This is our work trip to the Solomon Islands - at one stage we were flying by Herc over there, and then next we were overnighting in Fiji - in the end the trip over there was neither of those. Read on!!....
We left Canberra and stopped in Sydney - Our connecting flight from Sydney to Brisbane was delayed an hour so we started to sweat... We were supposed to be in Brisbane for an International flight, an hour prior...We still had to land and get ourselves via bus from the domestic terminal, to the international terminal and through customs - thats about 90 mins prior - by the time we got off the plane in Brisbane, we had 25 mins!
We had the airport manager teed up during the flight, and he met us and drove us to the International terminal - we were met at the door by a hostie, who escorted us directly to Customs (we missed out on Duty Free) who were waiting for us, and then on to the plane - as we walked down the ramp, we caught up with the back of the last people to board so all was well - we were pretty hyped thinking that we would miss the plane, and then nearly running through the airport... Then a voice came over the loud speaker - "Due to unforeseen maintenance, you are required to disembark the plane for an hour and a half - most of the passengers were pretty pissed - we could only raise a laugh!
We asked the duty free girls who were just locking up if they'd stay open - first one said no but the second said she'd open for half an hour!! Happy with that - bottle of Bundy and a bottle of Bourbon - more about that later!!
We got to Honiara about 2 am, and after customs, were driven out to the port in a 4 WD - it was raining - our next mode of transport was on board a zodiac - remember we've got all our good gear on from flying business class - now we're in the rain, put on a zodiac in the dark, and driven by sailors in night vision goggles!! - I thought I left the Army ;-) Anyway, got to bed at 4:30 in the morning, to be woken at 6:30 - the next day was Anzac Day, so that night we got to bed about 10 pm, and up at 4:30!
That's about all the waffle for now - Double Click the photo for a big one..., hover over it for comments
Up at 4:30 for the Dawn Service - it was held off Sovo Island, above the wreck of HMAS Canberra. The ship followed the service with activities during the day, such as mini Olympics, and then a telethon held on the ship, where $11000 was raised for the local hospital - good stuff..
We were actually there to work (I know it doesn't sound like it!!) - we ended up doing 127 hours in 9 days so pretty hectic - This is Theatre Broadcast Systems - the big radome at the back is our antenna (2.5 m disk inside a 3.5 m radome), and the two in front of it are Inmarsat B antennas
We were relieved by HMNZS Te Mana - the rest of the ship had been there 42 days - we were there for five with a three day return trip. The following were some shots of her, including a drill where a line was shot over the railing and the Captain transferred!!