I turned 50 a few weeks ago and was like a little kid looking forward to it – it’s a big milestone and I really wanted to do something to make it memorable. My 40th was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons – I was recovering from a mastectomy and had chemo and radiation therapy on the near horizon. I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to see my 50th.
I kicked around a few ideas of things to do such as swim with the dolphins or go up in a hot air balloon. Then in August we reached a court agreement that would let us own our home. As we’ll be paying a mortgage I mentally set aside thoughts on doing something big for my birthday and was quite happy to be content that we’d soon be owning our own home. That’s a pretty huge thing for us. So a couple weeks before my birthday I told Rod I wanted to have a lunch with friends to celebrate, and we thought doing it on the weekend before would make sense. While having lunch with ‘The Lunch Group’ (we get together once a month and have lunch at a pub), I brought the subject up. Calendars were checked and we were all set for the Sunday before. Later in the same week while chatting with Dave, he told us not to make any plans for after lunch as he and Pat were treating us to brownies and ice cream at the Aldinga airfield. Aside from thinking ‘Yum’ as the brownies there are really nice, I didn’t give it much thought. They know I like brownies and David’s main interest besides web development is anything to do with airplanes (seriously – check out his website at 5dme.net) and that’s how they discovered the incredible brownies at the airfield museum. We’ve gone there before just for brownies and coffee.
Unbeknownst to me, Rod, Dave & Pat had quietly organised a flight in a light Cessna for me. If you visited Dave’s website, you’ll know he does a lot of airplane photography. So when he pulled out his camera and had a chat with one of the pilots I didn’t think much of it. It’s pretty normal behaviour for him. He talked me into coming out on the tarmac and having a look at the plane, got us all to pose by it and then suggested I have a seat in the passenger side for piccies. Oh sure why not (by this time I was fairly sure what was up but wasn’t completely sure). Once the pilot hopped in and suggested we take a trip down to the Murray mouth, the jig was up. So away we went on an hour long joy flight. We flew down to Victor Harbor then over to Hindmarsh Island and the mouth of the Murray, which is where the Murray River meets the sea. It was an absolutely perfect day for it. Sunny, comfortably warm and we had great views. The funny thing is – my best friend lives on Hindmarsh Island near the Murray Mouth and she was up at Aldinga enjoying brownies with our friends while we were flying by her house!
It was a real surprise and the first I’ve ever been in a light aircraft. It was great fun! Here are some photos of our adventures. Rod was able to ride along too in the back seat so some of the pics are from his camera. He took some videos as well. I sure don’t think I’ll forget this birthday!
This video includes a view of the Murray Mouth (where the Murray River meets the sea) in South Australia, the locks where the fresh water and sea water are separated, the bridge between Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island, Goolwa and a bit at the end that shows me trying to take pics with my phone.
This video includes a view of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula as we came in to land at the Aldinga airfield. The pilot and I have a laugh after we land.