Mike's Log

99-05-09

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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

In Colombia, near guerrilla territory, slightly drunk...

There were clouds all around but no rain, so after taking 2 of the local businessmen for a flight over Tumaco (yes, for money), we packed and tried to complete the flight plan and pay the landing fees and get away before the storm to the south hit us. We were too late. We waited out the rain and got into the air at about 11 am. We immediately flew into some rain, but realised that if we turned back, we would be charged another $100 or so, landing fees, and decided to press on. The rain stopped and we headed out over the small bay. I stayed at 1,000 ft, while Olivier climbed to 8,500 ft. Ahead of me it looked bleak. Rain everywhere, dark clouds, all around. I kept looking for signs of strong wind the rain didn't bother me at all but strong storm front winds scare the hell out of me (I had a scary experience with a storm a few years ago). After we had been in the air for an hour, Olivier called to say that he had great visibility and the good news was that he could not see a single spot for us to go to. Huge dark clouds surrounded us. I climbed to 8,000 ft to take a look and immediately saw a huge open blue space and headed in that direction. Looking at my compass and the GPS told me I was heading straight out to sea and the next available landing place was China! OK, lets land and wait this out. We found a spot on the beach and landed. It rained hard for about an hour and then started to clear up.

In the air again at about 2 p.m. Cali Radio told us that they could see us on their radar (from 150 km away) the transponder can be a great help sometimes. We managed 40 km this time and headed backwards and forwards a bit until we found a good spot on the beach. The rain was not as hard this time. We had some tuna and collected some rainwater in a pot to keep our thirst at bay.

After a quick swim in the sea, (yes, of course we were in the nude, girls) we took off for another attempt at getting further north. It was no good; we could only get about 5 km away when we found ourselves flying into rain and low clouds again. We turned back and landed back at the spot we had just left. It was a great spot to spend the night we parked and made camp between a whole lot of dead trees on the beach. Tiny gnats attacked us. To sweeten the evening, we opened and immediately consumed the bottle of Peruvian wine that Huenu had given us. What an adventure! What an experience! In Colombia, near guerrilla territory, slightly drunk, on a deserted beach. Some naked Colombian girls came over and started chatting to us well, I am allowed to dream, aren't I?! After the stress of the day's dodging rain and storms, I fell asleep by about 7 p.m.

I wonder if I am going to be able to get my hormones under control.

 


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