Tuesday, 10 May 2011

May 7 Cloncurry to Mt Isa

Zooming off to work

Awoken early by the chopper pilots arriving to prepare for work, we clambered out of the tent before the sunrise to watch them push their little R22’s out of the hangar.  It wasn’t long before the solid sounding engine roared to life and before we could focus the camera the pilot lifted off, spun around 180 degrees and zoomed off about 8 feet off the deck around the buildings and disappeared into the rising sun.  NOW THAT’S FLYING!  No tower in control yet, so they did not obey any rules.  The second pilot was a tad more sedate – he lifted off and slowly turned 180 degrees and took off to the north, whilst giving us a wave at about 12 feet off the ground!  He he – makes me want to be a muster chopper pilot…….

As the sun rose we ate our breakfast in the fresh morning air.  The CAM engineers came to work continuing maintenance on the 8 x R22’s that were in the hangar.  A couple more guys set off to work after an egg n bacon roll breakfast and the sun was up.  They were a bit more sedate again, as they could be seen by the GILP (general ice-cream licking public) and wouldn’t want to get into trouble.

We finally packed the tent, mattresses, table, gas stove, clothes bags etc etc (getting mighty sick of this) back into the Big Bird and taxied for departure at 8.55am.  Wow – almost record time for us!

The geography of the area changed from flat nothing to rocky outcrops running in straight lines - very strange indeed. We were at Mt Isa before we knew it – only 30 minutes flight – very easy. 

Isa with Mine backdrop
We landed at Isa and were immediately taken by the lovely hill formations around the town.  However right on the edge as a backdrop for the cbd was the large mine itself – Mt Isa Mining Co.

Bob the refueller came to meet us as we had been liaising with him to purchase oil here.  As the GPS was still not staying connected on the plane system, Kevin needed to climb under the dash to fault find the connection.  Whilst he did that, I sat on the tarmac, in the shade and updated the photographs and blog.  Finally finding and fixing the fault, Kev had to put the seat back in before we planned the day’s events.  The Isa had lots to do – Kev was interested in the underground mining tour and I wanted to view the underground hospital as well as other things. Oh – all the phones in town were down and we couldn’t book accommodation, find out tour times or a taxi.

Unique Water tank
Bob kindly gave us a lift into town and we booked into the Sunset CP in an on site cabin (basically a donger).  It was quite hot inside so we cooled down and sat outside before walking into town. 

Painting at the Information Centre

Painting at the Info Centre
 By the time we found the Information Centre we found that all the tours had already started or were finished for the day so we walked around the info centre gallery and then walked thru the shopping centre to a taxi rank back to the CP.

We dined on satay kebabs with salad – our first real meal for a few days.


Judith said...

Great read, what an adventure. Stay safe xoxox

Anonymous said...

Enjoying your adventure - since sighting your aircraft at Tocumwal.

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

My photo
Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.