Day 13 for Double Trouble in the Outback Air Race 2001

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Shute Harbour to Undara

Today's racing actually proved to be a little bit complicated. We were losing the half of Double Trouble and a Half: We had to drop Heather off at Townsville on the way North as she was heading south again.

The start way point was to the South of Townsville and the finish way point was to the North of Townsville. Because Townsville is a controlled airport (ie there is someone with a bit of responsibility in the tower), we had to allow time for clearance delays both flying into and out of Townsville.

We allowed so much time that we landed at Ingham to the North of Townsville where we cooled our heels for about an hour and a half. Here we had to dodge the wallabies (small kangaroos) on landing and take off.

Jens got itchy to get back in the air (about 20 minutes too early), so we wound up doing lots of circling on the way to the finish point.

Once we got to Undara we learned that Barry and Judy Matulick of the Saratoga Saracens had withdrawn from the day's racing and might not make it for the rest of the trip: Their alternator in failed.

They spent the night in Townsville hoping to get a new alternator flown up from Brisbane and fitted in time to be able to rejoin us at Adel's Grove before end of daylight on the following day.

Undara is the site of the famous Lava tubes that were created by a volcano some 300,000 years ago during a massive 1 year eruption of a local volcano.

The tubes whose walls were made of slowly cooling lava are about 25m (75 foot) in diameter. You can actually walk into some of them during a guided tour:

We stayed in some refurbished railway carriages (sorry no photos) and tonight's entertainment was, appropriately, Murder on the Orient Express. We had to dress up as various characters with Jens being given Robert Julius Oppenheimer. Dirk was Thornton Powel-Smythe III, who turned out to be the murderer and discovered, in disgrace, committed suicide with a pop-gun.

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