JAN 26 – 08 MARCH 2014

Book 'Crossing Boundaries' available at Amazon.com

More than two years after we flew our Piper Archer through Africa, the book ‘Crossing Boundaries’ has been released as a Kindle e-book at Amazon. The book is not 100% about the trip we did in 2014. However, several parts of this flying trip are described in the book together with tips on making flying trips like our trip yourselves.

The book is available at Amazon.com as Kindle e-book here: https://amzn.com/B01HK1VHFS.

Back in Africa

We have left Europe, and this time, we won’t be back anytime soon. As we flew from the Canary Islands to Atar in Mauritania, all we did see below us was sand, and an occasional herd of wild camels.

After a while the scenery became more diverse, with large rock formations and vast canyons. We flew as low as 300 feet over all this beauty, to enjoy it as much as possible. But then the sand came. It went straight through our fuselage, and reduced visibility quite a bit. We decided to climb to see if we could get above it. We had to climb to 7000 feet to regain normal visibility again.

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After landing we had some stressful conversations with local authorities, as they tried to explain to us we were not allowed to land on the airport.
Thanks to the assistance of some local Dutchmen we were soon allowed entrance to Mauritania nevertheless. The Dutch took us with their SUV to a fantastic oasis where we spent the rest of the day relaxing.

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Today, we visited the market in Atar, an old mining city, and enjoyed some local food and culture. This afternoon we will fly with some of our hosts around a spectacular crater, about 70 miles from where we are now. After that, we are promised some barrels of Avgas to fill up our airplane for the flight to Bamako tomorrow. We will be bound for Mali in the early morning!

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Back to Europe

But only for a few days. We left Fés in Morocco yesterday around 1100 in the morning, bound for Tenerife-Norte (Los Rodeos) where we would have to pass immigration back into Spain. It was a long flight over the Atlantic ocean, and it took several hours before we first saw land again (Lanzarote).

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We arrived at Tenerife at around 16.00 local time, knowing we had to leave for El Hierro as fast as we could, as the airport of El Hierro would close at 18.00.

But Murphy’s law started to wag its tail. The first delay happened because of a royal visit – the son of the King of Spain came in with his Dassault Falcon, and that grounded us for a significant amount of time. Then, when we were allowed to leave for El Hierro, the cloud ceiling had dropped to below 500 feet. Because of that, ATC no longer allowed us to depart under VFR.

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Our OPS-team back in the Netherlands quickly came in to help and prepared an IFR-flightplan which was approved and active within minutes, so off we went. We tried to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Canary Islands during the sunset, while we flew to El Hierro as fast as our Piper would allow us to. We touched down at El Hierro at 17.58, just minutes before closing.

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Now came the driving part, and that would prove to be more tricky than flying. We had to drive to our hotel, but because of the recent volcanic activity on the island many main roads were closed. We had to drive during the night, over small and curved mountain roads. Visibility gradually dropped to 50 meters or less. It took us two hours, before we arrived at the hotel.

Today we relaxed at our hotel, enjoyed the mild temperatures of 20+ Celcius and had some fantastic scubadiving experiences. We will upload some videos as soon as we can. So stay tuned!

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Tomorrow we will head for Africa again: Atar, Mauritania. We’ll be doing some trainspotting there!

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