airport to collect the remainder of the luggage and family before heading off on the 260 km drive back home. Again, Kyle drove the Captiva with Maureen and Schuyler onboard and Josh and I in the Rental. We managed a short stop in the outskirts of Sydney for fuel and lunch, as well as an emergency bathroom stop about one hour into the drive.

We finally arrived home at around 1530 h and commenced the unpack of the cars before taking the Rental car to Canberra Airport.

Again a big thank you to Steve, Margo, Sal and Ted for your generous time, help and the sincere warmth that you showed us.

Thanks to Steve, ...
...Margo, ...
...Sal, ...
 ...and Ted
Also thanks so much to Pop for your help when we departed Australia.

I also appreciate the lovely comments received on this blog. It’s been fun (but very time-consuming) to write up and I hope you enjoyed it. My plan is to actually turn the blog into a photo-book (both text and pictures) as a keepsake of our holiday.

So, that’s it for our holiday, it goes without saying that we had an awesome time.