Cocos is a beautiful place to stay.

Everything is clean and organized. People very nice too.

But if besides you are staying in a perfect room, as I did in Ninetysixeast, and you are hosted by Colin and his wife, what else could I say?

He was there, waiting for me at the airport. Then drove me into his hotel and invited me, together with his wife, for dinner.

All the time they have been taking care of me and easing everything

So, I was able to visit the west island. East island is more ¨Malay¨island, but saying ¨more¨ is just a way of writing. Just 150 people in the west and I think some 450 in the east.

Finally I was lucky to swim a little bit between the reef and the bright sanded beach, filled with Coconut trees. No sharks around, or if around, they were shy. Those ones are small ones, the same I saw just across my room, black top finned.

Bigger ones are away from the reef.

I would like to have dived with the giant Manta Rays at the lagoon, but no time for that. I was able to see Pulu Maria island, a 20m wide island at the south of Cocos (Keeling , because of the Captain who discovered those). Length is also very short.

During the 17 century, another Captain took his two kids there ( you can go walking from the main Island)img_5045

Pulu Maria

Then he missed them and never saw his kids again.

The island is so small that it is unbelievable. May be they were taken the current from the sea into the lagoon, but even though, we are talking about some 50 or 60 cms depth there.

The little lady is called Maria. Pulu, is the Malay name of Island, so the name of it is Pulu Maria.

I felt very sad on that.

Geoff and Helen were the ones to receive my 200 avgas drum from mainland Australia.

I tried to have them selling me some mogas, but no way. The Shell policy doesn´t allow to refuel Mogas on airplanes. It was nice to have loaded enough Avgas at Maldives Gan airport ( thank you Paco and Mayte!).

Only problem did happen when the place the airplane was stationed was not horizontal, so some of my fuel was lost through my right wing external tank.

Later on, Colin helped me out to fix that problem, and to avoid more fuel drain ( thank you Colin !)

Also I fixed the elevator problem: It was quite hard to move it during the approach at Cocos. Even the autopilot was not able to override such ¨hardness¨.

Controls have to be soft, and I could not allow to fly anymore with that issue.

I checked the inside links and found out that there was corrosion at the elevator horn bearing.

I have it cleaned and lubricated, and now is working perfect.

Also I was able to fix the aethalometer, that was not working as we wished. Silly things can drive nuts!

On 21st, is was time to leave. Get up call at 0400. Scheduled take off time, at 0500 am local.

At 0420, Colin was waiting for me with a nice breakfast. His wife also got up to say good bye.

What can I say?


0445, I was forwarding the throttle and gently taking off, to stay low. I turned my tail camera on, but something went wrong, so I have no images of the islands in flight.

I flew over Pulu Maria, and then along the coast until the island ended, and it did it soon.

If you watch my climbs at Spidertracks, you will see how shallow they are. Some 200 or 100 fpm.

That is the way to avoid overheating the engine.

Trade winds (vientos aliseos) are interesting. I am not sure if what I have experienced is a temporary weather situation or it is the usual way.

Winds were blowing form the east, so headwinds for me. But at 10000 feet, the winds turned into west winds, and nice tailwinds. Also the weather information was showing that the higher, the better. So I planned to some 12000 ft.

Weight and 75% max continuous power did not allow for speed. Altogether with strong headwinds, I was doing really slow, less than 85 kts of Ground Speed: not nice, not nice !

I climbed to 12000 ft, some 13000 ft Density Altitude and everything look promising.

My Iridium phone didn´t work. It indicated that I was denied for the access…..

I didn´t like that because if down, my survival could be conditioned.

Later I knew that Spidertracks, Iridium based, didn´t work either.

Iridium service has been fully restored at October 21 0230 UTC. Track data generated for the period from October 20 2200 UTC to October 21 0230 UTC is unavailable and cannot be recovered. Starting from October 21 0230 UTC all Spidertracks services are operating as normal.

I started to study again the HF radio (good those pdf files) and finally I was able to communicate with Brisbane, That was good for them also, as they are tracking my safety.

Also a P3 Orion, my dear airplane when at the Air Force, was stationed at Cocos, so good also for my safety, should I have to swim.


My dear RV8 with my dear P3 Orion


When flying higher than 12500 ft, the oxygen is mandatory in some countries. I have flown many times higher than that, but it was a moment yesterday that I had a headache . Even though I was at 12000 ft, I decided to descend a little bit. Also to drink a lot and eating something. Soon I was feeling better. Finally I used 10500 ft as cruising level. Not the best one for tailwinds, but good enough.

Clock was turning around and I kept switching fuel valves


The left wing external tank breather showed some fuel strakes, so I started to use those tanks, to lower the level.

Usually the right ones gets empty before the left one. So no problem.

When some 10 gallons were left, engine sputtered and almost stopped. That was like taking 10 coffees together, so quite exciting.

Fast enough, I turned to the main tanks and everything went fine.

Later I used 7,5 of those 10 gallons just by not flying wing levelled. Left wing was set a little bit higher than the right one.

I know that somebody is going to tell be that flying sideslip is not efficient, but it is always more efficient than being unable yo use that fuel ( even though I had four hours reserve).

Later, at Port Hedland, I discovered that the vent was not fully aligned with the wind, and instead of producing pressure in the tank, it was sucking from it. Easy to fix, but not pleasant during the flight.

I think that it is good news, as Antarctica is the place to have everything perfect.

Sea was rough, may be rough enough to use the parachute instead of ditching into a concrete slope.

Later on, it changed into a nice soft surface and ships started to be in view. Freighters and fishing ones.

Also I was finally turned into VHF frequency. VHF was unbearable, because of background noise.

I think that the aircraft loaded static electricity, via the trailing HF antenna.

I will work about to improve that. If unable, I will have to suffer that disturbing noise (the one that you listen if squelch is not working).



Short final Port Hedland

Landing was fine, and I was guided to the light aircrafts apron. Whenever light aircrafts are around, it is very good .

People from Health and Australian Border Line were waiting for me. All I can say is that they are quite nice and helpful. It is wide welcome !

Later on, I was driven into Port Hedland city, by Carol Kilby, from the Airport, even though her home was just opposite way. Thank you very much, Carol !

So, now I have landed my own aircraft, all the continents but one: Antarctica.

Soon, I will fly there and choose the right day for the 14 to 15 hours flight into Mario Zucchelli Italian Station. Endurance will not be a problem, so that is good and safe.

Aircraft is behaving nicely, and sure my kisses help.


Colin Bloomfield -- Cocos Keeling Islands / Oct 22, 2016 8:49 am / Reply

Hello Michel, nice to see your blog and all was fine between Cocos and Port Hedland. I tracked you all the way to see how you got on.
Even after only a few days everyone on Cocos knew who you were. Good luck on your adventures.

Kind regards Colin and Christine Bloomfield 22 Oct 2016.

Carol Kilby / Oct 25, 2016 10:40 am / Reply

Such a pleasure to meet you Miguel, and listen to your plans and to learn a little about you and the Black carbon. As promised, I am sending the photos and your story to the local paper and when published, I will send it to you. Glad to assist with lift to and from accomodation, the least I could do.
I hope you enjoyed your short stay in Port Hedland, Cocos Island it is not! Haha.
All the very best, will be watching your flight and wishing you well.

Kind regards Carol.

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