Last Days with Villa Veritas

The last part of our journey with Villa involved a lot of waiting. We had accepted an offer, but these things are almost always conditional on survey, and that meant we had to get one scheduled, which took forever. As that process dragged on, we found ourselves making all kinds of conditional travel plans; we could only leave once the sale went through, but we would have to leave pretty much immediately once the money transferred. So this was a stressful time, and we often found ourselves just needing to get out of the house and go somewhere. In this case, it was to the aftermath of a sand sculpting competition, which managed to capture a bit of how we were feeling.

The biggest logistical nightmare turned out to be getting the cat exported. There were several vet visits and a ton of paperwork, itself ridiculous because the rules are nominally about protecting New Zealand’s fauna, but still apply to animals that are leaving? The destination government’s rules should be what matters (and the USA has a very low bar), but nope, you have to jump through the NZ hoops. But the thing that really infuriated us was that New Zealand does not allow you to fly with pets as luggage, full stop, so we had to contract with a shipping agent. We would need to arrange for him to be shipped, and then make sure we bought tickets on the same flight so that we could pick him up on the other end. In one of many, many ridiculous steps, here we are taking his measurements to fit him to a cage.

One bright spot in all the waiting was that we got to take several more visits to our new favorite restaurant-slash-brewery. Here’s Andrew with his favorite NZ ale, Deep Creek’s Misty Miyagi, and Jazz with a bowl full of sliced red chilies that probably brought her an equivalent amount of joy.

In keeping with the waiting theme, we woke up early to get in line for the Burning Man main sale, and were unsuccessful in our bid for tickets. We were sad, Captain was nappy.

We got a new neighbor, and managed to keep Captain from jumping on what he was convinced was the objectively best nearby boat for exploring. We continued to pack the boat into boxes, which would eventually be shipped back to the states.

And we had several chances to see our friends from Waterhorse, who were settling back into their lives as land-lubbers a little ahead of us. Having grown up with sheep, they had declined our offer to come along to sheep world, but did agree to come wine tasting. Ironically, this picture is the only one we took, at the only vineyard where we didn’t manage to get wine; they were slammed with a big group coming in and didn’t seem inclined to take our order, but they did have a nice barrel backdrop.

The survey came, and went fine (as expected). So then we had to import the boat before the sale finalized, which meant more time waiting and working through logistics on laptops, with strong assistance from the ever-vigilant Captain. At least we were making progress and could book flights!

We had another nice visit when Wes and Susan, of SV SauceSea, came through town. They had been traveling NZ by van for several months while we worked towards a sale, and were finally making their way back up towards Auckland to fly back to their boat in Fiji. (Which they were also selling.) The first picture is actually from another trip down to Auckland, where we went to show the car to a prospective buyer, a new driver whose parents were clearly trying their best to get him to do the leg work. They agreed to take it, conditional on an inspection, and even agreed to do the handover at the airport on our way out of town. A very nice break for us, and honestly a great starter car for him.

On the appointed day, our movers arrived to pick up the boxes from our storage unit. The guy running the truck was a typically huge Maori guy, and picked up our heavy boxes seemingly without effort – so quickly, in fact, that it was only after the truck departed that we realized there was a bag in the trunk of the car that we had meant to pack. Ah well. We got back to the boat, temporarily lighter in possessions and spirits, and found a huge jellyfish bloom around the dock.

Another trip down the coast (nominally a visit to MPI to get Captain certified for exit) brought us back to Chae and Annelise, this time at their very pleasant rental house. We got to meet their giant Maine Coon cats, which accidentally resulted in this pair of adorable proud fathers’ pictures; simply too good not to share. Also, that is a lot of cat.

Captain, meanwhile, was absolutely fascinated by their cockatiel. Guys! There’s a bird! Inside! The bird was pretty nonplussed, but at least his cage stayed upright.

We wanted to commemorate our time on Villa, and Jazz spent a lot of time thinking about how best to do that. A plaque with all our names; somewhere visible, but not so annoyingly so that a future owner would bother to remove it; secured with 5200, because everything on a boat is removable, but some things are more removable than others. Materials that will hopefully last as long as the hull.

We never knew your name
as the language we spoke together
was more in movement than words,
so we shared our name with you
and called you home.
You were a pleasure to ravel with
a dream realized and now shared.
Fair Winds and following seas.
All our love.
Andrew and Jazz Veritas & Captain Cat
SV Villa Veritas June 2018 – April 2023

We woke up on our last day on Villa, and made ourselves a last breakfast. We handed off the keys to the new owners, and took a last photo with our girl. (Compare to the first photo, nearly five years earlier!)

Our hand-off was a little earlier than we needed for our flight, so we stopped for one last beer at the beer spot. We drove Captain down to the freight company, and gave him a last meal, and a last chance at the potty.

He would spend the next eighteen hours in this cage, despite it being only a twelve hour flight, because that was literally the minimum we could make it take. (Seriously, fuck everything about the New Zealand government’s treatment of pets. Don’t go to New Zealand, but if you have to go, definitely don’t bring an animal.) So here’s Captain’s flight arrangement, and here’s ours: the last photo we would take while technically on New Zealand soil.


  1. I love the plaque. What a great send-off. Thanks for sharing your adventures over the years! It’s been exciting following along since that chance meeting at Google so many years ago!

  2. What an adventure, challenges all the way to the end! Glad for ourselves you’re headed back in this direction, of the many places you’ve been NZ is not on my list. Hope to see you both in the future, either in the Idaho house or perhaps in San Diego if your feet still itch. Hugs, Jon and Pat.

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