So we have a box, now need to pack out the boat. I decided that the most secure way would be to pack it like an egg-in-an-egg-box.
Conscious of the strict import rules in Australia, I opted for polystyrene and scoured my garage to find all the bits of buoyancy I’d kept “just-in-case”. I use a profile tool to mark the canoe shape holes to support the boat along its length. I also supported the weight with blocks of foam insulation.
I then used all the spare bits and positioned them just proud of the top so that the lid would clamp the whole thing together when I screwed down the top.
So far, so good but now came the big challenge of how I was going to transport it to the shipping depot in Basildon. The shipping company offered to collect it for £175, but cost were already high so I decided take transport it myself.
The crate weighed in at 87 kgs, ten times the weight of the boat! I was convinced that with half a dozen blokes, we could put it on the roof rack of my estate car. OK it was on the limit in terms of weight and size, on the border of road legal but it should be fine.
My wife decided that it wasn’t fine and proceeded to describe all the potential things that could go wrong (she has a very vivid imagination!). The alternative was our camping van which has four roof rails and it somewhat longer. However it is 2.5 metres high, how the hell was I going to get it up there?
A call round the neighbours and a text to my cycling mates meant that seven blokes turned up to help. I lashed two ladders together as a ramp, and reduced the gradient by putting the base of the ladders on a patio table. I used a long rope to act as a brake and another to stop the crate crashing down when it reached the pivot point.
With a lot of huffing and puffing we inched the crate up the ladder ramp on to the top of the van. I dismissed the troops and lashed it down. There was much talk of beer owed!
The next day I drove very gingerly to the shipping company depot in Basildon where the crate was unloaded by forklift in about 30 seconds.
It’s now out of my hands, as the shipping company are now responsible for getting it to Brisbane. If anyone is interested, the cost of shipping is £491.80.
Bon voyage to The Darkness.