Saturday, 1 July 2017

Flight to Sorel airport near Montreal and country no 85 in my balloon logbook

30th of June: flight from Schefferville to Sorel/Montreal

The routing of our Trans-Atlantic tour

Being up early to check the weather I found that winds were reasonably light but in the wrong direction. There was no way I could risk a flight without the help of Gilles support and vehicles. So that was that.
the abandoned seaplane 
Going for a jog instead then allowed me to discover an abandoned seaplane by a lake to which I later returned driven by another friendly local guy called David. I managed to communicate with him in my rusty French and learned that the pilot of the aircraft died a few months ago of a brain hemorrhage.

All aeroplanes refuelled and ready we had to say good-bye to Mark and Rocky as they were heading towards the US.
flying over rivers and mountains towards Montreal

Our flight this time took us 540miles heading South towards Montreal covering initially vast areas of more forest and lakes and rivers before the scenery turned to civilization and we spotted more roads, cars, houses, power lines, fields and churches!

Our outback adventures comes to an end. I felt partly sad but also relieved to have made it through some of the toughest terrains on this planet without any harm and I was ever so grateful to our sturdy Betty and to John for his fantastic flying skills. So now I only needed to get Canada in my balloon logbook.
bye bye empty countryside!
And the weather didn’t look promising at all with low cloud, some drizzle and heavy showers en route…

At 2pm we touched down at the little friendly airstrip of Sorel, near St Lawrence Bay. A guy named Louis very kindly drove me to town immediately after landing as we were desperate to finally get hold of some local Canadian currency! We had been more than 3 days now in this country without a bank and a penny of cash on us.
waiting fort things to happen at the airfield cafe bar
Whilst I was down town Phil was desperately trying to sort out hangarage for our aeroplane. So far with no success as every hint turned out to be either too expensive, or too far off route or didn’t have a hangar or too short a runway.

As I returned to the strip at 4pm with Louis I noticed the wind sock just hanging down like a ripe banana from a tree! Let’s go and try to fly NOW!! The weather looked somewhat dodgy but it might just hold and there were no thunderstorms forecast – only the potential rain cloud.
Tim ready for his flight in the tiny folding basket
Surprising Tim with the offer to jump into my basket we both took off from the airfield  at 4.45pm and flew right over Betty! Sooo good to be in the air in a balloon again! Winds were light and heading into just the right direction towards a small country road. 
flying over Betty with another aircraft taxing below us
As I didn’t want to push my luck, I took the first available field that wasn’t crop (and there was a lot of that!) and called it a day! With sweat on our bodies (yes it was extremely humid and a wonderful 24 degrees!!) we packed the kit quickly away and brought it back to the aeroplane.
final landing on a field track
Country no 85 firmly in my book it was time to celebrate a hugely successful journey with 3 balloon flights, stunning aeroplane flying and a great team overall!

After a long wait for transport the friendly airport cafĂ© personnel drove us to our little Motel in Sorel and we spend a very pleasant evening at the restaurant ‘San Marino’.

 It was great to see darkness again by 10pm and I slept extremely well.

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