In getting to the airport we were greeted by the same security officers as the day before, and with the usual drama of departing, the usual paperwork exercises, which have now become so “norm” I don’t even bristle at the silly questions we get asked anymore, but just smile sweetly, and eventually we are our way. After the terrible winds of 35 gusting 50 of yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to see that today would be more like 15 gusting 25 at the most, which was a great improvement. When we finally lift off and are on our way, the sky is a bright blue, the weather is calm. We are almost hysterical laughing at the difference a day REALLY makes and cannot get over how smooth the flying is on our route. We fly along the coast line and although at first our groundspeed is pretty slow, we start to speed up as we turn the corner from a cross wind to a tail wind and pick up a little speed. The landscape at first had huge mesas and impressive peaks but gradually it became a dusty flat patterned floor. Patagonia really looks like the desert, no people, no houses or no structures for miles.
On reaching the coastline again, Chris reminds me to keep my eyes peeled for penguins, as this region, Punta Tombo is supposed to be one of the biggest penguin areas in the world, and has 1 million Magellanic penguins. I fly the plane for 10-20 minutes or so, craning my neck to see where these little creatures are, when all of a sudden Chris shouts “there they are!” At first I was not really aware that they were living beings, as the area that Chris was looking at seemed like a beach with many grey rocks. It was only after we swooped down low and Chris focused his camera on the “rocks” and they moved; did I realize they were indeed penguins. Excited by the many endless numbers of birds, we swooped down to 500 feet for a closer look. They seemed undisturbed by the presence of an airplane above them and most barely moved from their original position as we took many pictures.
Back to the task of flying our plane, the air traffic controller tries to tell us to land at the big airport Comodoro Airport, but we have planned to land on a smaller airstrip five minutes away at our friend’s aero club in Comoro Rivadavia. We explain our intentions and request to land at our friends airstrip, and he continues to try to guide to the big airport. Problem is we find, is the air traffic controller speaks no English, and we speak no Spanish. Ten miles or so out Chris continues to request to land at our friend’s aero club, trying all his school boy Spanish (I have none!) and after a long period of silence, (his tone of voice sounds totally fed up with trying to force us to land in the big airport) we hear a huge sigh, he begrudging “says “alternative airport approved”. That s means by agreeing we are changing our plan, he allows us to continue to Comodoro Rivadavia. We head to “our new planned airport” and hear a voice saying “November 758Delta Whisky clear to land”. It sounded familiar, I cannot at first place where I have heard it before, it is only when the voice says “Chris and Corrine welcome to Comoro Rivadavia”, does the “penny drop” and I realize it is our friend Martin. Chris just HAS to buzz the aero club, and do a zoomy touch and go before we land, because boys will be boys!!We land to see Martin’s smiling face, and a group of the aero club members, who give us a lovely warm welcome, and seem keen to look at our plane, know where we are from, and ask us questions about our trip, which we are only too happy to share with them. The kind Sebastian arranges a hire car for us and lets us put our plane in the club’s hanger away from the Patagonian wind. After the friendly, greeting from the wonderful people from the aero club, and a sight sighting drive around delightful Rada Tilly, a lovely seaside resort in which Martin had family and friends, and also manage to book us into a private guest house, the previous dramas of trying to get here seem all worthwhile.