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Leg 50: Ferguson's Gulf (HKFG) - Combolcha (HADC)

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I got the call in the early hours of the morning.

Is it possible to do the 'Hangar' a favour?

'Depends what it involves', I said.

'Well, it means getting your trusty Cessna310 out to Kenya and transfer a special packet to it's next destination, in time for a Mr JG to collect', said the anonymous caller, whose voice I couldn't place.

'Leave it with me and I will report back when I have completed the mission'. I replied.

'The special packet will be on site when you get there. It will be on top of the fuel pump'. The mystery voice said.

As it happened, I was in Kenya on a working holiday, flying guests from one safari location to another. So as my 'trusty Cessna310' was already in the vicinity who was I to refuse.

I had heard that a good friend of mine was out this way with a gang of meerkats or something like that.

--------

A few days later, my commitments to the paying wildlife watchers were over for a week or so, so Off I went in search of Ferguson's Gulf. Which to be honest, sounded like some outback place in Australia than Kenya.

 And so the adventure begins......or carries on to be fair.

1.jpg

I arrived at Ferguson's Gulf to be met by a solitary object on the side of the airstrip.

Luckily, a refuelling pump.

Next to the pump, I noticed that someone had been relieving themselves behind it. A rather large puddle, or stain at least of pee. In the said stain was a very bright bluish looking baton. It had apparently rolled off the top of the pump and straight into the puddle. Bleurgh!

01. Joe's Gone.jpg

 

A good job for me then that I had a spare pair of gloves in the aircraft. I collected the Baton, cleaned it off in disgust at whoever had left it there and put it in the cockpit.

I intended staying the night here as I had brought my sleeping bag with me. It's always in the cargo pod because I never know where I'm going to be from one day to the next when I'm in Kenya.

I'll be having words with the Boss when I get back, letting him know how people are treating the Baton.

Next morning, having had a fairly decent night sleeping under the stars, I load up my 310 and prep' for a dawn departure.

Only about 550miles to fly, plus the return journey, should see me back in Nairobi in the evening, hopefully.

2. Baton_On_Board.jpg.jpg

With the Baton placed where I can keep my eye on it, I plot my route up to Combolcha in Ethiopia.

No one around so off I go. Gear up and turn onto heading 033 degrees and head for my first waypoint of Arba Minch.

3. Turning_Onto_Heading_033.jpg

Heading out over Lake Turkana the early morning sun shows itself on my starboard side.

Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley, in northern Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake. By volume it is the world's fourth-largest salt lake after the Caspian Sea, Issyk-Kul, and Lake Van, and among all lakes it ranks 24th.

4. Early_Morning_Sun_On_Lake_Turkana.jpg

 

After about 1.5 hours and 186 miles I can see Arba Minch (HAAM) approaching.5. Approaching_Arba_Minch_HAAM.jpg

After overflying Arba Minch I head for Awasa (HALA) and then on to Harar Meda (HAHM), with the intention of having a guided tour of the Ethiopian Air Force Base. This was verbally (but not officially) organised by my son who is in the RAF and as a gesture of goodwill towards foreign countries.

But....as I pass Awasa, thinking I will wait until I get to the Air Force Base to take a comfort break, my radio crackles in to life and I'm told in no uncertain terms that I was NOT to land at the base and was to observe the air bases no fly zone.

Well that's just a bugger!

So on my way I decide to go and check out Mount Zuqualla, an extinct volcano.

Mount Zuqualla (also spelled Zuquala or Chuqqaala) is an extinct volcano in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Situated in Ada'a Chukala woreda of the (East) Shewa Zone, it rises from the plain 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Bushooftuu. With a height of 2,989 metres (9,806 ft), it is known for its crater lake, lake Dembel, an elliptical crater lake with a maximum diameter of about one kilometer, but the trail around the crater is about 6 kilometers long.[1] Both the mountain and the lake is a holy site to the Oromo living nearby.[2] The ambivalent attitude regarding the holiness of the mountain is seen in the Oromo proverb: "Those who live far away worship it, those who live nearby plow it."

6. Mount_Zuqualla_Ethiopia.jpg

Then shortly after the volcano, I get close to Harar Meda and the air force base.

As I fly near the air base I get to see why they don't want foreign busy bodies checking out their facilities.

7. HAHM_Airbase_1.jpg

8. HAHM_Airbase_2.jpg

Not to worry, I've seen a few air bases over the years anyway.

So I now have to make my way to Addis Ababa, where hopefully I can refuel and use the facilities and freshen up a bit.

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Washed, Fed and all comfort breaked out, I find myself waiting for clearance to enter the runway and take off for the final stage of the journey.

9. Refulled_Ready_To_Go.jpg

After I had left Addis', I decided that as time was pushing on, I would change course and instead of heading for Mekane Salem (HAMA) I would instead,  head straight for Combolcha (HADC). This was so that I could get back to Nairobi sooner that I had thought initially.

10. Destination_In_Sight.jpg

This looks like another bleak and deserted place. So I radio ahead to have someone meet me with some refreshments.

11. About_To_Touchdown.jpg

About to touch down and hand over my precious cargo.

No sign of any other aircraft, so I take it JG is not here to hand the Baton to.

I will just have to leave it in a safer place than the last pilot did. tut tut!

12. Baton_Arrived_Safely.jpg

The Baton arrived safely and all shut down. 

As there is no refuelling here, I have asked a friend to ensure there is a fuel bowser brought to the airstrip to ensure JG has enough fuel to get him wherever he needs to get the Baton to.

13. Fuel_Arrived _For_JG.jpg.jpg

Now that the fuel bowser has arrived, I leave the Baton resting on it and head off back to Nairobi and hopefully some more paying customers.

14. Baton_Left_On_Fuel_Bowser.jpg.jpg

I just hope that JG finds the fuel and the Baton before the locals do.

 

PS. JG, I have had the Baton specially cleaned at Addis Ababa, so no worries of catching anything from it.

Over to you.

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Excellent work Agent Needles and superb work on the livery, I wouldn't mind a copy of that! :rofl:

Thanks for cleaning the baton up too, it did have a waft of meerkat about it.

We can chat later in my bunker.

  • Haha 1

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Nicely done moving the Baton forward Brian, a shame someone :whis: left it in such a sad state.:D 

Very handsome club paint job and smart work taking a twin up through those mountain ranges. Great pics too sir.:good:

  • Thanks 1

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Great PIREP Brian, and thanks for cleaning up the Baton.  In the cramped cockpits I usually find myself the smell would have been awful!

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Great PIREP Brian, and a very nice paint job on that aircraft. :thumbup:

I agree, the baton is getting far too much abuse lately. It was looking a bit dented when I picked it up in Lanseria  (I'd assumed Joe had fallen asleep on it).  A little more respect guys & girls... ;)

 

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