Dave Jacka


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Day 24 – Kununurra to Derby

Today we had a second go at trying to get out of Kununurra. It has been disappointing that we’ve encountered this unseasonal weather as, apart from the delays, it has stopped me & the team from flying our original track from Kununurra to Kalumburu / Truscott & then to Derby.

This route would have been closer to the coast, which has always been my aim for the OWC Around Australia Flight.

Last night, a friend of mine, Dave Coulston gave us a glimmer of hope as he sent through a forecast from one of the Virgin weather men indicating that we should be able to at least get out today. Thanks Dave! Your message came through at exactly the moment we were all discussing what to do.

Paul & Michael checked the weather out at 6 am this morning. It showed possible rain & low cloud in the Kalumburu / Truscott area, along the coast to Derby & the mountain range showed low cloud making that route too risky – not enough distance between the cloud & the mountains.

Also, Derby, still had rain showers, but these were expected to clear during the day.

If we wanted to get out today, the only option was to fly around the weather from Kununurra to Hall’s Creek & then to Derby. This route gave us alternative airfields & fuel but was still of a similar distance to our original track.

All day I felt really disappointed. In a way, I feel as though I haven’t achieved what was planned for that leg of the flight as we’ve had to take an inland route instead of sticking to the coast.

However the decision to go inland was a no-brainer. If we had tried our luck to the north west, there is no where to land if the weather closes in. This region is one of the most remote areas of Australia. When it comes to flying, safety does have to come first.

But I still feel disappointed.

One of the advantages of going inland was that it gave us a chance to see some very spectacular scenery in the Kimberley area. Coastal flying can get a bit boring.

Great scenery.

After leaving Kununurra, we tracked direct to Hall’s Creek for our refueling & lunch stop. There was still a lot of cloud around that we had to duck under & over as we tracked south – between 2,500 to 3,500 feet.

But one of the most spectacular sites I’ve seen on this trip, was the view toward Lake Argyle with the mountain range, the cloud & the reflection of the morning sun on the lake.

View from my wing.

We stopped at Hall’s Creek – I don’t think too much happens there. The most activity we saw were the many scenic flight planes taking tourists to the Bungle Bungles. I’d like to come up here again some time with Linda (if she’s not too sick of flying) & be able to see them for myself & check out the area.

Arriving into Hall’s Creek.

I was really looking forward to getting to Derby after leaving Hall’s Creek. I was tired of the low cloud, & ordinary flying conditions. Also, I just wanted to get this leg done – another step closer to achieving my goal.

Earlier in the trip, the thought of delays didn’t bother me so much but now – as we’ve been going for over 3 weeks – I’m really looking forward to getting home & having the chance to relax. This trip has been exhausting, I’m always thinking about it. Apart from the physical demands, its mentally exhausting too.

Also, when we have a delay, the rearrangements make so much extra work on top of the regular load.

Happy to have arrived in Derby. It was so nice to be greeted by some locals at the airport. I also did a radio interview this morning on ABC Kimberley at 5.30 am & some tourists had heard it just this morning & I was surprised they knew who I was!

It was great to be met by Kim Maldon from the Department of Fire & Emergency Services who is based in Broome and covers Derby. Kim kindly transported us to the FESA headquarters in Derby where we had a chance to relax & he cooked us a great dinner!

Kim & the great dinner he prepared for us!

It’s a bit of a shame we don’t have more time here as I’d love to have the opportunity to see more of the area. I’m really keen to see the 6 m tides!

That’s it. Tomorrow we fly from Derby to Roebourne (Karratha) where I’ll stay with my sister & family for 2 nights.

Over & out,


10 thoughts on “Day 24 – Kununurra to Derby”

  1. Dave,
    You are all doing well! Imagine if you were still on the east coast at the moment. A lot of rain. More than a couple of days delay there at the moment. Lots of Ingham moments! The west and south west coast are looking good. Hope it holds out.
    I am amazed at the progress you have already made with minimum delays. Don’t forget your flight will be over 30,000km, suspect closer to 35,000km. This is a massive trip in a bug slammer. However, the views are better! Enjoy the flight. Much better than being in a office in Docklands.

  2. Incredible photos taken flying your alternate route. The scenery albeit different to the coast must have been a great substitute to what you had expected. You are all doing an incredible thing despite the odd hiccough.

  3. My goodness, Dave, forget the disappointment of having to go inland. Enjoy the spectacular change of scenery you were able to see. You continue to do such an amazing job especially considering the dodgy weather conditions. Four weeks until we leave for our two weeks up there. Already tired thinking about how busy it will be and I’m only the navigator!! Hang in, you’re over the hump and on the way down the other side. Keep up the great work champ, but most of all, stay safe!

  4. Hi Dave and Team
    I have been following you trip daily, and actually shadow flying it on flightsim in a Mooney Bravo.( Not the same I know…) But just wanted to comment on your dissapointment on having to fly inland to Derby. When you look at the planned route map of Oz on your website, and the minor deviation that HAD to be made, the integrity of your circumnavigation is in still tact well and truly! I say go hard mate! you are a real aussie inspiration.

  5. Hi Dave
    The scenery is magnificent have been there.
    You only missed a bit of the coast and it more important to be safe.
    You are on the home wood leg and the time will fly no pun intended.
    Happy flying today

  6. Hi dave, you should all be working for the tourism dept, fantastic shots,green with envy!

  7. Hi Dave & Crew,
    I was just looking at my photos of Lake Argyle and you can not be disappointed with this part of the world, it is amazing! It’s also where nature hides all the pink diamonds!
    As for the weather, I am pleased we can not control the weather otherwise we would never see the rainbow.
    And to Bob …. HAPPY 47++ BIRTHDAY!! We are all going to have a drink for you tonight.
    Thinking of you all. Safe flying.
    Whitsunday Crew & Jen (27++today) xoxo

    1. Hi Jen & the Whitsunday Crew, it was beautiful & I enjoyed flying through there. I would love to go back sometime & explore the area further (without a time constraint). We all had a great dinner & drink to celebrate Bob’s birthday last night. Thanks so much for your comment & for following. Cheers, Dave.

  8. Hey Dave, am so excited you are in my favourite part of Aus! Seeing ur amazing pics is bringing back lots of great memories. Never mind about the coast, u can’t go wrong up there! Maybe we can do a trip back to Beagle Bay in a few years! U r doing an amazing job, as is the team and I know u r inspiring so many, including all our Trinity kids! Ur personal journey shows persistence, flexible thinking, wonder, drive and passion, the very qualities we try to instil in our students. Big hugs x

    1. Thanks Di, I’m really glad your kids are getting something out of this. I don’t know who is following as I’m flying so much I don’t have many days to catch up with people’s comments – but I am trying. Beagle Bay sounds good. Thanks for following along & all your support. Dave.

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