HDFC Fly-away Weekend @ Yamba & Palmers Island - 30 May - 1 June 2014


Participants - Veronica & Ray Lind; Lorraine & Bruce Dunlop; Stephanie & Alex Pursehouse; Vicky & Ted Whitfield; Lyndal & Bill Coote; Reta & Jon Maguire

Written by Veronica Lind

Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the trip to Yamba but as the days draw near the weather seemed to be dampening the pilots’ spirits. Ray and I decided to drive up anyway on 30 May morning. I was pleased that a few other couples have decided to do the same and not let the weather affect this yearly trip. Ray promised that the yuppie shops in Yamba will make the nearly 300 km journey worth my while. I quickly did my research and e-mailed to the girls a list of shops which may appeal to us. I also alerted my sister and brother-in-law (who is Scottish) that I will visit the Scottish town, Maclean along the way and send them some photos.

30 May was such a beautiful day. We stopped at Anchors Wharf at Urunga for lunch. Ray remembered skiing along the waters there as a teenager. We continued our journey towards Coffs Harbour. Lorraine and I were busy texting and playing Words with each other during the drive up. Coincidentally our cars passed each other there, but we went onwards to Maclean. I did not see any men in kilts nor tossing the tabor and there wasn’t much of a Scottish feel about it except the painted tartans on the poles along the streets and the toilets labeled Lads and Lassies. I was disappointed.

We finally arrived at Moby Dick greeted by Stephanie and Alex. All of us adjourned to the Cootes’ room for drinks before heading to a Chinese restaurant across the road for dinner. Reta, Jon, Ray and I did not opt for the banquet dinner and ordered our “Asian special” instead but the cook wasn’t impressive. We had fun anyway with Alex being the bartender, as the restaurant, technically, could not sell alcohol.

We woke up to rain on 31 May, but Lyndal was already knitting away on the balcony. The boys were giving weather updates back to Port and hoping for a change. Well, it was decided, they couldn't fly. Sigh. We met for breakfast at the Yamba Cafe Marina. The boys and Lyndal took a ferry across Iluka but could only have coffee chit chat at the wharf because of the rain. The girls had a wild time shopping for shoes, clothes and knick knacks. Lorainne, Stephanie and I bought the same jumper and we had to wear it for dinner that night. That was the highlight of our trip :-) We then adjourned back to Moby Dick for a quick round of mahjong and afternoon tea with Reta’s home baked cookies. The boys visited the McIntyres air strip to admire the airplanes in Bob’s hangar. Dinner was at Yamba Shores Tavern and a group of us adjourned to Moby Dick’s BBQ area for more drinks. Maybe too many drinks when the boys tried to look like Elvis wearing Alex’s sunnies and Ray kept saying “Shhhh, don’t spit on your finger, Shhhh”, something he learnt from Alex. I think the Cootes were disturbed by the noise we made and left very early the next morning! Sorry, Bill and Lyndal!

During breakfast at the corner cafe, we saw Alex and Ted flying on Alex’s trike. Stephanie was waving on the street corner to get their attention but that didn’t seem to work! We met at the air strip after checking out. It was such a beautiful day again. Pity the other pilots couldn’t come up. The girls posed for photos in front of the trike. We also learnt that Alex’s nick name is Ajax (named after the cleaning product because he was such a clean freak). Alex generously offered us a flight, so Bruce went up, then Ray, then urgh, ME!

Alex was very assuring, very gentle so I could test this flight just hovering above the runway. How was that and perhaps we can go a little higher!? Alex had just boosted my confidence and I felt I could trust him totally. Actually, I was thrilled. The shadow of the trike looked like a bird and I felt like a bird. I put my hand out and wham, the wind swept it backwards. Wow, you couldn’t feel that effect in a plane. I could see the thick sugar cane lined up below me, the prawn farms, my red Hyundai and the friends waiting for me below. I’ve never seen my car from the top before. It’s a different perspective up there …. ok, now I see why pilots are so thrilled when they fly. Well, I would want to try this again some time in the future, when the weather is CALM! That flight makes this Yamba trip very memorable for me :-) Thank you HDFC and thank you Alex for the opportunity!

Stephanie Pursehouse, Veronica Lind and Lorraine Dunlop had to buy the same outfit!

Lorraine Dunlop, Veronica Lind, Stephanie Pursehouse and Victoria Whitfield posing on Alex's trike. Veronica was brave enough to fly on it for a bit.

The HDFC team enjoying Chinese dinner.

#flyaway #palmersisland #yamba

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