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.
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.
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.
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!
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,