Ferry Flight 8: Bali to Broome (WA)

Ferry day 8 has seen us fly from Bali to Broome in the north of Western Australia.

We departed from Bali uneventfully, and after waving goodbye to the place on the way out, we spent most of the flight today over a blue, calm, ocean.

We were using the HF radio to stay in touch with Australian ATC as needed, until we got close enough to the Australian mainland for the standard aviation VHF radio to start working again.

It was a relatively short flight, at a bit over 3 hours.

Seeing the Australian coastline resolve itself out of the horizon as we approached it was an emotional experience – a real sense of homecoming (albeit not yet all the way back home to Adelaide!)

We tried a different sort of runway approach today, an ‘RNAV GNSS” approach into runway 10 at Broome.

We did this an exercise toward familiarising me with the many things I’ll need to learn to complete my IFR rating over the coming months.

It was quite impressive to watch the aircraft take itself to the runway with such high precision, and without using ground-based navigational aids such as ILS.
It was less impressive to see myself manage a quite lacklustre landing at the end of it!

But… we’re here 🙂

On the approach into Broome we saw some fires burning in the scrub a little out of town – and tonight they are still burning. You will see that in a number of the photos from this post, the smoke is high in the air and casting somewhat of a pall over the township.

Initial impressions on landing in Broome… that Australia is a wonderful place; that it is hot, but differently so (far less humid – at least in the parts of it that I mostly spend my time)… and that the dust is so … red! That intense ochre colour in the ground just wasn’t in evidence anywhere else on our travels.

Customs and Quarantine were smooth (with the appropriate folk clambering through the aircraft to check it over after our arrival). There was the normal level of examination of the odd small wooden knick-knack that got bought on the trip.

We refuelled, and then got told we had to reposition the aircraft for overnight parking, so we did that – and then waited for our cab to turn up (we are parked on the ‘general aviation’ side of the terminal, on the opposite side to where the commercial aviation operations and the cabs normally live).

On arrival at the Cable Beach resort, we checked in and then immediately lined up a sunset Camel ride 🙂

(Cable Beach is named after the fact that the beach was the jumping off point for a telegraph cable from Broome to Java in the late 1800’s)

That ride was… great. We got onto our camels and had a lovely, and leisurely ride up the beach as the sun set over the water. The water here looks endless, and the sunset ritual here really stops the whole place.

The beach is accessible to cars, and a combination of people in cars, people in picnic groups, and people on camels… we all stopped and enjoyed the sight as the big red orb that heats our world sank gracefully below an endless blue horizon.

After that, it was time for dinner at the resort and a quiet night in – and we’re both looking forward to getting to Adelaide tomorrow.

Even from a short visit, it is clear that Broome (and the Cable Beach Resort), is a lovely, kid friendly, relaxed place to hang out. Definitely worth bringing the family back here at some point 🙂

It’ll be another longish flight to finish off this epic journey tomorrow – around 5-6 hours, landing us back in Adelaide mid afternoon, where we are going to be greeted by some family and friends.

Then we can unpack all the ‘stuff’ we’ve picked up along the journey, and put the plane away in its hangar after a hell of a journey.

I am quite amazed at the quality of this aircraft. The Swiss really know how to build these things. Its a big thing to take an essentially brand spanking new plane across the world so soon after its construction and to be able to trust it to go the distance without various forms of technical challenge.

This plane has performed flawlessly, taking us over (and onto) many countries during many days. It has dealt with temperature extremes and other challenges exceedingly well.

And regarding the journey itself… combining my passion for flying with the amazing life experience of visiting a new country pretty much every day… its just such a great life experience…

One more flying day tomorrow!