SOUTH AMERICA 2012
12th January to 9th February, 2012
Last Updated 11th March, 2012 @ 20.00 hrs
This web site will be up-dated regularly to the end of March 2012 and will cover the trip from Orlando in Florida and then flying down the western side of South America to the tip in Tierra del Fuego and then back up the Eastern coast, through the centre of Brazil and back to Orlando.
Sergey had previously flown the Cessna 182 N6078T across the Atlantic from Europe during the Northern Summer and left it in Orlando to be serviced and to wait for the Southern Summer before taking it to South America.
The above photo shows Sergey (Red Hat) with his "My Fair Lady" at Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia on one of his previous trips around the world.
The route will take us from Florida across Cuba to Jamaica and then through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina Falklands Islands, Brazil, Guyna, the Carribean Islands and then back to our starting point in Orlando.
You can follow us with SPIDERTRACKS in real time when we are in the air, we are identified as P2-TNT on the site, or you can see where we are parked if we are not moving.
Sergey arrived in Orlando from Russia on 9th January to check out the aeroplane etc while Bob arrived from PNG on 11th January.
THU 12 JAN - ORLANDO EXECUTIVE (KORL)USA-TO-MONTEGO BAY (MKJS)-JAMAICA
Todays flight was 640 Nautical Miles and was 6 hours and 15 minutes flight time. It took much longer than expected as we had headwinds all the way and at times they were up to 50 kts.
I had never realised how the Australian greeting expression of G'Day had caught on in aviation throughout the world. Even the air traffic controller in Havana greeted us with the expression of G'day when we first made contact with her.
Busha met us on arrival in Montego Bay then drove us for an hour to his farm where we spent the night. Busha's farm is located on a beach on the southern side of Jamaica. I first met Busha in Libya a couple of years ago.
Everyone in PNG almost worships Bob Marley, who came from Jamaica, and of couse anyone who remembers 50's music also remembers Harry Ballafonte famous for his Banana Boat Song. Harry also spent a lot of his time in Jamacia.
FRI 13 JAN- JAMAICA
It is a non flying day and also Friday 13th. We went for a drive along the south coast from where we are staying on the farm at Savanah-La-Mar towards Kingston and went to some waterfalls called YS Falls. It was a park that was both popular with tourists as well as locals.
On the way back we decided to try some lunch, Jamaican style. It was fried fish and what turned out to be some very hot yellow peppers. Unfortunately we thought that they were yellow and red capsicum, that is just what they looked liked, but as soon as they were in the mouth it was another story. The yellow ones were as hot as anything that we had ever tasted.
We have decided to go back to Montego Bay this afternoon and stay there so that we can get away for an early start in the morning.
SAT 14 JAN - MONTEGO BAY (MKJS)- JAMAICA TO CARTAGENA (SKCG)-COLOMBIA
Todays flight was 530 Nautical Miles and was 4 hours and 25 minutes flight time. The winds today were much lighter and were not over 10 kts.
Cartagena is one of those old South American cities that has been around for over 400 years. It was fought over by the French, English and Spanish. It would be the main "tourist town" in Columbia and the main lanugage spoken is Spainish. We stayed in a small hotel in the centre lf the old city. The old wall that was built for the protection of the city still stands.
Sergey is great to be with in South America, he speaks not only Russian but also Spanish and found some great long haired Spanish friends. He was in Cuba when the Russians were there and this is where he learnt his Spanish. He occasionally gets his languages mixed and speaks to me in Russian but he gets no response.
Before Sergey became a pilot he was a ship's captain and when he flies an aeroplane he finds it hard to get out of his old seafearing habits and thinks that he is still navigating a ship. He still likes to use the GPS with North Up.
SUN 15 JAN- CARTAGENA - COLOMBIA
Today we did the obligatory city or Chivas tour of Cartagena. It was done in a very much modified Ford V8 truck of 50's vintage. It was "Air Conditioned" by the fact that it had no sides on it and it seated about 7 people in each row, making a total of about 50 people on the "Bus". Most of the people on the tour seemed to be Colombians and Sergey and Bob appeared to be the only "foreigners". Bob was certainly the only person on the "bus" who did not speak Spanish and the tour was sold as an English speaking tour.
We learned from the driver that the "bus" had been re-engined in 2002 with a V8 Cummins diesel.
MON 16 JAN - CARTAGENA (SKCG)- COLOMBIA TO QUITO (SEQU) - ECUADOR
Todays flight was 700 Nautical Miles and was 6 hours and 5 minutes flight time. The winds today were light and variable and we got no help from them.
We tracked down the western side of the Andes and approaching Quito we were told by Quito control to climb to 17,000 feet for the ILS into Quito. We were in cloud at 17,000 feet when we commenced the approach and came out of it at about 12,000 feet. The runway at Quito is 9,200 feet above sea level.
Quito is located in the Andes and is surrounded by towering mountains covered in rain and cloud. just like it is in Mount Hagen in the afternoon complete with a thunderstorm.. Bob felt at home in these conditions. Sergey was very happy to get on the ground.
TUE 17 JAN - QUITO - ECUADOR
We requested fuel when we arrived in Quito and a huge semi trailer of Jet A1 turned up. They prepared to put it in the Cessna until be saw what they were trying to do and we said that we needed Avgas. The refueller seemed oblivious to the fact that the Cessna needed Avgas and they then decided that there was no Avgas in Quito.
One of the places on the tour today that we went on was at a place called Camino del Sol and it was located exactly on the Equator as determined by the GPS. At Camino del Sol we were taught a lesson in the coriolis force of the earth and why just two meters in the southern hemisphere the water runs clockwise down a sink drain and again just two meters in the northern hemisphere why it runs it runs anticlockwise down the same sink drain.
Directly over the the equator it does not rotate but just drains straight out of the sink.
About 200 meters away there was another large monument claiming also to be on the Equator but it had been there for over 100 years and the technology in thoses days would not have been as accurate as it is today so it is not exactly on the equator. Neverless it still receives visits from many tourists.
WED 18 JAN - QUITO (SEQU)- ECUADOR TO GUAYAQUIL (SEGU) - ECUADOR
Todays flight was 160 Nautical Miles and was 1 hour and 55 minutes flight time. Guayaquil control required us to climb up to 16,000 feet again to get us out of the Quito Valley to pick up the track for Guayaquil.
Guayaquil is the airport in Ecuador where most people depart to go to the Galapagos. Time did not allow us to do this.
In Guayaquil Sergey found some more unusual friends again. Sergey wanted to bring at least one of his new found friends along with him for the rest of the trip but Bob would not allow it.
THU 19 JAN GUAYAQUIL (SEGU)-ECUADOR TO CHICLAYO (SPHI)-PERU TO LIMA (SPIM)-PERU
We did two flights today. We stopped in Chayaquil to do customs and immigration for Peru and covered 660 Miles with a flight time of 5 Hours and 5 minutes before finally touching down in Lima.
Some of the Andean Mountains just to the east of our track were over 20,000 feet but unfortunately the buildups started early in the day and we did not get good views of the major peaks. We were also on top of cloud until just before Lima so we did not get a good view of the coastline either. Just some sporadic views through some broken cloud. The northern part of Peru looked very desert like.
The photo at the right was taken just before touchdown at Chiclayo, our first port of call in Peru.
FRI 20 JAN - CUSCO - PERU
The Andes were too big and the clouds were too high for us to fly ourselves to Cusco in "My Fair Lady" so we went by regular flight.
Cusco was the capital and the centre of the Inca Empire before the Spaniards destroyed it some 400+ years ago. We did the traditional city tour, visited the Temple of the Sun and other Inca Ruins.
There seemed to be a lot of tourists in Cusco even though it was the "Wet Season" and we were treated to a downpour and a thunderstorm, just like Mount Hagen. Cusco is spectacularly situated at 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) in a valley with towering mountains all around.
SAT 21 JAN - MACHU PICCHU - PERU
We went by train and bus to Machu Picchu on a one day tour, it was a long day taking about 15 hours. The train ride along the Urubamba River is indeed spectacular.
Machu Picchu was a city the the Spaniards never found and was "discovered" by Yale Historian Hiram Bingam in 1911. It has since been determined that Machu Picchu was built in the 1400's and was only lived in for about 50 years. It was generally used by the nobles of the Incan Empire and it is not know why the people left after this short period of time and where they went to. It was also linked by Inca Trails to Cusco and other Incan cities.
The mountain behind the ruins can also be prearranged to be climbed. It takes a couple of hours to go up and back.
SUN 22 JAN - LIMA - PERU
Today turned out to be a disaster day for us. The commercial flight out of Cusco with Star Peru was three hours late and this mucked up the day for us. We spent what was left of the day sorting out the paperwork with the Peruvian authorities for our departure to Chile and we missed out on our "Lima Tour".
MON 23 JAN - LIMA (SPIM)- PERU TO IQUIQUE (SCDA) - CHILE
Todays flight was 683 Nautical Miles and was 6 hours. So far for the entire trip we have not received any advantage from the winds.
Our track took us over the Nazca lines. The Nazca lines were not discovered until the 1920's when they were first noticed from people on commercial flights operating in the area. There are figures of a condor a monkey and numerous other objects. The figures at the right were what is called the trapezoidal figures and they were taken from 9,000 feet.
It is believed that the figures were made about 2,000 years ago by removing the topsoil and uncovering the different coloured soil beneath. The depth of the amount of soil uncovered was between 100 and 300 mm. The area is in a desert and is dry so there has been little scouring and the figures are still intact after this period of time. It is not known who made these figures or why they were made.
TUE 24 JAN - IQUIQUE (SCDA) - CHILE TO CALAMA (SCCF) - CHILE
Todays flight was 160 Nautical Miles and was 1 hours & 30 minutes
There was a time change of two hours between Peru and Chile and this caught us out and meant that our 7.30 am pickup really arrived at 5.30 am, or so we thought, as we were still on Peruvian time.
After arriving in Calama we hired a car and drove to San Pedro de Atacama in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile, it was about an hours drive.
San Pedro is only quite small and is located at about 2,400 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level. All the houses/accommodation/stores etc are built from stone and mud/straw bricks in the adobe style. It is also know as being the driest place on the planet with some areas never having any recorded rainfall.
WED 25 JAN - SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA - CHILE
We rose at 4.00 am this morning to drive about 100 km up to to the Geysers del Taito. The geysers were at 4,200 meters(14,000 feet) and near some of the snow capped peaks in the Andes. The air temperature was minus 2. We were told that these are the worlds highest geysers. They were mainly mud pools and a lot of hot water and steam at times shooting out of the ground.
At noon we drove to a salk lake called Sala de Atacama to see the flamingoes in Laguna Chaxa.
In the afternoon we visited the Valle de la Lunan a "moonscape" out in the desert not far from San Pedro de Atacama.
THU 26 JAN - CALAMA (SCCF)- CHILE TO COPIAPO (SCAT) - CHILE - SANTIAGO (SCTB) - CHILE
Todays flight was 740 Nautical Miles and was 6 hours and 15 minutes. We did two sectors today, landing at Copiapo to pick up some fuel.
In Santiago we landed at Tobalaba Airport which is not far from the centre of downtown Santiago and is the airport that is operated by the Santiago Aero Club.
Th flight today took us mainly along the west coast of Chile, which is mainly desert, and we had our first real glimpses of the Snow capped Andes. Previouslty the Andes had been covered with cloud and we were not able to see them. The photo on the right was taken while we were flying alongside the Andes at 12,000 feet.
FRI 27 JAN - SANTIAGO (SCTB) - CHILE TO PUERTO MONTT (SCTE) CHILE
Todays flight was 500 Nautical Miles and was 3 hours and 45 minutes.
We were hopeing to get further south today but forcast icing conditions at the levels we had to fly at to get across the Andes meant that we had to stay in Puerto Montt.
SAT 28 JAN - PUERTO MONTT & PUERTO VARAS - CHILE
We hired a car at Purto Montt Airport and found a hotel to stay in Puerto Montt.
Puerto Montt was a rather ugly city whereas Puerto Varas about 20 km away was complety different. Puerto Varas located on the shore of Largo Llanquihue has old but well maintained wooden shingle houses with many restuarants and accommodation houses that cater for the tourists that come here. The city was built by German immigrants about 100 years ago and the German architecture is still apparent today.
Many people who work in Puerto Montt live in Puerto Varas.
SUN 29 JAN - PUERTO MONTT - CHILE
The weather has prevented us from flying today. The cloud is solid and goes up to over 20,000 feet. The freezing level is at about 9,000 feet and we need to get up to 13,000 feet to get across the Andes.
MON 30 JAN - PUERTO MONTT - CHILE
The weather today has only gotten worse on our planned track. We have again cancelled our flight for today.
TUE 31 JAN - PUERTO MONTT (SCTE) CHILE TO BALMACEDA (SCBA) TO PUNTA ARENAS (SCCI)CHILE
Todays flight turned out to be two sectors and was a total of 720 Nautical Miles and was 7 hours and 20 minutes.
This was probably one of the most challenging flights Sergey and I have ever made and it involved crossing the Andes between Puerto Montt and Balmeceda. The winds at times were in excess of 80 kts (150 kph) and the headwind component was up to 50 kts. As we approached overhead Balmaceda we realised that with the headwinds we were experiencing our fuel quantity was marginal to get us to Punta Arenas so we landed for fuel.
At times we were tossed around like a cork in the ocean, turbulance had our charts and papers flying about the cockpit and we needed our seat belts to be kept tight. By far the most disturbing parts of the flight were the up drafts and down drafts that seemed to follow one after the other. One downdraft pushed us down 5,000 feet from 15,000 feet in about two minutes with maximium power being delivered by the engine. Another up draft shot us skywards at 2,500 feet a minute with the power pulled off. It thrust us up in real quick time from about 12,000 feet to 16,000 feet. It was difficult to believe the numbers showing on the instruments when all this was happening. The air temperature outside the aeroplane was minus 22 degrees C.
WED 1 FEB - PUNTA ARENAS - CHILE
On arrival in Punta Arenas, about two hours late we were met by two of Bob's friends who he knew from Libya, Jospfina & Sergio. After a tour of Punta Arenas they took us to their Estansia Rio Verde, about an hours drive to the north of Punta Arenas.
Josefina and Sergio made us feel at home and we really enjoyed their hospitality. They fed us lamb from their ranch, vegetables from their garden and complimented it with fine Chilian wine.
Despite the fact that it is summer in this part of Patagonia the winds are unrelenting, even on the ground, they blow consistently from the south west at about 80 kph. It is nice being indoors in their house, it is warm and cosy. To go outside requires big coats and windproof clothing.
The photograph is of Josefina & Sergio and also shows the Straits of Magellan in the background and was taken from a hill in Punta Arenas.
THU 2 FEB - PUNTA ARENAS (SCCI)CHILE TO USHUAIA (SAWH) ARGENTINA
Todays flight was 165 Nautical Miles and was 1 hours and 35 minutes.
Ushuaia is on the Beagle Channel and not only is it the southernmost city in the world but it is the only Argentine city on the other side of the Andes. It is located at about 55 degrees south and only 1000 km from the closest point of Antartica.This is the furthest South that we go. From here we turn around and head back up north along the eastern coast of South America.
We were invited to the Ushuaia Aero Club for dinner and Sergey kept them entertained with his flying stories, all spoken in perfect Argentinian Spanish. All at the Aero Club members remembered Big Bob when he was here for he flew without permission to the Argentinian base in Antartica in his Cessna 182, Lucky Lady Too.
FRI 3 FEB - USHUAIA (SAWH) ARGENTINA TO RIO GALLEGOS (SAWG) TO COMODORO RIVADAVIA (SAVC)
We did two flights today for a total of 580 Nautical Miles and a total of 6 hours and 35 minutes. We stopped at Rio Gallegos only for fuel.
In Ushuaia we came across the mural on the right. As Sergey spends time in Russia and Spain it seemed rather appropriate that he is shown with the distance that he is away from both these places. Sergey's daughter in Spain and his wife in Russia closely follow our flights every day on Spidertracks so they know exactly when we arrive at each place and clap gently when they see that we have landed safely.
At Ushuaia we were four days behind schedule because of the weather delay in Puerto Montt which cost us 4 days so we have had to delete the Falklands as well as El Calafate.
Coming out of Usuaia this morning we picked up some ice passing though 6,000 feet on our departure however at Comodoro Rivadavia it has finally got a little warmer but we still have all the wind which has been unrelenting for the last 5 days.
SAT 4 FEB - COMODORO RIVADAVIA (SAVC) ARGENTINA TO BAHIA BLANCA (SAZB)
The flight today was a total of 491 Nautical Miles and a total of 3 hours and 25 minutes.
On arrival in Bahia Blanca we were helped through the officialdom by Gustavo Daniel who also took us to our hotel and gave us a guided tour around the city. Gustavo was most helpful to us and we had dinner with him at one of the "footpath" restuarants in Bahia Blanca.
The main industries here seem to be petroleum products and the export of grains which are grown in the area.
The photo at the right shows Sergey and Gustav in front of one of the monuments in Bahia Blanca which also has many buildings in the center of town over 100 years old.
We have finally shed our big jackets and warm clothing and have left them in the aeroplane. As we are now heading north and back into the tropics we should not need them again.
SUN 5 FEB - BAHIA BLANCA (SAZB) ARGENTINA TO BUENOS AIRES (SADF)
The flight today was a total of 342 Nautical Miles and a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
While walking the streets of Buenos Aires looking for somewhere to have the evening meal someone from above us threw some smelly, sticky green substance on us. At almost the same time we were approached by a man and a woman with a bottle of water and a tissue offering to help clean the green substance off our face and clothes. However we very quickly realised that it was a set up and that they were trying to rob us of our wallets etc. After a short scuffle they left without getting anything off us. It was still daylight and there were other people around.
MON 6 FEB - BUENOS AIRES - ARGENTINA
We had the aircraft serviced at Aeromachanic located at San Fernando Airport in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is a city where the restuarants do not open until 8.00 pm and people arrive after 10.00 pm for their evening meal. This did not really work for us. To compound the problem one would hear the noise from the diners when they were returning home at about 5.00 am. I am not sure how they go to work in the morning.
TUE 7 FEB - BUENOS AIRES (SADF)ARGENTINA TO CATARATAS DEL IGUAZU (SARI)
The flight today was a total of 585 Nautical Miles and a total of 5 hours and 5 minutes.
Iguazu Falls is like a series of large cascades 23 kilometers long on the Iguazu River with waterfalls of up to 70 meters running into a deep george in a tropical setting. We are now at about 25 degrees of latitude south, so we are just below the tropic of Capricorn.
The town on the Argentinean side where the falls are is called Puerto Iguazu and it is also where the three borders of Argentine, Brazil and Paraguay all come together at a corner.
There are a lot of tourists here and there appears to be a plenty of tourist accommodation available with many tourist type souvenir shops.
WED 8 FEB - CATARATAS DEL IGUAZU (SARI) ARGENTINA TO FOZ DE IGUAZU (SBFI) BRAZIL TO LUZIANIA (SWUZ)
We did two flights to day. The first one was just a short one of 10 miles from the Argentinian side of Iguasu Falls to the Brazilian side and this meant separate customs and immigration at each terminal. The flights today totaled 678 Nautical Miles and were a total of 5 hours and 30 minutes.
We overflew the falls as we crossed the border into Brazil and Brazil presented us with a whole new set of problems, they speak Portuguese. While Sergey had now mastered both his Chilean and Argentine Spanish he was sadly lacking in skills in the Portuguese language. From Iguazu to Foz, a matter of just 10 miles we went from a Spanish speaking air controller to a Portuguese speaking one!!! We have not had an English speaking Air Traffic Controller since we left Orlando and Jamaica four weeks ago.
Luziania is one of the small airports for Brasilia and is located about 50 km to the south or Brasilia. It is a private airport and Sergey wanted to put My Fair Lady in a hanger there. We were late getting to Luziania and by the time we had refuelled it was 7.30 pm and we then had trouble getting a taxi. A kind helicopter pilot volunteered to act as a Taxi driver and he drove us into Brasilia.
THU 9 FEB - BRASILIA - BRAZIL
In Brasilia we stayed with Gerard and Margi Moss who we have both known for a couple of years. Gerard and Margi gave us the run of their lovely big house with nice spacious gardens and manicured lawns. They listened to our stories until it was midnight and then had breakfast ready for us the next morning on their outside verandah. They have also flown their single engined Piper Lance from Easter Island to Santiago on one of their around the world trips.
Gerard and Margi are earthrounders and Gerard also flew a motor glider around the world in 2002. They have lots of memorabila in their home of their trips and aviation in Brazil. They even have as a background for one of their photos of their Piper Lance the PNG WAC chart between Mount Hagen and Tari.
We have left My Fair Lady here and Sergey and Bob hope to return in about a month and fly to Orlando via the Amazon and the Caribbean Islands.
SECTOR 2. BRASILIA - ORLANDO (11th MARCH 2012 TO 24th MARCH 2012)
TRANS NIUGINI TOURS is Papua New Guinea's leading inbound tour operator.
Trans Niugini Tours operates cultural and nature tours in Papua New Guinea and owns and operates a number of award winning Wilderness Lodges there.