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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Heart Reef Overflight

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 12 October 2020 | Views [36]

A few days ago, a lovely lady named Chonita showed me a video of her at the controls of a small Cessna aircraft over the Great Barrier Reef, and said "Oh my, you've just inspired me." The other day I was the first customer at Le Shack in Airlie Beach, booking a flight over the Whitsundays and the Heart Reef. Chonita advised me to ask for the copilot's seat. As I often do, I managed it pull it off just the way I like it. At the airfield in Proserpine, I met Luke, the pilot. The propeller started turning, down the runway we went, and we were off into the sky to see some jaw-dropping scenery! The NATO alphabet is one of the coolest things about flying; as I've said before, learning the NATO alphabet could save your life, as it's especially useful in spelling out names of easily confused places. I was in awe as we flew over the Whitsundays, passing near Whitehaven Beach first.

An overflight gives me vantage points that even Juliett can't give me. After some dramatic scenery over the Whitsundays, we flew further out toward the Great Barrier Reef. Nothing, not even a picture or story will prepare you for how beautiful this place is. You must see it with your own eyes. 

The only unfortunate part is that it was very cloudy today. The deep blue looks like something radioactive. The heart reef is very small, and you must be quick in snapping a photo. I got it just right. 

The Heart Reef is similar to the Nazca Lines in that you can't appreciate it at ground level. Just like many of the girls in Airlie Beach, I can say there is truly no such thing as a bad photo of this place. 

For a few seconds, I even got to take control of the plane. 

Flying is an expensive hobby, therefore I don't envision myself ever becoming a certified pilot. Years ago I looked into being a helicopter pilot, but the cost of a private licence (at the time) cost around $15K and a commercial licence was around $35K, and you need a private licence to get a commercial licence. The most interesting planes I've ever flown on are a 2-seater on Norfolk Island, and an Tupolev Tu-204 to and from North Korea. The Dash-8 Bombardier to Lord Howe was also very interesting. 

My stomach started churning a little bit toward the end of the flight but it was nothing serious. After touching down on the runway I got to switch off the engine and some of the instruments. It was my first true taste of piloting a plane. What an awesome experience I had today! 

Either from the air or beneath the water, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most spectacular sights. If you have the opportunity, see it both ways. I already have my next reef adventure planned...

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