Dave Jacka

Day 37 – Stuck in Kingston SE, SA

Can you believe this! We’ve been saying for days now that we have “one flying day to go”.  After being fogged in at Aldinga yesterday, I really thought today was going to be it.

Well, we got a little over an hour further south east & we still have “one flying day to go”. This is so extremely frustrating!

The rest of the team members have people who’ve traveled great distances waiting to welcome them in Melbourne. I always knew that these southern legs would be difficult with the changeable weather but you never really comprehend how difficult, until you experience it.

Fog over the ranges with cloud above.

We left Aldinga a little after 8 am. I was hoping to track down to Cape Jervis, the most southern point of the Adelaide area, but this was thick with fog again. The only way we could get out was to track directly over the ranges toward Goolwa.

Once I got up in the air & could see the cloud around 1000 feet above the mountain range, I felt a sense of relief come over me as I knew we were out & on our way home again.

Heading over the hills.

As I traveled along the coast at 2,500 feet, I passed the Murray River mouth, & could see the coastline far into the distance. As I continued to track along Younghusband Peninsula toward Salt Creek, the cloud base got a little lower which made me descend to 1,500 feet.

Now & then, I encountered some low wispy cloud & as we passed Salt Creek, it got more frequent – this was not a good sign.

Flying over the mouth of the Murray River.

Paul & Josh in the Piper Archer were in front of me & as I approached Kingston SE, all I could see was a large fog bank just beyond the town. I radioed Paul for what his position was & he said, about 2 miles south of Kingston SE & he was turning around as cloud was down to the ground.

I knew there was going to be no way through it, so I headed to the north west to see if it was possible to get around it.

After a couple of miles, I realised, there was no possible way through & as I turned to my left, I noticed Kingston SE airfield. It was a nice bitumen strip, so what better place to land & wait for the fog to pass.

Paul did the same in the Piper Archer & I radioed the Piper Lance who were about 20 miles ahead & they turned back to join us at Kingston SE.

For the next 1.5 hours, I sat in my aircraft, sipping on my pre-mixed cappucino as we waited to see if a passage through the cloud/fog would open up. As I sat there, I was shivering, so Bob grabbed me a beanie & a sleeping bag to rug me up & keep me warm.

Rugged up & keeping warm.

The weather appeared to look a little better so we all saddled up & the Piper Archer & I, took off first to head home. As I took off to the north, climbing to 1,500 feet, I turned to track south. But, all I could see in the distance was banks of low cloud reaching the ground. I headed north a little to see if there was any passage through, but it was futile.

The last thing I wanted to do was fly around these cloud banks & then find I had no where to go & then having to turn around to re-trace my path. This could leave me closed in with no way out. Not a good place to be.

By this time, Paul in the Piper Archer, was up in the air & he confirmed to the Piper Lance on the ground that it was a no-go. Grounded again. We parked the planes & I got out.

We were very lucky that Brian Harris, a local flyer from the Kingston Flying Club, happened to be there. He opened up the club house & we got heaters going to try to warm me up. I enjoyed chatting to him as he told me the story of his big adventure, flying solo in a Drifter Aircraft up through Central Australia, in the late 80’s, when ultralights were just new on the scene.

For the next 3 hours, we sat around, waiting to see if the weather would improve.

Thanks to Susan Brice for coming down to the airfield & meeting us when she heard we were there. She took Bob & Josh to the shops to get us some takeaway & we had great fish & chips for lunch – perfect when you are feeling cold! She also provided her sandwich toaster so we could toast our sandwiches. Thanks Susan!

By 2pm, things weren’t improving. We had 3 options left for today as it was far too late to get home: fly to Mt Gambier, fly to Naracoorte, or stay for the night at Kingston SE.

Michael took my jab up for a quick inspection & said there were showers down along the coast to the south toward Mt Gambier, but to the north west, in the direction of Naracoorte, it looked okay. However, with Naracoorte, being prone to fog, we didn’t want to risk getting stuck there tomorrow. Also, the aim of this flight is to go coastal as much as possible, so this option wasn’t the ideal.

Michael checked with the forecaster for the area & they said tomorrow is likely to be better with only a 5% chance of fog. That decided it for us. Tonight we would stay in Kingston SE & head off early again tomorrow morning for our “one flying day to go”, hopefully.

Stay tuned…

Off to the pub for a quick meal & early to bed.

Over & out,

Dave.

12 thoughts on “Day 37 – Stuck in Kingston SE, SA”

  1. You guys are having the longest one day to go ever!!!! hope tomorrow sees you at home in your own bed. Its been a pleasure to follow your trip and to meet you all way back in whitsundays.hope to see the film and read the book when you are ready.and see you next time round!!!????. julie and ian and the Cab Sav.

  2. Are we there yet? No, just one more day!
    Your luck HAS to change soon. We are all with you, Dave and Co.

  3. Dave & Team,
    Very close now! Frustrating but exciting. Are you doing one or two flights tomorrow? Do you have an ETA yet?

  4. Well, enjoy the rest and use the time to reflect and practice equanimity! Nature has it’s way.
    It will have to clear some day soon! At least you are a bit closer.

    I am looking forward to seeing you when you are back – i’m not going anywhere.

    Cheers ej

  5. Dig deep guys. The weather is giving you a huge test. It must be so tempting to push on but keep making wise decisions. Maybe today will be the big homecoming.. Better luck.

  6. Hi Dave
    Congratulations what a wonderful achievement for you and your team.
    Celebrate. Enjoy being home.
    Cheers
    Mary

  7. Dave and OWC Team- Welcome home at last. Congratulations on completing your journey successfully. Pamela and Barry and Port Lincoln supporters.

  8. Heartfelt congratulations to you Dave on the accomplishment of your long held dream of circumnavigating Australia. What an epic adventure with your fantastic team of likeminded flyers, who worked side by side to make this a dream fulfilled. Special congrats to Linda on a huge achievement, in managing multitudes of aspects of this journey so capably. You are a dynamic duo. .I just can’t wait to hear what the next project will be.

    Words fail me in regard to all the people met along the way, ever ready to lend a hand. What a great country we live in. Looking forward to catching up with you and sorry I couldn’t get to meet you at Tooradin today, the weather gods still have a bit to answer for.

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