Kimberley Wet aerial safari | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Kimberley Wet aerial safari

JohnM

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Tomorrow morning it's on the bird to DRW before heading out on Wednesday morning to the Kimberley for five nights on this loop:

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There won't be much in the way of comms out there, so most of the TR will be after I return home.
 

JohnM

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After overnighting in DRW, it was into the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and out to Faraway Bay.

Here’s a shot of the bird after landing at YFWY; the light was all wrong at DRW and we couldn’t really go wandering around the bird before boarding. Seating for 12 pax, but we had 10. The pilot in the second seat was going to undergo some training on this type on the empty flight back to DRW.

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Hauling out of DRW. Everything was nice and green despite it being a very poor wet season for rain.

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Coming in over the Kimberley coast around the mouth of the King George River.

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Heading up the King George. The Falls looked a bit feeble from the air. Rainfall has probably been in about the 5th percentile this Wet. 2017 and 2018 were probably >80th percentile or even more. Luck of the draw…

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Looking downstream from an orbit just above the Falls.

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Faraway Bay airstrip and Chauffeur Drive :D.

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Fill ‘er up and out she goes.

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Champagne Rock on the way into the camp and the lodge entrance.

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The lodge.

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JohnM

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Tide out. Moving on to my cabin. Note outside shower facing the ocean and the view from the cabin. Tolerable enough…

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Once the tide came in sufficiently by mid-afternoon, it was into the boat (Hamilton Jet-powered) for a cruise around the bay (everything on water in the Kimberley revolves around the tide).

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Notice the cRockadile on the shore…

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I called this Frog Rock. On that note, the cane toad has reached Faraway Bay in recent times and they were commonly seen around the camp at night. A predicted occurrence as they march inexorably westwards, but nevertheless distressing.

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Clouds building held some promise of lightning and rain, but it was not to be. The weather was more like the Buildup than the Wet. And day 1 came to an end.

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Daver6

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What's that structure on the aircraft (Cessna) forward of your seat? It looks a bit like a wing, but surely not forward of where you're sitting? :D
 

JohnM

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What's that structure on the aircraft (Cessna) forward of your seat? It looks a bit like a wing, but surely not forward of where you're sitting? :D
I was in row 4 - of 4 :eek::eek:.

Seats were assigned by the pilot according to pax weight and we had to stay in the same seat for each of the three flights. The flight DRW-Faraway Bay was about 1h 40m, including a bit of orbiting King George Falls. When he came back solo to YFWY for the onward leg to Mitchell Plateau (c. 45m) I asked if I could sit in the #2 pilot seat. Upgrade denied :(:oops:.

The flight back from YMIP to DRW was beating into a headwind and took 2h 20m (otherwise c. 2h) which was starting to push on range limits by the end.
 

Daver6

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I was in row 4 - of 4 :eek::eek:.

Seats were assigned by the pilot according to pax weight and we had to stay in the same seat for each of the three flights. The flight DRW-Faraway Bay was about 1h 40m, including a bit of orbiting King George Falls. When he came back solo to YFWY for the onward leg to Mitchell Plateau (c. 45m) I asked if I could sit in the #2 pilot seat. Upgrade denied :(:oops:.

The flight back from YMIP to DRW was beating into a headwind and took 2h 20m (otherwise c. 2h) which was starting to push on range limits by the end.
Who is this? Where's JohnM?
 

Guvner

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I was in row 4 - of 4 :eek::eek:.

Seats were assigned by the pilot according to pax weight and we had to stay in the same seat for each of the three flights. The flight DRW-Faraway Bay was about 1h 40m, including a bit of orbiting King George Falls. When he came back solo to YFWY for the onward leg to Mitchell Plateau (c. 45m) I asked if I could sit in the #2 pilot seat. Upgrade denied :(:oops:.

The flight back from YMIP to DRW was beating into a headwind and took 2h 20m (otherwise c. 2h) which was starting to push on range limits by the end.
Surely an invocation of DYKWIA would've had you in the #2 seat??
 

JohnM

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The pilot was a nice guy - but what he said went (rightly so). DYKWIAs don't count in the Kimberley ;):D.
 

JohnM

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Next morning and very calm. View from shower. Tide out.

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Double-bar finches and a perentie hanging around the lodge at breakfast.

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Into the boat to spend most of the day exploring the coast and King George River. I should mention that with the high humidity, my danged Sony HX90V camera failed yet again. Over to the Lumix backup. The Sony became operable if I put in in the sun to dry but failed again repeatedly.

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Heading out and cloud building to the north. Wind picked up and temperature dropped sharply as we went under the rolling formation.

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Steep cliffs and colourful rocks as we worked our way around the coast and into the river.

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Going ashore to view some Bradshaw art under a rock overhang.

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JohnM

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Continuing up river. Spectacular cliffs and natural erosion-pattern art. Guillotine rock.

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The catamaran that was visible from the air the previous day. Apparently, it’s a reclusive person(s) who come regularly and moor in this spot for long periods. Their buckets collecting water at a cliff-face spring.

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Peaceful scene. Falls come into view. I’ve been here by boat before in late April on a Kimberley coast voyage Broome-Wyndham (https://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/threads/awesome-kimberley-coast-cruise.68874/#post1266003). Water levels were similar. Given that the flow drops quite quickly once the Dry starts, it’s another indication of the poor Wet this year.

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Kimberley Shower time. Yours truly on the left disappearing under the torrent.

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The other waterfall is a bit too fierce to stand under.

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The end of a great day. Woodfired pizza coming up.

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love_the_life

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I chuckled about the plane seating. When I worked in Indigenous affairs we used to fly people from the homelands into towns for courses. It was always fun (not) trying to ascertain the weights of people so we could let the charter operators know. We had a couple of terms which seemed to work OK - 'big fella' and 'skinny one'. :)
 

JohnM

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Next morning and a big-pan fry-up before heading to the airstrip for the flight to Mitchell Plateau.


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Leaving Faraway Bay behind and another pass over King George Falls. Busier on the river than the day before.

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Country becoming greener towards Mitchell Plateau with different topography, soil type and vegetation. Camp in view and then on the ground at YMIP.

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JohnM

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Next morning it was the first of four helicopter (Bell Longranger) rides with a 45 min scenic flight out to the coast and then to land at Mitchell Falls. The return was a shorter direct flight after a couple of orbits of the falls. The rear doors were removed for our flights.

1A for me on the way out…

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JohnM

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Mitchell Falls has four drops. In a good Wet, it turns into a single sluice. I took a pic of a photo on the wall of the lodge to show what it looks like then. As has been noted elsewhere by @Cessna 180, the falls are prettier in the dry (which is effectively what we encountered). I’ve previously flown over the falls in a light aircraft but never landed here.

Several of the other pax had done the Dry season tour and were doing the Wet season tour (a recent addition) hoping to get a big flow contrast, but that was not to be. However, the helo rides are a Wet innovation (normally a necessity for access in the Wet).

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That afternoon we drove out to a high point overlooking the coast for a sundowner.

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