It's been a pretty hectic week this one with last minute charters all over the place to fly locals and supplies to various campaign meetings. Although it's quite nice having a change of schedule, it's not the easiest working roster when you get in the aircraft and be told to go somewhere different to where you'd planned, just as you're about to start the engine!
But it has meant I've had the chance to go to places I'd either not been to before or not been to in a long time, and that's always enjoyable. Also, flying between two places I'd been to before but never flown between provides a great change of scenery and a chance to learn another route I can potentially use in the future to dodge around weather.
And speaking of weather, it's been classic wet season stuff here for the last week. Lovely clear mornings up until around 12pm when the clouds begin to build and by 3pm have developed into the most enormous thunderstorms. Not so nice when you're coming back to Timika to see a wall of rain and lightning pushing towards the runway. I always take a little extra fuel for those afternoon flights just in-case I have to hold and wait for the weather to blow through.
The lack of decent communication lines has made some of the chartered flights a little frustrating though. Turning up in Beoga or Agadugume only to find the people you were supposed to pick-up had no idea you were coming is pretty typical. Then the ensuing confrontation between the locals trying to decide who should get on the aircraft can get rather heated. I can speak pretty good Indonesian but out in the mountains, each village has it's own dialect which I cannot understand at all; although it's pretty obvious what's happening when people are pushing each other about. Sometimes the only option is to close the doors, start the engine and get out!
I'll leave you all with this photo of the snow that fell on the highlands around Puncak Jaya at 15,000ft the other day. As you can see, it's not just Europe that's been enjoying snow ;o)
|Sunrise climbing out of Timika, Papua|
|Cute feline type creature (can't remember it's name!)|