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All good things come to an end...

Friday 3 April 2009
AustraliaFlyingAir SafariRed Centre Tour

Today we leave Fraser Island to fly back to our starting point Toowoomba. We will first land at Maroochydore where Marjie and Harold will return their plane to the Maroochy Aero Club. Clare has organized transport for our luggage from there directly to our hotel in Brisbane and Marjie and Harold will fly back with us to Toowoomba. Well that’s the plan….

When looking at the weather forecast, it is going to be marginal. It will not be a nice picture day, but we are going to operate well within the margins. Therefore we decided to take off. While still on Fraser Island, it’s raining and the cloud base here is quite low. But the forecast states that in a few hours we will have good conditions in Hervey Bay.

And the forecast was correct. By the time we got to Hervey Bay, the clouds were rapidly disappearing. Time to pack out luggage in the planes, put some fuel in and get airborne. But before we leave, we will take some last pictures of the whole group…

While we were waiting for the fuel man to appear, a Flying doctors plane came in. And it became clear it was not there for fun. The plane had 2 “customers” on board and an ambulance was already waiting to transport them. The ambulance had another patient that needed to be transported by the plane. Busy busy busy these doctors are.

Reg and Janice take off and a few minutes later Harold and Marjie are also airborne. Time for us to follow them. Today Clare will be flying and I will take pictures and be the annoying passenger.

We will fly to Fraser Island and take some snapshots and of course just enjoy the views.

Then it’s on to Maroochydore. Reg is in the leading plane and he first reports good visibility. But then he reports rain, bad weather and not so good visibility. It’s safe to continue, but it’s sure not pretty. Reg passed the rain showers by flying to the east (that’s to the sea), whereas Harold tried to pass them by going to the west (inland). Reg reported hardly any problems, but Harold had poor visibility…

We were lucky and had hardly any rain. Hence why I have the best pictures ;-)

When I took this picture, I saw something blue in the sand. But I couldn’t identify it. When you zoom in, you can see that we were not the only birds in the sky today.

We heard Reg on the radio talking to Maroochydore tower as he requested his landing clearance. Sometime later, Harold reported that he was in Maroochydore airspace a bit earlier than planned due to the weather. The tower responded very professionally and helped wherever they could. Then Harold also landed safely.

This airport handles a lot of commercial flights as well. So by the time we had the airport in sight, the tower asked us whether we could do a straight in with some tailwind. Clare and Ray decided that that was okay and a few minutes later we joined the other two planes in the parking area.

I took some pictures while Harold and Marjie unpacked their plane.

And then it started to rain. No, let me rephrase: it started to RAIN… And that was the end of our flying adventure. The cloud base on route to Toowoomba was so low that flying was not an option anymore. Clare had to do some work now… The taxi that was here to transport our luggage was now going to bring Harold and Marjie to their next address. So it was time to say goodbye to them.

Clare arranged another taxi to take the rest of the group to the hotel in Brisbane. Well, almost… He forgot that we had Ray on board now. So, Clare had a nice train ride back to Brisbane.

The day didn’t go completely as planned and it was a rushed goodbye from Harold and Marjie. But then: all good things come to an end and that is also true for this part of my holiday. I thank Janice, Reg, Harold, Marjie, Ray and Clare for their good company and making this trip such a success. I really enjoyed the air safari. We have been to great places, we met wonderful people and we all enjoyed the flying.

For me it’s time to switch transportation. I will continue my holiday by car. First track: from Brisbane to Sydney. More on that later.

The track of today:

Friday 3 April 2009

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