Constant chop as a desert farewell

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Broome, Western Australia, Australia
We desired an early start so set off in the rental car at 7:00. It was just Johannes and now. At the airport the terminal was still closed, and would stay closed until 9am. That already gave us our first hick-up: how do we get the rental car keys to the rental company? There was no dropbox. The next hurdle was accessing the plane. We needed an escort when accessing the plane, but we the second in the group to arrive (Dietmar, as almost always, was earlier than we were). There was only one worker to provide escorts so we sat outside the fence not 50 meters from Maggie. Frustrating.

Once more employees arrived we got Maggie organized, refueled, and then were able to set off . We wanted to take in another overflight of The Rock so did so at 4000'. It was just as majestic as the days before. We were also able to take in the neighboring Kata Tjuta portion of the national park as that was on our route to Broome.

Our plan was to avoid stronger headwinds at higher altitudes and still do some sightseeing, so we filed and flew and 8000'. That was fine for the first early morning hour, but after that it started getting so hot that the ground was emitting hefty thermals. We didn't have much wind but were getting tossed around quite a bit. Not wanting to risk the autopilot servo motors getting damaged, I stick flew the remaining hours. It was fun, except for those times when no matter how quickly you react you still gain or lose altitude. The countryside at least was an amazing red color. This was truly the Outback with only rare signs of civilization.

The approach into Broome was pretty with turquoise water and sandy beaches . The controllers were a bit worn out with us being the last of nine airplanes to arrive in a relatively short period, and you could tell by their voice. They laughed when we told them we also would be leaving the following morning around 9am. Whoever was working the weekend shift was going to have an early Saturday night and interesting start to their weekend workday.

This was my first time flying in the left seat in Australia since it was easier to have Caroline behind me in the copilot seat while she was with us. I was happy to have not forgotten everything about how to land Maggie smoothly. We waved to the controllers en route to our grass parking and they took pictures of us since we were a bit of a novelty for them. We had to wait until the jet fuel planes were finished filling up and the truck get swapped for the avgas one, so it was a couple hot hours on the tarmac. At least there weren't any flies!

We grabbed a taxi to the Beach Club Hotel, which we'd booked the evening before and at which we thought the rest of the group was staying . The hotel was great - and we promptly took advantage of the adults' pool - but as we found out later the rest of the group was booked in a hotel a good 10 minutes walk away. I think this will be the only time on the trip we have a nicer hotel than the rest of the group!

A couple beers poolside and we're no longer thinking obvious sweating on the tarmac. A local restaurant and brewery, Mattso's was recommended to us so that's where we headed. In our cab we saw Ingrid and Olaf. They hopped in the taxi with us and were the ones that told us of the hotel mixup.

Dinner close to the coast was fun, with their best beer surprisingly being the ginger beer. I can see why folks vacation on Broome as their primary destination. It's peaceful, the beach and pristine water look great, and the town provides lots of activities. Our visit here is too short. Next time.

Routing couldn't be easier: G222 from Ayers Rock (YAYE) to Broome (YBRM)
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Broome's one of my favourite spots in Oz. Where I got my first tattoo as well. Might have to set up a small Emu Trekkers there one day.