So finally, after all this planning, we made it to Auckland airport, and got on a flight to Singapore. Not without difficulty! Air New Zealand was in great form and decided to make our check in as hard as possible - from not having seen anyone do such a trip before, to refusing entry into France for Mike (not for Yvoine...), to getting our brand new empty fuel bottle sniffed by a bout 10 staff to decide whether it was a threat to airline security... I spare you the details, but it took us close to a couple of hours to check-in, while Anne, Graham, Rose and Ray waited for us to have one last cup of coffee before we went.
Instead of a cup of coffee, they got a 2-minute hug and wave, and we made it to the plane, just. Entry into Singapore took less than 30 seconds!