Wed. 02 Oct 2013, 09h10, local time, SA/D 20131002, 00h10, midnight
We just departed in New Caledonia; now I can report back:
We were about to climb into the plane as mobile Gendarmerie and police arrived, "Pardon, could we check the plane?"...Oh NO NO... 'Yes, sure, anything, please go ahead ...'
They checked every piece of paper, Certificate of Registration of the Aircraft, Pilot Licences, Radio Station Lisence, Certificate of Airworthiness, Passports once more, etc etc. "No diamonds from South Africa, no?", 'No, no diamonds from South Africa.' All very nice, lots of laughing, lots of questions, like: "what did the Family say when we told them about our trip?"
You see, our Family always come in when the situation gets a bit hot and brenzlig (for us) even though we have NOTHING in the aircraft that could get us into trouble. But maybe I am wrong!? Herr Mueller, our friendly AMO (Authorized Maintanance Organisation) from Hildesheim maintains right throughout, "wir landen im Knast." Irgend etwas finden die immer... :-)
To come back to the Family Stickers. Whenever the situation gets a bit tense, we introduce our Family sticker, the girls, the sister, the partners, the parrot, the horse and the three cats, than the sad story: one cat was put to sleep while we are gone, the cat was ill, yes, we are very sad. "Yes, they are all sad now, very sorry..." "But now they are finished and they have to go...." ...in most cases. This morning all went well with the ramp check. They did not lock us up, we were allowed to depart.
A pity we could not get to know this country and its various Islands longer and better, both of us would have liked to stay on a bit.
We have a 05:h00 flight in front of us to Brisbane.
A downtown Hotel was booked this morning, and we also looked up a Photographic Equipment / Camera Shop in Town. The camera, the one I thought I lost in Vanimo has been defect since over a week now. We want to replace it and once we are back in CT we will see if we can have the old one repaired. Once we are clear at the airport we could even look up a shop at the airport!
Noumea is positioned just above or north of the Tropic Of Capricorn. Brisbane has about the same Latitude as Johannesburg. Right now we have a true airspeed of 181knots. Groundspeed 163knots, makes 18knots headwind. The wind is against us. Only once on the whole tour we saw a tail-wind. But we knew before we started, thats the price we pay going westward. But the advantage: we gain time. Today, right now, we adjust our watch, one hour earlier. Ha, sweet revenche! All of a sudden, it is not 10h30 anymore, but only 09h30!
Next time we will try and install a small Espresso machine... the capsule one might work, I wonder if they have a battery version or one for 28volts. Instead of taking the Immersion suits we take the Espresso machine ;-)
We are above sea, nothing but water. We are above the Coral Sea part of the South Pacific Ocean.
Now we can hear Noumea approach talk to one of our faster Group Aircraft, they are halfway between Fiji and Noumea. We can't hear or contact them on the company frequence as they are too far away. We assume they will re-fuel in Noumea, (we know they are not allowed to park before 15h00) and carry on to Brisbane, also chucking the fancy hotel booking in Noumea and like us stay in Brisbane for the night. Another crew booked the same Hotel (to avoid the different transfers to the fancy Hotel) we stayed in last night, we warned them not to accept Room 42 (ours) as there is no hot water in the shower and the Aircon is not functional. Food was very good, wine also good. I forgot to take pictures of the place.
We have 01h44 to go. It is very lonely up here, no land in sight, no ships, we hear no-one on any frequency, nothing. I do not want to say it is boring... just now something might happen which is not boring at all, I rather stay bored, long time since I have been bored. We eat our remaining food, the Australians will not allow us to bring food onto their continent anyway.
Approaching Brisbane now.