Dave Jacka


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Day 25 – Derby to Karratha

Last night we stayed at the Country Women’s Association (CWA) house in Derby. Thanks to Mary Harrap from Derby’s CWA for helping us out.

It’s funny how smells remind you of certain things. The smell of this old country house reminded me of my grandmother’s house when I was a kid. For Linda, it brought back memories of her childhood as it was the type of country house she grew up in.

I was up at 5.30 am & the CWA women were up & around the house not long after 6 am preparing for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (raising money for cancer).

Kim Maldon from FESA came & picked us up at 7 am & shuttled us back to the Derby FESA headquarters to pick up our gear which had been stored there overnight to help make it a bit quicker to get away in the morning.

Just before leaving Derby, as we were preparing the aircrafts, it was deja vu. The same tyre that went down in Cooktown – the one that is wearing severely – was flat again.

We knew we could get this fixed, however, we were concerned as we had a long day of flying ahead, if this took too long, we may run out of daylight.

The flat tyre (again).

Michael & Josh quickly got into pulling the wheel spat off & Bob worked out how to jack the plane up again, this time with a couple of 44 gallon drums, a block of wood & Linda’s now worn yoga mat. Since we had done it recently, we knew exactly what to do & it wasn’t going to take too long.

Fortunately, Kim was still with us & he ran Bob into town where Bridgestone Service Centre in Derby rushed the job through to minismise our delay.

While Bob was off getting the tyre fixed, I called up Roebourne Airfield which was meant to be our destination for tonight, to check the condition of the strip. After speaking to them, they advised me that we weren’t allowed to land there as it is now restricted. I wish someone had told me that last year when I had enquired about this.

I discussed alternatives with the pilots but there weren’t any. Michael called Karratha Airport Tower to check if we could all fly in together. They said it wasn’t a problem so at this stage, with no alternatives, we decided that this would be the best & safest option.

Bob returned & with the tyre fixed, we were ready to go!

Importantly, it was Bob’s birthday today & he keeps telling us that he’s turned 48. Although we were pretty skeptical – maybe its true as he has the energy levels of a 21 year old! Just before leaving Derby, we presented him with a fun present & card. I want him to wear the nose ring we got him tonight! (He keeps saying he’ll get one, so we got him one).

Our Bob’s Birthday!

The first leg was Derby to Port Hedland to refuel & have lunch. This was a long one & my bum wasn’t looking forward to this as it was over 3 hours & I know my bum has about a 3 hour tolerance rating.

It was great to finally get up in the air, climb to 3,500 feet, & head toward Broome. We flew coastal with a nice 10 knot tailwind, smooth air & blue skies with little cloud. It was also a bit cooler today which made it more comfortable.

One of the things I really noticed about today’s flying was the Indian Ocean I flew over. It was so irridescent – it looked like that blue toilet colouring.

Arriving into Port Hedland took me back 23 years. Not long after my motorbike accident which left me with quadriplegia, I came here to visit my sister Marguerite. For the next 2 nights I’m staying with Marguerite & her family in Karratha.

Back then, I took a commercial flight & they got me out of the aircraft using a forklift & wooden pallet, with no sides – it was a long way to fall! At least this time, I flew my own plane in.

Today, we were pushing time so we had a quick lunch at the Port Hedland terminal building. I would have thought by this time I’d be sick of sandwiches for lunch, but I actually really enjoyed my sandwich with my pea & ham cup-a-soup (now my favourite, but creamy mushroom is good too).

I now really look forward to lunch as with the creativity of Josh, I have no idea what could possibly be in it this time! You have to remember, with sandwiches, you can’t have anything that makes them go soggy – that’s the trick!

Today, our last leg from Port Hedland to Karratha was the latest in the day of our trip so far. I really enjoyed tracking down the coast & noticing the softer light, the colours, shadows & reflections off the water, that I hadn’t experienced on this trip.

The beautiful blue Indian Ocean.

A beautiful time to fly!

As we reached our waypoint, Roebourne, Paul & Gordon passed me in the Piper Archer & I followed them into Karratha Airport. The procedure here was for me to follow them in & land behind them.

I don’t think any of us realised how busy the Karratha Airport was going to be & it took a bit of shuffling amongst all the incoming traffic to get us all in.

After refueling & tying the aircrafts down, it was fantastic to finally catch up with my sister Marguerite & her husband Jon who I’m staying with for 2 nights.

After settling in, we enjoyed a really fun night, with a great dinner prepared by Marg & Jon & celebrated Bob’s milestone birthday.

Bob’s birthday

Thanks to Marg for making a cake to help us all celebrate Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday Bob!

Over & out,


2 thoughts on “Day 25 – Derby to Karratha”

  1. WOW !!!!! Praise God for an abundance of blessings 0:) Great blog Dave !!!! Wonderful to follow your amazing journey along with all your friends/support crew 😛 Birthday Greetings to Bill 😀 And many blessings as you make happy memories with your sister n family…. Love n happy hugs….. Safe travels <3

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