Flying on our own

Trip Start Mar 06, 2013
Trip End Apr 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
Lucy's AirBnB
What I did
Masterton, NZ
Cook Strait

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, March 15, 2013

Our first interest this morning was a look at the sky. At 7 there was only high overcast and we decided a leisurely breakfast was in order. After a great breakfast at Klaas and Floor we ran in to town to get a gopro part. No go on the gopro tripod adapter, We will go on without it.

By 10 we were at the airfield in Nelson starting to organize the plane for departure. Rental car was returned, weather was checked and double-checked. We had Martin brief us for the flight and tried to think of everything we might need to know.

By 11:30 we were in our life vests, strapped in and ready to go. Call the tower and they give us the Pepin Island departure... Oh, yeah, forgot to ask about that one! After a brief delay we knew what the Pepin departure was and headed off to fly on our own in NZ for the first time. By this time it was quite cloudy in the Nelson area, with some darker, more threatening clouds to the west. We rounded Pepin Island and flew across Elaine Bay towards the NW end of the Cook Straight looking at much better weather ahead. Doedo saw a pod of dolphins, but alas the pod of orcas did not perform on schedule.

Wellington Control was cordial and gave us radar service across the Cook Straight direct Masterton at 4000'. That seemed like enough space between us and the water. Once over the North Island we had to climb to 5000' to stay clear of the puffy clouds forming over a warm island. Masterton lies on the east side of the ridge that runs down the island towards Wellington. Once we crossed over the ridge is was a whole different weather zone: clear skies and blazing sun.

We found Masterton easily enough and made our overhead arrival (normal approach here is overhead to upwind, crosswind, downwind, base and final). We saw a small group of airplanes at the far corner of the field and headed that way. Sure enough it was the Safari aircraft starting to gather. Just like us, many other people were coming in early. Those who live here were then driving back home for the rest of the weekend if they could.

We met a couple from the UK and some of the people we've been corresponding with for the Safari. It was quite hot on the field and some kids were using the Aero Club pool, which did look inviting. Doedo found an interesting email posted on the bulletin board requesting special ed food for me--we'll see how that works out. The Safari folks were busy getting all their things sorted out for the big event so we decided we should leave them to it.

We took our rental car and headed off to find our airbnb with the hope of using this very warm afternoon to do some laundry. Airbnb is not disappointing us so far. Tonight's lodging is in a charming vintage home with a tiny but immaculate garden. It also has a washer and a clothesline positioned in the sun for fast drying. The only possible downside is that it is 100 years old and is running very short on outlets. Charging may be a problem but we're on the internet and not paying by the MB so all is good.

Our hostess Lucy arrived at the end of the afternoon, having left keys and instructions for us to access the house before she arrived. She is now making us dinner! Special ed food, even. This is quite fabulous. Yum!

Meanwhile the clouds are building to the west and warnings for heavy rain and flooding are up for the Nelson area. We are feeling happy and smart, soon to add well fed!
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George on

Well done guys.. It will be easy now.
Enjoy your stay.. I'll keep a watch and hopefully can try to get somewhere you are at over the next few weeks.

Gretchen on

Congratulations on the crossing! And on reading the weather so well to get to Masterton early. The crossing is awesome, I'm glad it worked well for you.

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