Outback trip to Innamincka – days 3 & 4

On Monday afternoon we repaired to the aforementioned Palace Hotel. Where at 0530 on Tuesday morning the fire alarm went off and we all had to get up and troop out into the dark to await the fire brigade. Who told us it was a false alarm. However, by this time we’d spotted the thick fog…the photo makes it look a lot better than it was.

Broken Hill in the fog

Broken Hill in the fog

When I said that there are few places more depressing to a VFR pilot than an airfield in the rain, there is at least one – an airfield in the rain and fog…

After a leisurely breakfast – for the second time at Charlotte’s Cafe – we made our way out to the airfield where, in our customary way, we looked at the fog and up at the sky and discussed the likelihood of a departure today; which was looking increasingly unlikely. We retired to the Aero Club house and drank tea and coffee and sat around just in case the skies cleared miraculously and we could leap into action.

Broken Hill in the rain

Broken Hill in a thunderstorm

But, sure enough, around midday, while  the fog started to lift, it was rapidly replaced by incoming drizzle, then rain, then thunderstorms. One ray of light was the appearance of Magnus Badger, a senior pilot with the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) who took us to their main hangar and showed us over a new King Air aircraft.

There’s some sort of event going on in Broken Hill and we nearly couldn’t find beds for the night. Things were getting desperate when at last we found the Broken Hill Tourist Lodge, which turned out really to be a back packer hostel. However, it is clean, dry and more than OK at $50 a night.

The weather looks marginally better tomorrow, so we have changed plans and hopefully will get to White Cliffs, maybe via Tibooburra. Sadly, it looks like we won’t make it to Innamincka or the Dig Tree, mainly because all the rain has turned their dirt strips into mud patches. Ho hum. You have to be flexible when you are a VFR flyer…

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