This day took place during the stage of my CPL in which I had to concentrate on “building up hours”. Another requirement for these hours was that I also spent time flying cross-country on more long-distance types of flights. Being a keen bodyboarder or what some people would call a ‘boogie boarder’ from a young age, I always thought it would be such a perfect way to meet the criteria - to fly somewhere up the coast with some friends to go get waves. One day I saw a pretty good swell forecast for one of my favourite waves close to the town of Lamberts Bay on the West Coast of South Africa. I had flown to the dirt strip before and knew that it was well maintained. I called up my best friend Wilder and another friend Mark and asked if they would be keen to join me on a little expedition. Both being fellow keen watermen and photographers, I didn’t expect anything less than an excited “Yes!”
The town was roughly 1OONM away from my home airfield of Morningstar. I prepped and booked the C172 out for the flight. Everything was perfect and the flight went well. We had just touched down in the airfield right before the dreaded coastal fog pulled in. We arranged for a local farmer we knew to come pick us up and drop us off at the beach and told us that we should call him when we were ready to go back to the airfield.
As we got down to the beach and I opened my bag I realized I had forgotten my wetsuit in the car back at the airfield. It was a shocking realization as the Atlantic Ocean is normally disgustingly cold – enough to knock the breath out of you – and with my wetsuit left uselessly stranded at a West Coast airfield, I had no choice but to bite the bullet and go in my boardshorts. It was a tough time, let me tell you! However, the waves were fun, and it was great to spend a day on the beach with friends. The board shorts were handy then!
The sun started dipping lower in the horizon and we decided it was time to head back to the plane to ensure that we completed our flight and made it back home before the sun set. The farmer was not answering, and I started to worry a little bit. We were saved by the arrival of some more people on the beach who happened to be people we knew who agreed to drop us off at the airfield. It was great because they were excited to watch our departure. We had such an amazing flight back watching the sunset as we arrived back in the windy Cape.
Safe to say, if we had left any later than we did, we would have had to divert to Cape Town International where there were sufficient lights to land. It was a great trip overall, with memories that I will not ever forget. I definitely look forward to doing another of these trips but in the 210 and with even more friends (and my wetsuit!)