Christmas Island in the Pacific

Wednesday 17th May, 2002

I thought I might give Christmas Island a miss because I have the range to go directly to Pago Pago.

Willie convinced me to go to Christmas Island because I probably would be one of the few people in the world to have gone to both Christmas Islands, the one in the Indian Ocean and the one in the Pacific. Besides, Willie wanted me to give Toma the fuel guy some rice as a gift from both of us. So I am cruising at 7000 ft in F & B conditions on top of a layer of cu. headed for Christmas Island.

I have two hours to run and just been through about an hour of heavy rain. Ahead are the Charlie Bravo's that seem to be always around the Equator. (ITZ or doldrums I think it is called) I have had about 20 knots on the nose most of the way with the power back at 60% to conserve fuel. In the unlikely event I cannot land at Christmas Island, I could make Pago Pago with reasonable reserves.

The Charlie Bravo's were easy to dodge and the last 200 NM were F & B. Cassidy International is about 5 feet above sea level and they built the airport on the highest point.

Even though Willie had faxed my arrival details to the authorities and received a reply, no one is aware of my arrival. Toma turns up with the fuel barrels and has convinced me that the secret code on the side of the barrel meant April 2001. I was very sceptical of this fuel 100/130 AVGAS and tested it with the kit that the Mobil boys gave me at Archerfield. The test only tests for water contamination and was OK. So I took 1 barrel at $380 AUS or US$240. No credit cards. Only Australian dollars cash. After the Brazil problems, I will be careful how I use the fuel taken at Cassidy International.

You need a Visa to come to Christmas Island (Kiribati) and I have one. It seems a pity that no one from customs has bothered to see me.

Bone fishermen
Toma, the fuel man is a nice guy and appreciated the rice.

Now I have to lodge my flight plan and get the met. forecast for the 9 hour flight to Pago Pago tomorrow. No phones or fax at the Captain Cook hotel so the lady has offered to take me to London at 5:00 am tomorrow, a 30 minute drive each way. (I think the phones work sometimes but not today). So I enjoy a genuine VB on the coral beach and later have dinner with some Bonefish fishermen.
Flight time: 8 Hrs 20 Mins
Distance flown:
1,165 NM
Fuel used:
409 litres
Average ground speed:
139.9 kts
Average fuel consumption:
49.1 litres per hour


Pago Pago
Pago Pago
CHRISTMAS IS to PAGO PAGO (American Samoa)

Thursday 18th May, 2002

I have had a restless night thinking about the AVGAS. I should not have accepted the fuel as it was delivered. I had been warned to select my fuel barrel's at the depot some distance from the air field. When it turned up on the truck, I forgot the warning and felt obliged to accept what was here. All I know is that I have 200 litres of something that does not have any water contamination.

The ride into London ended up taking 3 hours and was fruitless. The phones did not work there either. So I have had to do the flight plan and get the weather on the HF Radio and did not get in the air until 9:00am. Things look OK but the Charlie Bravo's will be here to keep me alert.

I hope I don't have trouble entering Pago Pago, because I still did not see anyone from customs at Christmas.

Because I forgot to take a photo of the crabs that invade the Indian Ocean Christmas Island, I took one at the Pacific Christmas Island. Although they are a slightly different type of crab, there is just as many of them.

The fuel concern is over. The conditions generally fine an beaut with some light rain and a few spots of heavy rain. The decent into Pago Pago was great and I did not expect such a pretty looking Island. Unfortunately, the hotel phone was for Pago Pago only and I have been unable to contact anyone. Bob Bates tracked me to the Hotel and was able to do his "Mother Goose" thing with my flight plan and the weather. Thanks again Bob. I will meet with Bob at Nadi tomorrow.
Flight time: 8 Hrs 40 Mins
Distance flown:
1,268 NM
Fuel used:
394 litres
Average ground speed:
146.4 kts
Average fuel consumption:
45.5 litres per hour


Saturday 18th May, 2002

(depart 18th and arrive 20th due to the date line and the fact that Christmas Island is out of whack with the others) 


A 7:00 am departure in rain soon becoming f & b. I will be in Nadi for lunch and Bob has organised a couple of nights on one of the Islands. Great. Looking at my little blow up globe, I am so close to home and the end of my adventure. How will I ever settle down again? 

Flight time: 5 Hrs 32 Mins
Distance flown:
713 NM
Fuel used:
245 litres
Average ground speed:
128.9 kts
Average fuel consumption:
44.3 litres per hour


Off to Vomo

Monday 20th May, 2002

I cannot believe the my good fortune in the way my friends have looked after me.

No sooner had I cleared the formalities at Nadi, Bob had us on the Islander for a short flight to Mana, one of the top resort Islands in Fiji. I had a suite fit for a King with all of the trimmings and courtesy of Bob. Of course this included a Lobster dinner.  


Tuesday 21st May, 2002

New Friends
Unfortunately, the resort people need my room so we had to move. By 11 am we were on a Cessna 206 float plane and had lunch overlooking the beach on the much smaller and private Vomo Island. Again I have the honeymoon suite, deck overlooking the water, spa, hammock etc Life is tough at the moment.  

The Island has a small building (Rock's Restaurant) set over the rocks where you can enjoy the sunset and Island views. Bob, Anita Margarita and myself over indulged on Margaritas and more BBQ Lobster tails. What a day!!




Wednesday 22nd May, 2002

A walk to the top of the Island, followed by snorkelling. Later more Margaritas and some fun with new friends.  



VOMO ISLAND to Nadi (Fiji)

Thursday 23rd May, 2002

Today, back to the mainland to prepare for the last leg. It is 10 hours and I don't want to be late arriving home.

Thanks again Bob. Not only have you been a superb webmaster, you have made the last couple of days of my adventure something to be remembered forever. I don't think I was supposed to have this sort of luxury provided. I am meant to be toughing it out all  alone.  

Not Mt Wilhelm
Not Mt Wilhelm - But....
Only 1 more sleep...


Friday 24th May, 2002

The last leg of my around the world flight. Wow.

I had decided to stay the extra days at Fiji so have to miss Noumea. I hope the Aero club boys at Magenta will understand why I have had to do that.

The flight is about 10 hours and 1465 NM and I have had to plan carefully so as to arrive at Archerfield in time to meet my family and friends.

Last Supper
Last Supper
Unfortunately, I need to clear customs at Brisbane and then make the short flight to Archerfield. Customs were unable to arrange an Archerfield clearance even with good notice.

Courtesy of Mother Goose, the weather has been as good as it gets. Unfortunately, I have about 10 knots on the nose.  

Have passed Noumea but on top of 7/8 cu so did not see much of the Island we visited with the South Pacific Safari a few years ago. Not long ago, I would have considered a flight to Noumea a huge flight. Now I don't even bother to land for fuel.

I have been playing with the mixture settings. On this leg I thought I would go ROP (Rich of Peak) but have become used to having the extra landing fuel on board so have gone back to LOP (Lean of Peak).  

Arches of Water
Not much else to report. I am full of emotions about the adventure that is coming to an end and meeting with my family and friends. One thing of importance to note. My $20 coffee machine has packed it in, but with only three hours to go, I guess I should not complain. It has served me well on the long legs. And I have noticed that I still have a tin of sardines that Jen packed, so I will have a party. Notice that some of the eating utensils have suffered a little.

I thought I would be pleased to hear Brisbane on the HF. But I am not. I want to find a reason to tell him that I am on the last leg of my ATW.

Soon I will post the last details and statistics of my trip and send Claude Meunier some information for the "Earthrounders" web site. As well, I will try to reply to the people who have followed my trip in the "Guest Book" section of my own web site.

Welcome Home Earthrounder
I have had a fabulous trip and will enjoy being a member of the exclusive "360 Earthrounders" association.

I have many people to thanks but will do that later. But I must acknowledge a special few.

My family. Without the support of my family and in particular Jennifer, I could not have made this trip. I love them all and thank them from the bottom of my heart.

My business and staff. Without a good staff, I could not have made the trip and I thank them for their patience over the last couple of years where I have done little else but plan the trip. 

And the people who made and maintain my Bonanza, VH-TYE. It is a magnificent piece of machinery and has given me so much pleasure.  

Stand by for the tears.   
Distance flown:  1492 NM
Flight time:
8 Hrs 40 Mins
Fuel used:
495 litres
Average ground speed: 
146.7 kts
Average fuel consumption: 
48.7 litres per hour



Saturday 25th May, 2002

Not long after getting Brisbane on VHF, it became very clear that I would receive a fantastic welcome. The ATC boys in Brisbane had been alerted by the Gliding Club and we were on first name terms. "Welcome Home Bill"

A TV helicopter made me nervous for the landing, the Fire Engines with the hoses on full blast was special. I stopped to take a picture and with so much water could not see to get started again.  

My Family
On the short flight to Archerfield, the approach had to ask "was I planning to fly the distance with the wheels down". I new I would stuff something up.  

For weeks, I had been thinking about the arrival at my Hangar and was not disappointed. About 200 people had gathered and I was able to do the low-fast fly by salute.  

Jen and my girls had the hangar decorated with balloons and tags of all the places I had visited. They even had a V tail Bonanza made from balloons hanging from the ceiling.  

What a welcome.  

Thanks to all of those who came to the party and especially those who came from long distances. Thanks also for the gifts and awards which will find a special place as a reminder of my great experience.