We're on our way again

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
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Trip End Sep 11, 2011


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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thursday 14 April 2011. Hello again!  Happily, the family health concerns we had which resulted in our return and subsequent extended time off in the UK are now alleviated and we feel able to resume our travels. Sitting in a lounge in Singapore Changi  Airport awaiting our flight to Darwin is a well-practiced art and allows time to sort out the blog folders in readiness for the next set of  photos and text. Amazingly (!), there are still a large number of photos which haven't been named, so the time can be well-spent. 

We hope that the bad weather we experienced in Darwin is now well over and conditions have settled down and will not be an issue. No doubt, the weather will be moving north following the sun, so we have some catching up to do, rather than it chasing us! A consequence of this is we are racing up towards Taiwan faster than we had originally planned.

Saturday 16 April 2011.  JetStar deposited us in Darwin at 0500. There were lots of wet patches on the taxiways and apron – oh dear! We’ve done this trip so often now that we are getting better at passing Immigration controls and customs, so much so that twenty minutes after landing we were in the hotel room almost asleep.  We were able to get a few hours shuteye, enough to see us through the day (not much sleep on either flight), and after breakfast made our way over to see the EZ. As the dry season has approached the wind has turned around and the EZ was now facing the wrong way. However, from the first glance all seemed OK.

First things we found on opening the canopy were copious bugs – some in bits and some very much alive – predominantly cockroaches – black and about 1.5 inches long – ughhh. Patrick chased one around the front cockpit but it disappeared forward into the little lake in the footwell. Needless to say, there was some mopping up to be done. Later we were offered some bug spray which did the job of flushing out the stragglers. A few running repairs needed to be carried out – the EZ had not flown for 2.5 months. Planes like being flown regularly….

When the pods were opened we found the contents were covered in mildew! Obviously, in our haste to get back to the UK the contents must have been a little on the dampish side when put away…. The antiseptic wipes we’ve been carting around were suddenly useful!

Patrick was just thinking about taking the EZ for a test flight when Shaun and Bob (see Blog dated 16 February) appeared to say hi. They were glad to see that we had returned. Shaun kindly offered the use of their air-conditioned office while Patrick went off to do his flying thing! It was almost an hour later when Shaun picked me up to rejoin Patrick bedding down the EZ. All was fine and both plane and pilot had enjoyed their little flight.

Although there had been the odd shower going through during the day, by late afternoon it was looking good and the sun was shining. Fingers crossed that it would keep so for tomorrow. After returning to the hotel, having our Chinese-fix supper, checking on the grid positions after the Grand Prix qualifying rounds, it was time for an early night.

Sunday 17 April 2011. We hadn’t planned a really early start, as for the first time on our trip we were going to be going west, and therefore gaining time (1.5 hrs). Popping our heads out of the curtains at 0730 we could see……. rain!  However, we still had breakfast, packed and were ready  when Rhona, our handling agent, collected us at 0945. We headed over to the Terminal for customs formalities and then Rick, Rhona’s partner, drove us to the EZ. Patrick had the GPS database to update which necessitated a return to the hotel to use the internet, so I took the opportunity to prep the EZ (found another 'roach – hope that was the last). By this time the rain had moved away and it looked as if it was going to be a good day. Any delay would only give the skies more time to clear.

Finally we were ready and on our way only 50 mins later than flight-planned. We set course for Kupang, Indonesia – a 3.5 hr journey if all went well.  Just after half way we had to pick our way around the increasing cloud and a few spots of rain; this time we didn’t get to see the lone oil rig presumably because we had had to deviate from the planned flight path. Approaching the coast of Timor, we were able to descend and follow the coast around – although we had been given the no 1 spot to land, a couple of commercial airliners had time to land/take off as we were still over 15 miles to the airfield. A leisurely, but very bumpy approach, passing the town, to be greeted with yet another challenging crosswind landing! This was successfully negotiated and we were directed onto the apron to start the arrival procedures. We had to move the EZ, as all the parking stands were needed overnight, and ended up parking on the boggy grass. Refuelling was done from 20-litre plastic containers, each one carefully checked for water content and filtered through a requisitioned pop-sock (just as well I have some spares!). Three pieces of wood had been found to go under the wheels and nose (to spread the weight) and tie downs were heavy-weight sand bags. Formalities were finally completed in the Terminal and we arrived at the hotel just on 1700hrs local.

The hotel was away from the centre of town – we’d decided to sample a different hotel this time – and we stretched our legs by walking the ten or so minutes to a recommended restaurant, only to find it closed on a Sunday! We did find a restaurant attached to another hotel and enjoyed a fine meal and the ubiquitous couple of beers… should help us sleep. During supper the heavens opened again and the electricity went off (we’d come prepared with a wind-up torch) – it was going to be a wet and dark walk back to the hotel, or maybe we treat ourselves to a taxi. The latter won!
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Comments

Tom on

Good to know you're back on your way.

If any critters are still stowed away I hope they brought their passports!

Val&Rich on

Gteat!.

Altitude is known to promote the growth of them that creepies.
Jazz is their favourite.

Enjoy.

Gilbert on

Good to know you're back on your way.
Enjoy.
Gilbert F-PMPZ

Chris & Pete on

Great to hear that you are back on your way. We've been thinking of you. Hope you've found all your 'stowaways'.
C&Px

Bren on

Glad health things at home improved and you guys back in the saddle. Not so good news for an old work mate of ours though, sadly Gerry Fretz took the flight to the Big Hangar last night. Make the most of it !

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