The weather was good in the morning – the wind was about
5km/h and although completely overcast it didn't look too thick. We would be able to pop above that in a few seconds.
After the usual packing exercise and filing another
flight plan, we were on our way northwards. The desert was becoming more amazing and more beautiful as the hours went by. There was a 10km/h headwind the whole day – if we descended below the inversion layer we had
a tailwind, but the temperature also dropped by about 10 degrees C and the turbulence was quite bad.
We landed at La Chimba, Antofagasta and while Olivier
prepared lunch (tomato salad with sardines) I trundled off over the sand to the petrol station we had seen from the air while we were coming in to land.
A taxi driver took me back to the airfield with the now full and heavy fuel cans.
I filed a flight plan over the radio and within
minutes we were airborne again. Whoa, the turbulence was quite hectic. Olivier climbed above the inversion layer to 5,500 ft and hit a headwind of 15km/h while I stayed a little lower 3,000 ft and enjoyed the
tailwind of 25km/h. The turbulence was not pleasant and I climbed to 5,500ft.
ATC at Antofagasta tried to tell us to return to
Antofagasta because the airfields that we had selected as our destination and alternate aerodromes on the flight plan were either unreachable before the sun set or no longer useable! We chose a small strip on the
coast ahead of us and landed there. We were in the desert with no one around us – the whole world around us was ours alone.
We had enough food to again eat well. Early to sleep under the stars.