Tuesday, 18 December 2018
I’m disappointed if my travels don’t take me to some ‘new’ (for me) countries each year and this year was certainly a good one in that department with nine previously unvisited locations – that’s the next blog. Some great aerial views also make me happy and there have been a few of those.
▲ Right at the end of the year, on my way from Dubai to Baku in Azerbaijan, the best view of the year popped up outside my window. Sometimes you just have to get lucky, the weather was perfectly crystal clear, I’d accidentally chosen the right side of the Fly Dubai 737 and there right below me was Mt Damavand, Iran’s classic mountain under classic winter snow. It’s between Tehran and the Caspian Sea and over the years I’ve seen it a few times, but from below rather than above.
▲ It was a Fly Dubai 737 again when we flew right over Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on my way from Asmara in Eritrea to Dubai, again, earlier this year. I noted ‘There are 70 or 80 pax, rather more than the other way at the start of this trip, but still pleasantly uncrowded.
I switch sides soon after take-off, better views not looking into the sun and we fly a rather strange route, more or less directly north across a lot of empty Eritrea, then along empty Eritrean coast, the road runs quite a distance inland, the coast is desert and deserted. Then we’re across the Red Sea for a surprisingly long distance before we reach the Saudi coast directly over Jeddah at which point we turn east and fly right across Saudi Arabia, emerging on the Gulf a bit north of Dubai.’
◄ From a 737 again, but this time with Belavia, the airline of Belarus, flying from Minsk to London. Nothing special below, just a lot of nice green farmland on another crystal clear day. Presumably it was Poland although it could have been Germany.
◄ In May, flying to London on a Singapore Airlines A380 I played with in flight internet and as we approached Heathrow here’s my iPad showing me all the other aircraft around us on the FlightRadar24 app. I blogged that all one of Putin’s Buk missile-men had to do was look at his smartphone to absolutely know who they were shooting down. They could have chosen a Singapore Airlines 777 or an Air India 787 instead or even shot down all three.
▲ But finally – and happier – my other aerial view of the year. I’d just been by boat to Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago south of Western Australia and as I flew back to Melbourne from Perth I spotted the island with its bright pink lake from my Qantas 737 window. In fact it was a long way down and quite a bit north, but my pocket size Canon G1X clearly does the job. Click here for a wonderful Red Bull YouTube clip getting much closer to Lake Hillier.