The weather had been very varied while we were staying in Cholila Lodge but that was ok, as we having fun! I was able to sit by the huge open log fire, look at our pictures from the trip, or be still, do nothing but stare out of the window at the wonderful vista !! It had been raining pretty hard all night, I had been listening to the heavy down hitting the roof, thinking how peaceful it sounded, only to remember our poor plane was also sitting outside the lodge and I began praying that the plane was not leaking again! While flying in a small plane fuel is always a consideration when planning our stops.We can decide to go to one airport which may be convenient but they may not have the fuel we need for our airplane.So we had planned to get fuel in the local airport Esquel but we were told by Daniel there was now none available. But we were not too concerned as we had enough to get to a couple of airports such as Bariloche,or Viedma (little airport which we used on the way down). We also knew that Trelew has the right fuel for our plane(AV100 LL)which will be our main refueling at the next stop.
We felt very sad to be leaving this little tranquil oasis, as we had been able to completely chill out being the only guests, and build a real connection with Silva and Daniel. But it was time to move on now and make tracks back up north towards Trelew. We had planned to go over the mountain pass so we could get a good look at the snow -capped mountains that we had been looking at every morning from our bedroom window. I volunteered to do the take- off today as this was such a great opportunity to take off on a grass runway and be able to immediately soar over the beautiful blue lake after the wheels have left the ground. So there we were, ready to go I make sure that the nose of the plane is not digging into the wet ground on the runway as I taxi. So plan to do what is called a soft field take off and pull the stick fully back so that I will lift off quickly without digging the nose wheel into the muddy ground and avoiding any holes. So as I start going down the runway avoiding puddles and holes I do as planned and hold back the stick fully but as the nose popped up off the ground as I expected the seat shot backwards and I was unable to reach the peddles. I was now almost pulling the nose way too high which usually results in hideous accidents (and is a common occurrence with Cessna seats). We swerve down the runway, we hear a thud and a scraping noise as we hit a muddy hole but luckily Chris being six foot seven and with long legs, was able to quickly grab the controls and take over. I can’t believe I have damaged the plane, how bad is it? What is it going to cost? I have never had an “incident “before in an airplane, but Chris reassures me that it was just a scrape and that it is probably a just a crack in the fairing. We continue flying towards Trelew and most of the way I am feeling pretty bad. I look at the beautiful views from outside my window and try to enjoy the great scenery, but I start to think about what I could have done to avoid my “incident”. I question my flying ability and swear to let Chris do all the take offs from now on, and begin to worry about how much damage I have caused. We decide that we have enough fuel to get to Bariloche and then refuel properly in Trelew. In Bariloche we inspect the damage that I did to the plane from Cholila, and see that the plane is covered in mud, and the plastic on the fairing on the tail is cracked with a big clunk missing. I feel awful and I know that Chris is trying not show that he is really annoyed with me as he patches the damage with duct tape , but this is not the first time my seat has slid back and although it gets “mended “every time we have a service on the plane, the repair never lasts for long and I am continually having to jam the seat into position on every take off. We both agree that it was an accident waiting to happen, and the solution may be to buy new rails, as the pins are not good enough. I thank god I was not on my own when this happened as I would have surely crashed, and know that most of the crashes I have read about with sliding seat issues have resulted in deaths. We forge on to Trelew, but as we approach we are told by the air traffic controller that the airport has no fuel. OMG!!!What are we going to do now? We had not planned on this little delight! What do we do now, as we do not have enough fuel left to divert to any other airport or know anyone here to help us. While we are unloading our bags, we are approached by a pilot who vaguely looks familiar and it turns out he is from Comodoro Rivadavia aero-club and is also in the same dilemma with no fuel. We discover there is an notam,( a pilot’s report) which we unfortunately did not read this today that states that there may not be any fuel for up to five days. Shocked and a little bit frustrated, we decide if we are going to be stuck in a place such as Trelew, place we had not planned on staying in for long, we should hire a car and go and explore. One place we both had talked about visiting is Gaiman, a town which we had both heard about which is a few miles out of town where the people speak welsh, have a Welsh choir and have several Welsh tea rooms which you can visit.
We decided to hire a car which is really expensive in this country and head for the same hotel that we stayed at before on our way south, we know it comfortable, and clean, and we also know where a lovely resturant in town is, and are planning to head there tonight for dinner.