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Thread: St Lucia July 2022

  1. #61
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 27,857
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Wow - that was indeed frightening!

    I can't match that, but I have flown in a twin engined Cessna. I had flown in to Botswana from Windhoek, Namibia on a conventionial jet plane, landed and went through passport control to wait in the passenger lounge, armed only with my travel documents to fly to the Okovango Delta in Botswana. After a while of waiting around, a very smartly dressed official asked if I needed help. I explained who I was and what I was waiting for. "Ah yes, we know about you. Your pilot will be along in a few moments". And true enough, a tall Australian wearing shorts, T-shirt and what looked like flip-flops, sidled up and said "Hi, my name is Bruce, you must be Barry - where are we going?" (!). I told him where we were going and he punched in the information into what I presume was a navigational aid, and we took off. Being able to fly low, and sitting next to him I was able to look down to see the wildlife and natural features of Botswana.

    We landed on an airstrip near a river, disembarked (I only had a small bag with me) and Bruce told me to wait "over there", whilst he went off to complete the necessary paperwork. After a few moments a Pygmy appeared out of the bushes, introduced himself to me as Daniel and said "Your dugout canoe is over here, I will escort you to the camp". And so we did. Daniel was my local guide for all the on-foot safaris we did over the next few days. Of course all of the above had been arranged in advance, but was a surprise to see it all expedited in such a relaxed manner.



    The only potential dangerous incident which occured was on a flight from London to China, via Karachi. We were coming into land at Karachi and getting close to the runway, when all of sudden the plane abruptly took off like a rocket and circled around a few times. When we did eventually land (and not that smoothly), I asked my fellow passengers if they knew what had happened. A couple sat near the wing said they did not hear the landing gear go down; and another couple said that they had had a bad premonition about the flight before boarding, but it was now over. Obviously the pilot had tried to land and the engineer had told him the landing gear had not been engaged! It must have too late to engage it so the pilot had only the one option.

    Apropos the flight in a cargo helicopter - well that was in Laos, an internal flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. We we all seated in the hold of a Soviet cargo helicopter: mothers nursing babies, baskets of food, caged chickens, the fuel tank(!) and me. I was told that it would be noisy, so was armed with ear plugs, but as it turned out it wasn't noisy at all, so didn't use them. Being sat in the hold there were no large windows, so couldn't really see where we were flying. After a while I thought the journey was taking longer than expected, but we did eventually land. Disembarked and thought "this looks familiar". Turns out the pilot could not land at Luang Prabang due to mist/fog, and could only turn back. After an hour we took off again and landed safely, only to be told that a similar flight a week previously had crashed!
    Last edited by Barry; 09-08-2022 at 16:21. Reason: spelling
    Barry

  2. #62
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,564
    I'm Geoff.

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    I think we share some experiences. I lived in both Namibia and Botswana. In my experience they are joint #1 for wildlife/safari experiences. Regarding your Botswana experience I think you mean San rather than Pygmy. The dugout canoe is a Mokoro. I visited the Okavango on several occasions. It is quite phenomenal. I had a similar experience and we may have had the same pilot. Are you sure he was South African and not Australian? You would have flown into the Okavango through Maun airport.

    Do you remember the camp you stayed in and when did you travel?


    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Wow - that was indeed frightening!

    I can't match that, but I have flown in a twin engined Cessna. I had flown in to Botswana from Windhoek, Namibia on a convention plane, landed and went through passport control to wait in the passenger lounge, armed only with my travel documents to fly to the Okovango Delta in Botswana. After a while of waiting around, a very smartly dressed official asked if I needed help. I explained who I was and what I was waiting for. "Ah yes, we know about you. Your pilot will be along in a few moments". And true enough, a tall Australian wearing shorts, T-shirt and what looked like flip-flops, sidled up and said "Hi, my name is Bruce, you must be Barry - where are we going?" (!). I told him where we were going and he punched in the information into what I presume was a navigational aid, and we took off. Being able to fly low, and sitting next to him I was able to look down to see the wildlife and natural features of Botswana.

    We landed on an airstrip near a river, disembarked (I only had a small bag with me) and Bruce told me to wait "over there", whilst he went off to complete the necessary paperwork. After a few moments a Pygmy appeared out of the bushes, introduced himself to me as Daniel and said "Your digout canoe is over here, I will escort you to the camp". And so we did. Daniel was my local guide for all the on-foot safaris we did over the next few days. Of course all of the above had been arranged in advance, but was a surprise to see it all expedited in such a relaxed manner.



    The only potential dangerous incident which occured was on a flight from London to China, via Karachi. We were coming into land at Karachi and getting close to the runway, when all of sudden the plane abruptly took off like a rocket and circled around a few times. When we did eventually land (and not that smoothly), I asked my fellow passengers if they knew what had happened. A couple sat near the wing said they did not hear the landing gear go down; and another couple said that they had had a bad premonition about the flight before boarding, but it was now over. Obviously the pilot had tried to land and the engineer had told him the landing gear had not been engaged! It must have too late to engage it so the pilot had only the one option.

    Apropos the flight in a cargo helicopter - well that was in Laos, an internal flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. We we all seated in the hold of a Soviet cargo helicopter: mothers nursing babies, baskets of food, caged chickens, the fuel tank(!) and me. I was told that it would be noisy, so was armed with ear plugs, but as it turned out it wasn't noisy at all, so didn't use them. Being sat in the hold there were no large windows, so couldn't really see where we were flying. After a while I thought the journey was taking longer than expected, but we did eventually land. Disembarked and thought "this looks familiar". Turns out the pilot could not land at Luang Prabang due to mist/fog, and could only turn back. After an hour we took off again and landed safely, only to be told that a similar flight a week previously had crashed!
    Last edited by Sherwood; 07-08-2022 at 20:01.

  3. #63
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 27,857
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
    I think we share some experiences. I lived in both Namibia and Botswana. In my experience they are joint #1 for wildlife/safari experiences. Regarding your Botswana experience I think you mean San rather than Pygmy. The dugout canoe is a Mokoro. I visited the Okavango on several occasions. It is quite phenomenal. I had a similar experience and we may have had the same pilot. Are you sure he was South African and not Australian? You would have flown into the Okavango through Maun airport.

    Do you remember the camp you stayed in and when did you travel?
    Yes, the airport was Maun, and now you mention it the 'dugout' was a Mokoro.

    I used the term 'Pygmy' as a lazy shorthand to describe Daniel's stature - he wasn't very tall, about 5 foot or maybe a bit less. I bow to you superior knowledge that he might have been San (in general, are the San short in stature?).

    You ask if my pilot was South African, rather than an Australian. To the casual listener the two accents can sound similar, but I can tell the difference. Later in my trip, I stayed in a hotel near the South African border, where at the weekends South Africans would come up to party. All I can say is they lived up to their undesirable stereotype with their attitude and demanding nature!

    The camp in the Okovanga was called 'Delta Camp'. There were about a dozen chalets situated in an unenclosed clearing. When I arrived, they asked me if I was afraid of heights (?). I said no, to which they replied "Oh, that's alright as we have put you in the tree house". Yes, one of the accomodations was a very well appointed tree house. At the top was the double bedroom, with a verandah allowing one to sit out in the evening to watch the wildlife, which was nearby and would sometimes walk through the camp. On the 'floor' (or branches) below was the shower and toilet. Nowadays, tree house holidays are not that uncommon, but this was over thirty years ago and it was certainly a new and delightful experience to me.

    Later still I went on to Zimbabwe and stayed at the Victoria Falls Hotel - sampling Edwardian elegance, before crossing over the bridge to visit Zambia.
    Barry

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