May 12th - Djibouti
Djibouti is located
on the horn of east Africa in a very stratigic position for shipping
traffic. All of Ethiopia's imports/exports move through this small
port. The country has little trade and it is here that the Dubai
Port Authority is planning to help the country develop with plans
to create an international port. There is a very large military
presence here. Forces from France, US, Germany, Spain and the
UK all have troops based here. Their purpose is as part of an
anti terrorist force. Civil and military aircraft alike shares
the airport. The country is very poor with up to 80% unemployment
and yet very expensive. It was explained to us that everybody
who works is supporting about four families and the wage reflects
this. The only people who buy anything are military and with no
competition, the prices are set high.
We were in effect
out of contact here with no Internet facilities or mobile phone.
A special word of thanks must go to all the staff at Djibouti
airport. To David Hawker, Airport Director who made us very welcome
and allowed WF2003 to use the airport without charge.
Some light maintenance
was also required and the local military allowed the use of a
hanger for this to be completed. On the evening in question the
temperature hit 35C and the coolness of the hanger was very welcome.
The local fuel company does not hold oil in stock and we needed
a few litres for the next leg to Oman. To our rescue came Daniel
Martin, who flies Puma helicopters for the French Army. Daniel
also flies a Cessna 206 (with same piston engine as ours) and
managed to secure oil from the air force for us free of charge.
Many thanks Daniel for this and for meeting us for a beer later
in the evening, hi to Matilda from Paul and Alan.
was planned for the 12th May and all seemed well until we decided
to run the engine after maintenance. The battery was again flat.
It had taken very little charge enroute from Luxor. Again engineering
staff came to our rescue, removing the battery for us and returning
it fully charged. We refuelled late at night. This was the first
time we would take fuel from drums with the process taking about
2 hours to pump 600 litres.