Sunday, May 27, 2007


Since we were the last group, they had to deflate and pack the balloon and the basket was laid on its side; we had to stay there for several minutes to make sure that it would not take off again-every kilo counts!

Early Sunday morning launch!

The order of these pictures is mixed up.

Here is the second quiz. What does the word on the motorhome mean? Only real Aussies will get it. Hint: we are in the midst of "grey nomads". Please supply your answer in the comments at the bottom of this section. SHOKO??

This shot was taken a few hours ago from a hot air balloon! Yes, we got up at 4 am and were taken by bus to a place called Mareeba, about an hour west of Cairns. There they were filling the world's largest commercial balloon, the "400". It is 37 m. high, 28.7 m wide and can lift 20 people plus the pilot.
The envelope weighs about 400 kg, holds 400.000 cubic feet (oi, metric please) of air, which is heated to around 90 degrees C with 4 LPG burners. The pilot has a compass, a GPS, an altimeter and a two-way radio and before he takes off, they let up small helium balloons to check the wind directions at different levels. By opening side vents, the pilot can rotate the balloon but for the rest he depends on the wind direction, which can be very different at higher or lower levels. Before landing, the pilot spits overboard and watches where it goes, then he can work out if landing is safe, so that we do not end up in the trees or the power lines.
We were very lucky with the second flight of the day: so much rain around for the last days, so there were several clouds about. Just before landing, the pilot decided to go up from the usual 4.500 ft to about 6.500 ft, which shot us through the clouds into the sun! ABSOLUTELY MAGIC!!

Is space travel next for the two of you?
aw crap...Klaas beat me to it but he didn't answer the quiz question! So I guess this'll do us then...erm I mean me.

- Bas
Heeft het te maken met de trek van de "Witte Duiven"?
Trust Bas to solve it first! Well done. Thanks Bas.
hi there - good to read your story about Hot Air ballooning in Cairns and pleased you enjoyed your balloon ride
Hot Air Cairns
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