Five pigs, three sheep, a busted arse, stacking it off utes, a broken plane, blisters, a bogged “Battle” cruiser and a stoned dog " – The Charleville Experience!

     About 4pm on New Years Eve I got a phone call “Mevo, we are flying out tomorrow arvo, not o'dark o'clock on the second.” Well there goes my New Year's Eve I think, as I have to pack for this weeklong trip and pack now!

     It all started just under a month beforehand when I had a look at the Shirehunters.com (my local hunting forum) and I saw Jamie put out an invitation to come with him and some of his mates on a central Queensland hunting trip. Having met Jamie beforehand at a pub with some of the Shirehunters blokes I knew he was a good bloke, and I am single and getting a leave pass from Mrs Palmer wasn’t hard, I had the cash in reserve and two days beforehand I had leave approved for the time that the trip would be on so it was meant to be and I immediately sent a message to Jamie saying I was in.

     I was told that you normally need a lot of rounds for this place so I went out and basically handed over my credit card to my gun guy and ordered hundreds of projectiles, two bottles of powder and some more cases. I also had to track down the last .20 cal 39 grain blitz kings in Sydney to load for my .204 that loves the things. Many days were spent in the garage at my reloading bench. My New Years Eve ended not long after mid night as I was planning to be up at a civilised hour to give me plenty of time to get to Bankstown Airport and have all my gear in order. I was dropped off at the Airport at 1330 and met up with the five other people I was going with, Mark out pilot, Chook, Speedy, Frank and Jamie. Speedy also brought along his sooky, but awesome Staghound "Girl". We loaded up our plane, a twin engine Piper Chieftain and we were in the air by 1500.

     After an uneventful two hours in the air we landed at Walgett for fuel and to stretched our legs and to let the dog have a little run and some water. Within half an hour we were in the air again. After another two hours in the air we landed on the red dirt strip of the station we were going to be hunting on for the week. The cocky came over and said g’day and drove us and out gear over to the shearers’ quarters, our home for the next week. To my surprise it was very green, and there was water everywhere as there had been recent good rains. It was also the first time I had been to red dirt territory as well so it was a little strange to me.

     This station, which ran cattle, was massive! 200,000 acres at least. After we dropped our gear off and got our rooms sorted in the shearers’ quarters we jumped into our transport for the week, an old Land Cruiser ute which we later named "The Battle Cruiser HMAS Arsebuster" and went out on the light. That night we shot a few rabbits with Frank's lever action 410 shotgun…. using solids and with a .22 using subsonics. The 410 was less than effective with solids on rabbits, he kept missing! Changing to shot changed that. We drove down to one of the many dams on the property and set a few yabbie traps in the dam with rabbit meat as bait and left the other rabbits as pig bait in front of a game camera.

     I said the first HTFU of the trip when Jamie said he didn’t want to walk out to set yabbie traps because he didn’t want to have to walk through mud to get to the dam! We found out a few days later we were wasting our time when we found empty yabbie traps with rancid meat in them and 400 odd photos of crows on the game camera. Hmmn…. If only I bothered to sit off the game camera with my 204. We spotted a fox on the return trip but sadly didn’t get a shot at it before it ran off into the mulga bush never to be seen again.

     We returned to the shearers’ quarters to have a beer and a chat before getting off to sleep. Speedy had the right idea, as he was sleeping out on the veranda in a mozzie net instead of inside the hot and stuffy shearer's quarters like the rest of us. I also found a pup curled up underneath my bed. After I threw the little mutt out it crashed next to Speedy on the veranda. I awoke the next morning to the sounds of Speedy's .22, as he was sitting right outside my window shooting branches out of a tree with subsonics. Frank joined him shooting branches out of the tree, and I went out for a shower. When I walked out of the shower block I saw a big spray of water coming from somewhere near the trees Speedy was shooting at. I later saw Frank and Speedy walking out there to have a look at the spray. Turns out Frank decided to have a shot at an ice cream container….. that was sitting on top of a poly pipe. And the worst thing was that there was quite a few disused poly pipes out there and he hit the only one that was still in use!

     After Frank had his serve of humble pie he went over to the cocky and explained what had happened and they quickly fixed it, so all was good. I then had to zero my Tikka T3 in .243 as the cheapo scope on it died on the way home from the range after I zeroed it last time, no more than two weeks before I was due to fly out, and the gun shops were closed. The Vortex Viper I had sitting on top was a much better bit of glass and thanks to Anthony at Vortex Australia I had it in my hands in less than a week.  We had bacon and eggs and then Mark, Jamie, Frank and I set out on the cruiser to one of the lower paddocks to start looking for some pigs! We went to the “lake paddock” which most of the time is a paddock, but once every few years (like now) is a lake! We took a few hours to get down there as we stopped at other locations to have a look at some other promising places and have a quick walk, but nothing was sighted.

     When we got to the lake paddock we dismounted and glassed the edge of the lake but only saw cattle. We then formed and extended file along the edge of the lake and started looking for pigs. Mark was on the waters edge, Frank was 40 meters from Mark, Jamie was another 40 or 50 meters from Frank and I was on the far left flank about 50 meters from Jamie.

     Mark and Frank had spotted some fresh pig tracks in the mud. We followed the lakes edge and the pig tracks for a few kilometres and then out of nowhere a pig jumped out slightly behind Jamie, which Frank spotted and he put the call out that there was a pig! I had not heard this call because I had earplugs in. I was walking along and then the pig came crashing out of the scrub no more than ten meters in front of me! This pig then turned 90 degrees so it was running straight away from me!

     I was thinking at the time “Oh shit that’s a pig… I’m supposed to shoot that.” I threw my Tikka T3 (in .243 of course) to my shoulder and chambered a round. I lined the pig up and when I had a clear shot at the pig it was about 50 or 60 meters away. I squeezed the trigger and in the scope I saw that beautiful red mist coming from the left side of the pigs back. I quickly chambered another round but couldn’t get a clear shot. I yelled out “I have tagged a pig, Texas heart shot!” and saw those on my right give chase. Adrenaline charging through my body I de-cocked my rifle and also gave chase.  Ahead of me and to the right I heard another two shots, this time from Jamie’s Ruger .243 and when I finally caught up I saw Mark and Jamie with a light brown spotted boar. It had a big messy wound on its left hand side from my 95 grain SST and another graze on its right hand side from a 90 gr BT from Jamie's .243.

     The first pig of the trip had fallen to the mighty 243! Hands were shaken, celebratory cans of soft drink cracked open and the boar examined. This was the first pig I had ever shot so I was pretty stoked. After about ten minutes we got on our way again and we had not gone more than a few meters and Mark was yelling out that he had sighted another pig ahead of us and he took off after it. He claimed it was a grey one but no one else had spotted it. 

     We then followed the lake for a few more kilometres and only saw a rabbit breaking out from under a bush, which was too fast for any of us so we left it alone. We finally made our way to a cattle trough that normally had pigs hanging around it, but as there was water everywhere the pigs didn’t have to be there. We then turned around and walked the five or so kilometres back to the ute, not sighting anything of interest. It was by then that I was feeling it on the balls of my feat, that dreaded hot spot when you are getting blisters. I knew I should have worn some better socks. I put band aids over the blisters every morning and they were fine. I also had sunburnt hands. One side of my family is Dutch, and the other is English/Irish so I pretty much burn under fluorescent lighting. Every part of my body besides my hands was covered, and I put sunscreen on about four times that day but the Queensland sun still went straight through it.

     When we got to the shearers quarters Speedy and Chook who stayed behind were nowhere to be seen. After about 45 minutes they came back with the cocky. Turns out speedy went for a drive with the cocky to check dams and paddocks and had got him self bogged, even though he said “I have lived here all my life, I wont get bogged, she’ll be right.” They then walked the twenty odd kilometres back to the house and they saw three goats in a paddock but didn’t have a go at them as they were too far away and they had to get back to the house! When Speedy and the cocky went back out, to get the bogged ute out the cocky almost got the second ute bogged in the same spot even though Speedy was saying “Let’s see how far the cable stretches”. When they finally got back we had a beer and a big laugh about the cocky getting bogged and then a feed of sausages.

     That night we went out on the light to explore more parts of the property, and only saw a few roos which we left alone and a rabbit taken with the .22. The next morning we had a sleep in and again Speedy was shooting branches out of the gum tree. After a feed of bacon and eggs we again boarded the Battle Cruiser HMAS Arsebuster and went off looking for some pork. We drove around to quite a few various water holes and swamps around the station and we dismounted and had an armed bush walk around the water to check for sign but didn’t see much of anything besides a lot of mosquitos.

      Late in the afternoon we drove into a clearing with quite a few large puddles of water in it looking for some pigs when, just as we were about to drive off Frank spotted a sheep about 150 meters away, and Chook spotted two other near it! Now this station has not run sheep for years so we have been told to shoot whatever feral sheep we see. These poor sheep must have had years of wool on them and they were suffering in the heat. They didn’t even try to run away and we all opened fire to put them out of their misery. When we went over to check the sheep we couldn’t see the bullet wounds due to how thick the wool was. It had to be at least 100 mm thick. We then drove to a few more swamps and called it a day. On the return trip we saw a wedge tailed eagle nest with a few well grown chicks. After dinner we decided to have an early night and give the light a miss so we could go out at “sparrow fart” to check the dams.

     Speedy was first up as he was sleeping on the veranda, and he woke everyone else up but that was still an hour and a half after sun up at least. I quickly got ready to go but a few people rolled over and went back to sleep! Eventually everyone got up and we set off around our usual time of 10 or 11… I didn’t really know or care because I had taken my watch off on the first night and had no worries. It was fantastic to get away from it all. We set off on the Battle Cruiser that by then had been given the name “HMAS Arsebuster” because I kept commenting that I will have a busted arse after bouncing around on the ute tray because the shockies have had it years ago, one of which was dangling uselessly from the rear axle.

      We made our way to some more swamps and bore drains and had an armed bush walk around them and saw some old sign but no. Again in the afternoon, around three or so we were driving towards a spot that has always held pigs and before we even got there we saw a boar, sow and a few suckers not more than twenty meters off the left side of the road. The Battle Cruiser HMAS Arsebuster pulled to a stop and these pigs got hit by a whole broad side! A .308, .375 H&H, two .243’s, a 6.8 SPC and after the driver got out a pump .30-06 opened up on these pigs and suckers. The boar got hit hard by Chook's .308 and Speedy's .375 and fell pretty much on the spot, and I knew I got at least one round into the sow, which ran off but went no more than 20 meters, as it was very messed up.

     Those of us on the tray jumped off and went through the scrub at the side of the road looking for the sow and suckers. Jamie had a shot one of the suckers with his .243, but didn’t see where it went and Mark had a few shots at the fleeing suckers but they disappeared into the bushes. We then formed an extended file to check the edge of the lake we were at for any other pigs in the area but didn’t see anything. We then went and inspected the slain boar and the sow. Now the boar wasn’t too big, but the sow as a decent size and was pregnant with another bunch of piglets.

     And wasn’t the sow in bad shape. It must have been hit in the guts by the .375 H&H because there were sausages and gizzards everywhere and we couldn’t tell how many times it got hit. They got their shit  well & truly ruined. We then took a few photos and then had a celebratory can of drink and a quick snack and we mounted up again to drive off. 

We got no more than 30 meters down the road when off to the left Jamie found the sucker he had shot! After a few photos we hung it from the bulbar with some fencing wire, named it “spider pig” and continued on our way.

     We then drove off to another swamp looking again for pigs and mark went and got the Battle Cruiser bogged! The other blokes who had been up before said that they were starting to get worried that Mark wouldn’t get bogged on this trip as it is part of the experience. The right wheels were bogged and bogged deep, even up to the diff eventually. We then dug out the wheels, dug a track for the wheels and stuffed a whole lot of bushes under the wheels and in the track for traction. We also jacked up the side. By then end we had traction on all wheels except the front right so we put Speedy there to put his fat arse there to hold the wheel down.

     After much swearing, digging and strategic placement of bushes we got the ute out of the bog. We drove back to the shearer’s quarters for some well-earned beers and a barbie. That night the cocky and his family came over for a chat, and his daughter brought us over a Bundy rum mud cake with ice cream! A few hours later we went out on the light and finally let Speedy's Staghound "Girl" have a go at some rabbits. I was impressed, that dog is like a spotlight guided missile. It hits those rabbits bloody hard & fast. I want a staghound. A little later in the night I picked up a rabbit in the spot light about 150 m away and Frank who was on the very back of the tray was standing up when the driver sped up to close the distance to the rabbit for the dog. The dog jumps off the ute and is rapidly closing the distance to the rabbit. It was a great chase, with the rabbit going towards the fence and then deciding to go back  the other way.

     And then Chook started yelling out “Frank, he’s behind us!” “yeah we know he is behind us” “Frank’s bloody behind us!” “Yeah we know” “Turn the fucking light around!” We then saw Frank rolling around on the ground and moaning about 50 meters behind us. I then got that sinking feeling and I thought “oh shit, that could be a broken bone or concussion and split open skull or anything”. I stayed on the back of the ute holding the light over Frank while the others checked and treated him. Girl, the Staghound came trotting over all disappointed that she didn’t get to nail that rabbit we had the light on as we forgot about it when we realised Frank stacked it. Luckily all he had was a few grazes and was more worried about his now bulldust filled rifle. Frank then got in the passengers seat and we all jumped back onto the ‘cruiser and slowly made our way back to the shearers quarters for a beer and to again have a big laugh over the days events. Frank even copped it for loosing that rabbit because he had to go and stack it off the ute!

     The next morning we had a sleep in and Frank understandably got up a little stiff and sore. We had a feed of bacon and eggs off the barbie and loaded up the ute again. Speedy had put a dodgy chair from the shearers quarters on the tray to sit on instead of sitting on the esky or the tray or standing and hanging on to the ute and I thought it didn’t look good. We again set off for the lake paddock area. We checked a few water holes and paddocks but found no fresh sign or anything else of interest so we made our way to where we had shot those pigs the day before and formed and extended file to check the swampy area there but found no recent sign. We then set off for a corner of the lake paddock we hadn’t checked.

     As Charleville is dry and a few degrees hotter than Sydney had been (it had been mild in Charleville, with the temperature between 30 and 35 on the days we had been there) I was making sure to keep my fluids up, and I had pretty much drinking from my canteens every twenty minutes. By the time we got to this section of the lake paddock I was busting for a leak so the first thing I did after jumping off the Battle Cruiser HMAS Arsebuster was to walk to a tree fifteen meters to the left and have a leak. I slung my rifle and got my gear out and was about to let the stream go when I heard chook behind me yelling about a pig “over there”. Turns out he was pointing in my direction and I saw a few blokes run past me and I was still standing there with my cock in my hand wondering what was going on. 

     Turns out that a dirty big pig, estimated at 120 kilos plus had broken from some scrub no more than five meters away from me but I was concentrating more on having a leak and I had earplugs in so I didn’t see or hear this pig! I quickly zipped up and grabbed my rifle off its sling and also gave chase. The pig had run through the fence and into the neighbour's sheep station and we gave chase. When you have hundreds of thousands of acres there is a bit of give and take in boundaries, and the neighbour does not mind us crossing the fence to retrieve or chase ferals if we don’t go too far in and we do the right thing by him. Four of us went over the fence and formed a sort of extended file to try and see where this pig had gone.

     After going a few hundred meters in we couldn’t see where the pig had gone so turned back. I got back over the fence and had finally had that leak before going back over for a chat and another drink from the esky where I had shit put on me for that pig breaking right near me while I had my cock in my hand. I also heard Mark on the radio said he had found some still steaming pig shit. That’s when I heard a hail of gun fire from the scrub about 150 meters away from me.

      Mark had gone down into the scrub with Speedy's IAC lever action shotgun looking for more pigs and had seen pig tracks of all sizes and that very fresh turd and had tracked a boar that was lying doggo no more than five meters away from him in a wallow. Turns out a Sako TRG-42 in .338 Lapua Magnum isn’t really a fast handling scrub gun. Those of us still around the ute ran off to get into a position to head off whatever it was Mark had found but Speedy was already in position overlooking a clearing and while I was still running to get into position I heard the boom of his .375 H&H. A bloody big pig had trotted across the clearing that was no more than ten meters wide and Speedy had nailed it off hand at 80 meters. The boar had gone no more than five meters with the last breath left in it's lungs. He had placed the shot perfectly, putting the 220 grain soft nosed pill straight into the boiler room of this big old boar.

     We then quickly formed an extended file and had a quick sweep of the scrub around the waters edge to see if we could find any more pigs in the area, but didn't find any. There was only a small entry would and we couldn't find and we couldn't find an exit wound when we first checked the boar, and no blood trail from where it had been hit. This pig was huge, Speedy estimated it to be 105 kilos, and to our surprise came in at 103 kilos 18 hours after it had been shot, so with its blood still in it would have been easily 105 kilos. We found that this pig had a big set of hooks (tusks) that Speedy later took as a trophy and had a big thick cartilage “bash plate” around its heart lungs area, along with multiple scars and a ripped ear from its fights with other boars,  and plenty of mud on its white and black spotted hide. We later named the pig Frank because it had a bit toothy grin like Frank always had.

     We later found a small exit wound from the H&H with no blood visible and a pellet graze from the shotgun on the rear left hand side of the boar. We though Mark had somehow missed but he did “put a cap in its arse”. After the photo session and more jokes at my expense about having my cock in my hand when I put up that big pig, it turns out that the reason why Speedy was in position when that pig broke was because he too went off for a leak but had finished just before Mark found that boar.

     Speedy, Mark and myself carried Frank the pig over to the ute which was thankfully parked no more than 100 meters away and loaded it up onto the back of the tray. We had a quick snack and a can of drink or a swig from a canteen and started to drive the twenty or so kilometres back to the main house. I sat myself down on the esky and grabbed on. After a few kilometres I was handed the lever action shotgun in case we came across any targets of opportunity, so I handed Speedy my Tikka. After a few kilometres we hadn't seen any rabbits, and we went to do a 90 degree turn to follow the road. To our left Mark and I saw Speedy on the dodgy chair tipping over, with an “oh shit” look on his face. Speedy was stacking it off the side of the ute. As he was holding both his and my rifle he didn't have a hold of the ute. The prick decided to chuck my rifle away when he was stacking it so he could get a good hold of his one to protect it.

      The ute came to a quick stop and we jumped off to see how he was. Speedy had landed mostly flat on his back and left hand side on the soft bull dust. He said that after the thud he felt a big wet patch on his left hip and he was thinking “Oh shit, I have opened up my hip” as he thought it was blood. Luckily for him, the bottle of Poweraid in his left pocked had burst and besides a few grazes he was right. I then went over to check my rifle.

     Closer to where the ute was, my Tikka T3 (in .243 of course) was sitting with the butt held up by the lowest wire of a fence. I picked it up, dusted it off and had a quick look through the Vortex Viper scope that looked clear as ever. Speedy's Remmy 700 was fine as well, and when we picked him up from the dust we found that he had left a perfect imprint of 375 H&H cases from his ammo belt in the dust!

     When Frank stacked it off the ute earlier he was more worried about his rifle so we took that as a good sign, and after quickly patching him up, and Frank and Speedy saying that stacking it off the ute is now part of the experience and that I was next, we were on our way. When we finally got back to the shearer's quarters we had a few beers and again had a big laugh over the days happenings. Chook also made up some awesome pizzas. Later that night we went out on the light again but didn't see much as everything had learnt by now to run when the ute was coming up, and only managed a few rabbits.    

     We slept in as we were due to fly out the next day so we had a bit of a plink with various rifles including shooting an old washing machine at 250 odd meters to pass the time after packing everything up. That .338 Lapua magnum is bloody loud with the muzzle break but didn't have bugger all recoil, probably just a little more than my .243, and really made a mess of the feral washing machine. Speedy had gone out with the cocky to weigh his pig and give him a hand dropping off some salt licks. While they were out there Speedy let his staghound Girl go out after a rabbit. Girl was hot on the heels of this rabbit and disappeared behind some scrub. Not long after the dog came hobbling back, with a wound on her back left paw. By the time Speedy and the cocky came back we had loaded up the plane and was just waiting for Speedy to get back. We pushed the plane to the end of the airstrip and got into the plane and put the dog in near the rear cabin door, and took off heading towards Sydney. When we were in the air the dog kept doing rather bad farts, and I buried my head in a book.

     I thought the adventures were over once we got in the air but wasn't I wrong. It was originally planned that we were going to take the same route back, stoping at Walgett for fuel. Due to the storms and floods in north eastern New South Wales we flew to Lightening Ridge instead for fuel. I could see storms out the window and it was raining lightly when we were on the ground. We had to refuel from drums instead of a bowser because that was the only refuelling facilities at Lightening Ridge. Drumstock as it is known is sometimes poor quality which could cause engine troubles. 

      We again took off and when we were in the air I went back to reading my book. After about five minutes I had another look out the window and thought “hmmn... we are pretty low, is Mark buzzing a paddock to look for ferals or something” and then we came over Lightening Ridge again, and Mark banked hard over the runway and put the plane back down on the tarmac for an emergency landing. It turns out we were having problems with one of the engines, it was loosing power and generally not working properly. Mark then got on the phone to the LAME (Licensed Aircraft Mechanical Engineer) and did some checks and engine runs on the ground at Lightening Ridge and found he was not having the same problem. He then took it for a quick test flight and said we were right to go again.

     We then took off again and headed towards Sydney. I again just went back to reading my book and not worrying about what was going on the time quickly passed. By the time I had finished reading my book we were over some very green fields, and I saw something I have been missing for the past week, hills and mountains! The aircraft then turned around. After a few minutes it turned round, and a few minutes later it turned around again. What I later found out was that we had just passed Coonamble and had engine troubles again. We turned for Coonamble and made out way there for a few minutes till the problem stopped and we turned back for Sydney via Mudgee. The problems started again and the decision was made to land at Coonamble and further investigate the problem. We landed around half past six on a Sunday night at Coonamble and again Mark called the LAME and they tried to diagnose the problem over the phone. It was suspected that the fuel from Lightening Ride was dodgy and we had clogged injectors so they decided that topping up the tanks with new fuel might fix it.

     Mark rang the refuelling bloke and while we were waiting Speedy decided to have a look at his injured dog and saw a stick stuck in its paw. He got a Leatherman and tried to get the stick out of Girl's paw. There were three crop dusters operating from the runway and after one of the blokes saw him working on the now howling dog and came over for a chat. He told us that the vets were no more than 500 meters from where we were. Speedy got a bit of mulga bush out of the dogs paw that we though was pretty big but there was another stick still stuck in there. Speedy and Frank went over to see if the vet could help them out and I stayed over at the plane with Mark, Chook and Jamie. By this stage the left engine was struggling to start and back firing. The fuel bloke was taking his time to get to us, fair enough though because it was about 7 on a Sunday night.

     Frank came riding back over on a pushbike he borrowed from the vets and told Mark what the go was with the dog. The vets wanted to work on the dog right away because they thought it's injury looked rather bad, and would take about half an hour. The refuelling bloke just turned up so it will be at least 20 minutes before the plane was ready to go again so Speedy and Mark worked out that they had the time for the dog to get worked on. I also walked over to the vets. The vets were a husband and wife with a young family, and not long after I turned up they had knocked the dog out. After a few minutes the bloke came out with a piece of blood covered mulga bush that was at least two inches long. He commented that he hadn't even pulled something this big out of a horse!

     We then all started thinking “the poor bloody dog” and Speedy was glad that he didn't wait until tomorrow after he got home to take his dog to the vets. I was really impressed with that staghound, she's a real trooper. She wasn't complaining and only yelping if someone tried to get the stick out. I would personally be complaining a lot more if that bit of mulga bush was stuck in me!

     Good on the vets as well for seeing to the dog at seven on a Sunday night. Within half an hour the dog was all patched up and one of the vets started to give Speedy the medication for his dog. When Speedy started taking too much interest in the pills the vet immediately picked his character and sternly said “these are for the dog, not you” which made me and Frank crack up. The vet dropped us back at the air field to load the knocked out dog back on the plane.

     We again boarded the plane and after the knocked out dog was put in the plane Mark started pre flight checks again. We had a chat to a few of the blokes working with the crop dusters and asked about what was in town. Luckily for us the refuelling bloke came back over for some reason and he was good enough to let us rack in the aero club that night and he even drove Mark and Chook into town to get some beer and pizza. The dog was walking swaying around and after a while Frank and Speedy thought she looked like she was getting better as she was now walking on her wounded paw. About ten seconds after they made that call the dog fell over and passed out. 

     In the true sense of making the best of a bad situation we got into the aero club and had some well over due beers and pizza. The aero club was basic, but it was clean, had an air conditioner and tellie, a small kitchen with a fridge a bed and sofa bed, and toilets and a shower. It could have been a lot worse, we could have been stuck at Lightening Ridge. The pizzas were surprisingly good from the Coonamble take away, and the beer tasted pretty good after a particularly long day. We talked about the adventures of the past week and put shit on each other and generally just had a big laugh about everything. It was good that we all got along as both Frank and I were randoms. After the trip someone said that it had been the best trip to Charleville in that they had the most fun even though the feral body count was lower than previous trips. That night Mark scammed the double bed in the bed room, while the rest of us grabbed sofas and cushions as best we could.

  Girl decided to pass out in the door way of the bedroom. At sparowfart the next morning I was woken up the next morning by the crop dusters starting up for the day, which annoyed me. It was Monday and it was supposed to be my first day back at work after the Christmas and New Year break so I called my supervisor and told him I would not be in. He just laughed and said “I bet you have some good stories for me then mate”. Around half seven another plane with the LAME and spares on board turned up and by about 9 we were in the air and back on our way to Sydney for an uneventful flight home.

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