'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 20 April 2009

I've looked at clouds... Part 1

1/9 Thursday - Departure day.
First leg: Air New Zealand flight 81 departing Auckland 1130 non-stop;  arrive Singapore Changi Airport 1840.  Flight length: eleven hours and ten minutes.
We had to be at the airport at least three hours before but on the way the fog was so thick we had to slow right down...  A pleasant surprise that our flight was only delayed by one and a half hours.  We have four hours at Singapore so shouldn't be cutting it too fine.


The last view of the 'Land of the Long White Cloud'

As I write this N. is happily watching some movie about four girls and a pair of traveling jeans or something.  Nice chicken pasta lunch.

Over the Tasman Sea

Great Barrier Reef coral island

2.51pm.  I have a window seat so am in heaven.  I've just seen what I assume are a couple of coral islands - must be the Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland coast.  Ovals and circles of pale blue-green lagoon with a white fringe of breakers - the reefs are not quite complete.  What a treat!  I can hardly take my eyes off the window even 'though it's still the Tasman sea.  I don't want to miss a single view of this flight!  

Australia at last

3.05.  Auckland and we are traveling at 783 km/hour at 9800 m altitude.  Now almost exactly over the Queensland/ NSW border on the Australian coast.  About eight hours to Singapore.  With great mental effort I calculate that if you travel at 780 km/hour for three hours you cover 2340 km or 1410 miles.  I must be tired, but I feel great.

                          Somerset dam and lake?

6.30.  We are 10,000 metres high, traveling at 800 km/hr, and it's -44ºC outside this round window,  just two inches from my nose.  We've been in the air 4 hours 45 minutes.  We are still over Australia, on a line that seems to pass right over Katherine (heh).  Katherine over Katherine.  The clouds have changed since the coast from fluffy patches to balls, and then wisps and now have disappeared altogether.  We flew over what I'm convinced was Somerset Dam where Wendy and I swam on our motorcycle trip when we were 21.  There have been patches of cultivated land and pasture.  But now all I see is red earth scoured into valleys and riverbeds.  I took a photo of tracks converging on a ford over a dry river.  What a different look this place would have when it rains.

This country is truly massive.  I can see the HUGE Gulf of Carpenteria now.  I sailed through it on the Oronsay when I was eleven.
I'd forgotten how big the world is.  We have been flying at 470 mph (I still think in miles) - that's covering about eight miles every minute, or a mile every seven seconds, have been flying about six hours, and are only about a quarter the way to England.  Novelty's worn off a bit and I've begun to unglue myself from this window.

7.05.  Happened to look out the window just as we finally reached the other side of Aussie.  I watched the coast pass under our wings.  Well, this is the last we'll see of Australia for a while.  It feels a little like we are leaving the familiar part of the world behind...

The other edge of Australia.


  1. Hi! Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog - seems like you have a huge adventure of your own coming up :-)

    I can't wait to read all about it.

  2. ....From both sides now eh?

    What a great education for the young one. Sights, smells, sounds....Good luck and let us all know how you are getting on.

  3. Cowgirl, Steve - thanks for dropping in, and your interest. Actually this is a sort-of retrospective experience, we did the trip a couple of years ago, but I'm putting it all together now, pics, diary and later additions. You can see the dates. There will be at least one entry for every day. Hope this doesn't diminish your reading pleasure!

  4. Hey Katherine
    these shots are amazing..I don't think I've ever seen such clear low shots of the continent like this...

    What were you heading to the UK for?

  5. Thank you Delwyn. At 10,000 metres, they weren't really low!
    My daughter and I were heading to the UK and Europe for a 12 week holiday.
    You can see the other episodes in the saga in my side-bar.

  6. This IS exciting isn't it - I remember flying low over Greenland on the way to the UK in 2006 - first the coast, icebergs, then the rocky coastal area and then inland across the Greenlands huge icesheet - wonderful, and such a view!!

  7. Oh I know it's in the past, but it's new to me and I just love reading about it!

  8. Excellent - you are finally on your way. Looking forward to reading the rest of your trip posts. Hopefully this might inspire me to get back to posting more of my trip to South America.

  9. What beautiful pictures! I will definitely be following your journey. How exciting this must be!

  10. wow! i love looking down from a plane....

  11. I love looking down from a plane too. It must be obvious from this post as I hardly moved my vision from the window for the first 5 hours of this flight! I can't believe I did that!

  12. Oh and welcome to TLVD Laurie! I really enjoyed your description of having to share an interviewee. And of course your discussion of dulcet Susan...

  13. I always get a crick in my neck on long flights because I loooove the scenery! I love the clouds, I love looking down at the ground far below, I love looking at the ocean. I adore flying over Greenland and Canada and seeing all the endless ice, and glaciers and mountains. And I love that moment when night falls above the clouds.

    Your photos are wonderful and bring back some great memories! I haven't flown over Australia, though.

  14. Thank you Jay.
    I guess I should fly over some ice soon before it all goes..

    Yes! Nightfall! And looonnngg sunsets as you chase the sun. Heaven!

  15. Kathrine, these shots are really great, It's so facinating to see, i also follow the little map on the back of the seat, that shows everything, is that where you got the speed, temp, altitude, etc.?
    ♥ lori

  16. I am bordering on envious. I have never flown across Australia in the daytime. I have never been to Eastern Australia either 'cos my relatives are in Perth. But the Australian landscape is so amazing and your photos are absolutely exceptional. I feel quite emotional having crossed the country in your pictures.

  17. Thank you GB. I found it an emotional experience myself... such a large, red, land. Fabulous.


Spam will go in the incinerator. All other comments are gratefully received. Communication is what makes the world go 'round.