Archive | August, 2015
31 August 2015


From Marble Bar it was back up 175km to Port Hedland, a place we’d heard of, seen on TV but needed to see. Bloody amazing! It’s a BHP Billiton mining town but the port has been expanded to handle Fortescue Mining and is now being expanded further to accommodate Gina Rinehart (bloody big huh!) – 19 docks, 16 of which will load iron ore day in day out, ultimately something like 400 million tonnes each year. This is Australia being dug up and shipped en masse somewhere else….

DSC07253 (1024x232) DSC07256 (1024x683) DSC07278 (1024x681)

These ships are massive – average around 200000 tonnes, 220 metres long, 60 metres wide. It takes a day to load each one, the cumulative load of 6 trains coming up in the BHP case from Newman. Each train carries around 33000 tonnes, is comprised of 4 engines and 240 ore trucks and is 2.7 kilometres long…..DSC07436 (1024x683) DSC07446 (1024x681)

Its not possible to photograph them as they are just too long.

We toured the harbour with the Seamens Mission, taking us up close and personal to many ships being loaded….

DSC07275 (1024x683) DSC07381 (1024x683) DSC07394 (1024x683)DSC07331 (1024x683) DSC07335 (1024x683) DSC07338 (1024x683) DSC07340 (1024x683) DSC07349 (1024x684) DSC07352 (1024x684) DSC07361 (1024x683) DSC07363 (1024x683) DSC07365 (1024x681) DSC07376 (1024x683)

The Seamans Mission picks up sailors from the ships and brings them into town for social and shopping activities and returns them each day. The ships are typically in port for 24 hours as they can only come in and depart on high tide and it takes at least 24 hours to load. There are typically another 30 – 40 ships sitting at anchor out to sea waiting to come in. A pilot is put aboard inbound or outbound ships and once they get to the channel it takes 4 tugs to manoeuvrer them in or out. The ships are turned to face outbound before docking to ensure they can escape quickly in the event of a cyclone…..DSC07270 (1024x681) DSC07276 (1024x681)

The port is massive, but its’ dwarfed by the BHP ore handling complex…

DSC07415 (1024x681) DSC07417 (1024x681) DSC07418 (1024x681) DSC07420 (1024x681) DSC07423 (1024x683) DSC07437 (1024x683) DSC07438 (1024x683) DSC07440 (1024x683) DSC07441 (1024x683) DSC07445 (1024x681)

We spent an hour in a bus touring the complex. Interesting footnote –  the old ore carts had external reinforcing ribs. New carts have internal ribs and the consequent fuel saving attributable to improved aerodynamics equates to $1,000,000 per year per train….

DSC07451 (1024x683) DSC07452 (1024x684)

The trains travel 426 km from Newman in about 9 hours, unload and return, operating 24 hours per day. They have one driver who’s principal responsibility is to press the ‘awake’ button every 90 seconds. The train, along with much of the handling equipment can be or is electronically handled from Perth. In one of the earlier photos you might see what looks like a control tower up high on one of the buildings – it is now redundant as all that it oversaw is now handled from Perth. The only function that actually still requires a person is the ship loader – the loading must be visible to ensure that it is distributed evenly within each hold of the ship, each hold having a capacity of over 20,000 tonnes.

Port Hedland also exports salt, manganese and a few other raw materials. These incidental things are handled through the 3 docks operated by the Port Authority as well as handling imports such as fuel – BHP holds some 66,000,000 litres of fuel oil within its complex, all transported in by sea. The salt lakes and storage facilities are fascinating….DSC07308 (1024x683) DSC07310 (1024x683) DSC07312 (1024x683) DSC07313 (1024x683) DSC07314 (1024x683)

Must point out that this is not ‘table’ salt – it has industrial uses.

Port Hedland and South Hedland host about 15000 permanent residents and a further 5400 FIFO’s. Property prices are unbelievable, typically higher then Melbourne prices for equivalent properties.

This is all interesting stuff statistically. Whats Hedland like? Port is grubby, South is sterile, but, it seems like the locals like living there. It has everything including an international airport (at this stage handling one flight a week to Bali) but we thought the temperature and the seasonal humidity and cyclones might all be a bit of a dampener.

Knowing the ore comes from Newman does not mean we understand how what and when. We had to see for ourselves so next is a 400km journey to the mine.

29 August 2015

Jasper Bar

The place is called Marble Bar cos they thought it was. It ain’t. It’s jasper….101_1263 101_1264 101_1266 101_1267 101_1268

Marble Bar is supposedly Australias’ hottest town. It is winter here and the temperature for the 3 days we were here exceeded 33′. It is bloody hot – and dry and dusty but it is a nice little place. The caravan park is pretty basic though. Sunday afternoon saw us on a wildflower tour with a local who cares about such things. He knew all the botanical names and we can remember none of them but it was enlightening…..

101_1262 101_1259 101_1258 101_1257 101_1256 101_1255

Dunno what they are but pretty aren’t they? And the seeds lay dormant for many years, in this case exposed after the overlying spinifex got burnt out.

The Comet Mine, dating back to about 1936 is one of few deserted mine sites that still looks like it could be back in business tomorrow…

101_1276 101_1277

but Occ Health and Safety says you can’t go in cos its ‘unsafe’. An ol guy we talked to is actually restoring the old generators with a view to facilitating site tours in due course. If memory serves the mine closed in the 70’s  but it looks like it is still all there although the caretaker told us that the hill behind is a honeycomb of tunnels and is probably actually unsafe. Another wonderful piece of history though.

Another surprise is the “secret” airport. About 35 k out of town the allies put in a field to accommodate Liberator bombers in about 1943 and quite a few bombing missions were carried out over Java –  a flight time of some 14 hours. About the only thing left these days are the runways and a few concrete slabs….

DSC07210 DSC07211

I’ve just uploaded Windows 10 and its giving  me shit. I’ve lost my photo editing file and now can’t upload pics. I’ll have to close and publish this short update whilst I sort out the mess




20 August 2015

A New Broome

Finally departed Derby, heading for Broome. Had a call from Xavier and Brenda to tell us they were at PCYC, an overflow van park in Broome cos they couldn’t get in to a regular one. Reckoned it was OK. So we headed straight there, only to find that it was also full. They managed to fit us into the overflow overflow, out back in a paddock without power or water, so for the next few days we persevered. We had planned a two-dayer to Cape Leveque in Suzi so that minimised the pain. On return from the Cape we were able to move to a powered site. Now, an unpowered site here is still $30.00 and a powered site just $5.00 more so we were happy to move in where we were also closer to amenities. But, here’s the rub. Power is so limited we couldn’t boil the electric jug, and, if we’d had aircon we couldn’t use it. To add to our frustrations on the last night whilst still in the unpowered section our solar batteries gave up the ghost. So here we are now waiting on a new aircon, needing new deep cycle batteries and waiting on parts for the washing machine and my CPAP. This is WA – Wait Awhile. And we did!

In the meantime we did go up to Cape Leveque. I’m not sure why other than its on the map. One of the options for the trip to the Horizontal Falls was to take their 4×4 bus up to Cape Leveque via a few beauty spots so we figured we could drive it easily. Out of Broome the road is dirt for the first 9ok or so…..

DSC07081 (1024x683) DSC07083 (1024x683)

but it does improve ….

DSC07080 (1024x684)

providing you’re on the lookout for donkeys (we did only see one). First port of call is Beagle Bay and its famous church…

DSC07040 (1024x683) DSC07041 (1024x683) DSC07043 (1024x683) DSC07044 (1024x683) DSC07045 (1024x684) DSC07046 (1024x683) DSC07048 (1024x683)

where pearl shell was once the local currency. This whole area down to Broome and even lower has a history of development via the harvesting of oyster shells – naca, or pearl shell used once upon a time for making buttons and buckles and other haberdashery  paraphernalia. The church is a monument to that history. Onwards to Cape Leveque, but first One Arm Point , which is the highest point of the cape. Pretty ordinary we thought…..

DSC07050 (1024x683) DSC07052 (1024x683) DSC07053 (1024x683) DSC07055 (1024x683)

so back to Cape Leveque for lunch. $54.00 for a couple of hamburgers seemed a bit steep though….

DSC07058 (1024x683) DSC07068 (1024x683)

but the view from the al fresco area was pretty good…..

DSC07059 (1024x683) DSC07064 (1024x683)

Then to the lighthouse and the beach on the other side of the little peninsula….

DSC07063 (1024x683) DSC07065 (1024x683) DSC07066 (1024x232) DSC07067 (1024x683)

We’d planned an overnight camp-out up here but the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm wanted $60.00 for a camp site and others weren’t available so we booked Goombaragin Eco Retreat at Pender Bay, about halfway up the Cape and late in the afternoon we made our way in….

IMGP4548 IMGP4550

along about 45 km of sandy track. Lotsa fun though but Jude wasn’t so sure. The couple that run the Retreat are trying to make something of it and we can only commend them for the effort but it was a bit basic, even after supplying our own tent (which I neglected to get a photo of in situ). They felt the cold – it must have got down as low as 25 but….

DSC07075 (1024x683)

for Kath and John and son Jack a fire and warm clothing fixed the problem. We sat back about 25 metres.

The scenery around is quite dramatic….

DSC07069 (1024x683) DSC07073 (1024x681)

and our campsite was quite fruitful….

DSC07077 (1024x683) DSC07078 (1024x683)

back to Broome next day via Willie Creek Pearl Farm, just for the experience….

DSC07086 (1024x232) DSC07087 (1024x683) DSC07088 (1024x683) DSC07089 (1024x683) DSC07090 (1024x683)

Didn’t buy any!

Broome is known for another quirky phenomenon, the stairway to the moon. At full moon the light reflects off the water and the city capitalises on this….

DSC07012 (1024x681)

with a market and huge attendances….

DSC07003 (1024x683) DSC07004 (1024x683)

I forgot the tripod again and Jude couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stand still long enough for time exposure shots with the camera on her head so my “stairway” shots were not real good. Suffice to say though it was a bit of an anti-climax after thousands of people turned out to see it all over Broome.

Finally got the aircon replaced, the solar batteries replaced the washing machine door handle replaced but still had to wait extra time for the bit for my CPAP to turn up. Consequentially we had to move caravan parks cos after 1 August you had to have a pet to stay in the PCYC overflow caravan park and unfortunately Jude didn’t qualify. Broome Caravan Park, a bit out of town, became home base for our last couple of nights in Broome. Cable Beach is one of Broomes famous locations and it is very nice….

DSC07099 (1024x683) DSC07101 (1024x683) DSC07105 (1024x681) DSC07134 (1024x683)

particularly at sunset with the tide out.

We had to experience what is reputably the oldest operating “garden” cinema so our last night was spent with “the Man from Uncle” at the Sun Pictures outdoor theatre…

IMGP4562 (1024x768) IMGP4563 (1024x768) IMGP4565 (1024x768) IMGP4566 (1024x768) IMGP4568 (1024x768) IMGP4570 (1024x768)

which we shared with passing aeroplanes.

A bit earlier in our stay we joined with a few others in the caravan park on a bus tour of Broome..

DSC07024 (1024x683) DSC07025 (1024x683) DSC07026 (1024x683) DSC07028 (1024x684) DSC07029 (1024x232) DSC07031 (1024x683) DSC07032 (1024x683) DSC07035 (1024x232) DSC07036 (1024x684)DSC07092 (1024x683) DSC07094 (1024x683) DSC07141 (1024x683) DSC07142 (1024x683) DSC07146 (1024x683) DSC07147 (1024x683) DSC07148 (1024x683) DSC07149 (1024x683) DSC07150 (1024x683) DSC07151 (1024x683) DSC07152 (1024x683) DSC07153 (1024x684) DSC07155 (1024x683)

Some of the above are Ganthaume Point where there are supposed to be dinosaur prints in the rocks exposed at low tide. We didn’t experience a low enough tide so had to be content with the imitations in concrete.

Broome was hot – 33 pretty much every day and this is winter! But, we liked it. Couldn’t live here in the summer though and nor could we afford a house – average price is over 770k for a tin house (cyclone proof corrugated iron) and some very ordinary places run over $2m.

Our last little outing took in the Willie Creek Pearl Farm town display of pearl luggers and pearling dive equipment with a talk on the Broome history. Very interesting…..

DSC07161 (1024x683) DSC07163 (1024x683) DSC07164 (1024x683) DSC07167 (1024x683) DSC07168 (1024x683) DSC07169 (1024x683)

The diver starts at 60 kg and dons the gear to end up at 180kg – the helmet alone weighs 35kg. The pearl Judes holding is 22.4mm, but not perfect so is only worth $100,000. Whoops!

9 August 2015

Fall(s) Guy

We’ve talked about it, speculated, anticipated and budgeted for our trip to the Horizontal Falls. A planned highlight of this years journey, an opportunity to see something rare, certainly unique in this part of the world. We’ve read about tides second only to Nova Scotia in magnitude, up to 11.5 metres. So when it came time to book our Falls experience we were more than a bit surprised to learn that we had to wait for a later date because the proposed dates fell on a ‘neap’ tide. In effect, no falls – no tidal movement. Well we just had to wait. I suppose this would seem to be a bit of an anticlimax and given that the tidal range following a neap tide does not approach the maximum tidal height, we did think that perhaps we’d made a bad decision time wise. But, we’re here now so our choice of timing was now limited.

So on the 29th of July we took flight. Picked up by bus from the Derby caravan park along with 38 others we went to the airport to be shepherded into a terminal packed with returnees from the Falls. Four Cessna Caravans sat out front waiting for us to be loaded in weight for balance order. After being checked in, given our name tags and assigned our respective plane we traipse with our small hand luggage out into the afternoon heat, stand by our plane while we load our bits into a pontoon, are given our buoyancy vests, given our safety instructions and  then summonsed in to sit where our respective weights balance out the plane. Our pilot is just into puberty. Surely he is just the warm up  guy.

But no, he climbs into the pilot seat and cranks up the engine, puts on the headphones and then announces that he has done this before. We’re the first plane to move off. I find this encouraging cos it means that there are three to follow and they will be able to search for our bodies. I don’t like little planes and as most of you know I never really enjoyed flying so here we are in a little plane with a kid, wet behind the ears, in control with only one engine up front and we’ve already got our life vests on. Now Judes concern that we are flying over water and crashing brings on the sharks is all too real cos one of the features of this trip is a swim with the sharks so we know they’re out there. So we’re both a bit nervous, perhaps for quite different reasons. Bugger me, the flight was fantastic. As it turned out it was only half an hour but I could have comfortably flown further. Yes, there were a couple of rough patches but my flying lesson of so many years ago sort of prepared me for this. Cruising at 5500 feet allowed a great view of some beautiful landscape (which was also distracting) but there was a bit of haze in the air so photos are not brilliant…..DSC06657 (1024x683) DSC06658 (1024x683) DSC06660 (1024x683) DSC06662 (1024x683) DSC06666 (1024x683) DSC06670 (1024x683) DSC06671 (1024x681) DSC06672 (1024x683) DSC06676 (1024x683) DSC06677 (1024x684) DSC06679 (1024x681) DSC06680 (1024x681) DSC06681 (1024x681) DSC06685 (1024x683) DSC06697 (1024x683)

A mechanical voice (or is that maniacal) reminds the pilot to retract the wheels cos we are making a water landing. And so we did . Smooth as silk. In the course of conversation the pilot tells us that he, along with his colleagues spend about 8 hours a day in season flying this route, from Derby, Broome or Cape Leveque, backwards and forwards so went the attempt to further instil confidence. I must say I had no reservations about facing the return journey next day (although I was a little more comfortable still when our next day pilot seemed a little more mature).

On arrival we were greeted by another bunch of kids. I think the oldest was 22 and we know that cos it was his birthday. They were terrific. They knew their stuff. They were great hosts.

We had met two couples in Derby who flew out with us but they were relegated to another boatel so we only managed a catch up during the shark tank experience but that did nothing to detract from the occasion. Once relegated to our quarters it was all back on deck to board the boats. Two boats from our boatel, another smaller one from the other boatel all then set out to see and experience the Falls. It was a thrill ride……DSC06710 (1024x683) DSC06714 (1024x683) DSC06717 (1024x683) DSC06719 (1024x683) DSC06721 (1024x683) DSC06725 (1024x681) DSC06729 (1024x683) DSC06733 (1024x681)

this first trip just taking us into the wider falls and the first bay, as the narrower opening to the second bay was running too high for these 900hp boats to handle. Several passes through continued to exhilarate, even though the fall was not as great as the brochures depicted (only about 2 metres). Then it was off up the creek for a bit of a look at the coastline..

DSC06744 (1024x683) DSC06746 (1024x683) DSC06749 (1024x681) DSC06751 (1024x681) DSC06753 (1024x681) DSC06756 (1024x683) DSC06758 (1024x683) DSC06761 (1024x683) DSC06762 (1024x683) DSC06765 (1024x683)

until the tide turned for a return to the falls. The dark line you see along the base of the rock walls is the tide line – some 9 – 10 metres above where it was at this time (tide going out, nearly absolute low tide).

Back to the boatel for a dive with the sharks. There are two cages set into the pontoons around the boatel and the sharks swim in open water between them. Obviously the sharks and other fish know it is feed time because even before the feeder gets into her pit they are well and truly cruising through…..

DSC06708 (1024x683)

then the young lass gets into her own little cage as others look on from outside….

DSC06788 (1024x683) DSC06792 (1024x683) DSC06794 (1024x684) DSC06799 (1024x684) DSC06801 (1024x684) DSC06802 (1024x684)

and feeds the fish. These sharks are tawny nurses perhaps not the most dangerous species but sufficiently sized and quite capable of sucking off fingers and toes. Most of these were around 3 metres, although the little flat fish were just cute.

Then, back to the boats to ride the rapids into the second bay. By now the tide has turned and the two bays are filling up so the ride in was ‘downhill’. All quite exciting and exceptionally picturesque…..

DSC06812 (1024x683) DSC06814 (1024x683) DSC06826 (1024x683) DSC06827 (1024x681) DSC06831 (1024x681)

Several runs through the falls and then back to the boatels for dinner. The kids cooked up barramundi, enough for twice the number of people and served it with salads followed by a desert. Being BYO drinks were well taken care of although soft and tea/coffee was also plentiful. The evening was only a meal and it sort of petered out early as most peeled off to their cabins by about 9.00. A couple of stalwart drinkers made it to about 10 but it was all over by then. Probably just as well cos the next morning was a 6.00am start with a cooked brekky and another tilt at the falls before flying out back to Derby…..

DSC06937 (1024x683) DSC06938 (1024x683) DSC06941 (1024x684) DSC06944 (1024x684) DSC06950 (1024x681) DSC06963 (1024x683) DSC06980 (1024x681)

and all too soon it was over. The sights are beautiful, the experience exhilarating. It was pretty well as expected, perhaps a higher tide may have been that little bit more exciting but overall a great adventure. Price is high – $1690 for the two of us for just 20 hours but its is easy to see the cost of providing the service. Just the infrastructure and its maintenance are very obvious costs, coupled with the season only being about 8 months each year.

We loved it though!

We had planned to leave Derby the day after this but as we were not expecting our new aircon in Broome for some further 10 days and we expected caravan park fees to be over $50.00 per day there we opted to stay on for a few more days at the cheaper rate. Then as we were packing to leave eventually the bedroom slide out crapped out again and we had to stay on longer to repair it. For I think about the sixth time now the slide out drive shaft bolts sheered and whilst not a huge job it is a difficult one. We discovered a neighbour from Benalla was parked up next to us and his engineering skills were eventually brought to bear. Thanks Bill and Ro.

Derby we discovered is a very isolated township of some 5000 people. On the King Sound near the mouth of the Fitzroy River it bills itself as the first town in the Kimberley. A very large indigenous population but it has everything including a couple of gaols….

DSC06982 (1024x683) DSC06984 (1024x683) DSC06986 (1024x683) DSC06987 (1024x683) DSC06995 (1024x683) DSC06996 (1024x683) DSC06999 (1024x683)

the boab used as one cell, the water trough to water 500 head of cattle, an early “swimming pool”, a newer two cell gaol but one wonders who got to use the toilet and the newer gaol next door..

DSC06998 (1024x683)

Once a port for live cattle it really doesn’t serve much else other than tourism today. It is one end of the Gibb River Road, an infamous beef road that four wheel drivers seem to like to challenge. We heard some stories of wrecked vans and campers but people still boast of taking on the challenge….DSC06991 (1024x681) DSC06992 (1024x683) DSC06993 (1024x683) DSC06994 (1024x683)

We headed for Broome. We are there waiting parked up in an “overflow” caravan park cos all the other 5 or 6 are full. Our first few nights were in an unpowered section (also with no water) and the inevitable happened – our solar batteries gave up the ghost. Only $900.00 this time and we’re further from civilization than was the case back in 2013. The aircons about $2200.00, a handle for the washing machine which we are also awaiting is just $60.00 but put them together and we’ve more than expended the fuel savings anticipated from the new engine management chip ( in fact about 5 fold). This has turned into a costly trip but what the hell – we’re doin’ it!

We are now further from home than we have ever been but we are on the downhill run. We do actually get further from home before we turn back though. Hopefully heading off down the coast by 12 August providing all our bits arrive by then.

6 August 2015

Off to the Falls

Booked our trip to the Horizontal Falls on 21 July but couldn’t get on til 29 July, mainly cos they’re not operating during a neap tide. A WHAT? I hear you ask. Well let me enlighten you doubtful Thomases. A ‘neap’ tide is effectively a period of no tidal movement occasioned by the sun and moon being at right angles to the Earth (or 90′ to each other). Not much point looking at the falls when there aren’t any. SOOOO, bottom line we have some time to spare to get to Derby for our flight.

Now it is hot up here. Some days are approaching 40′. So now the aircon finally gives up the ghost. Not much to be done out here around Halls Creek so we park up for the day and head out of Halls Creek in the Suzi  down the Tanami Road to Wolfe Creek Meteor Crater. Set out about 1.00pm expecting to travel a return distance of 240 km in 3 or so hours (maybe 4) Ha! Tanami has a bit of a reputation as a car breaker but the first 100 or so km were OK – corrugated, dusty but passable at 80 – 90 k. BUT, get to the crater turnoff and the next 20 km took 1.25 hours…..DSC06541 (1024x232)

and then you see it. It is simply amazing….DSC06560 (683x1024)

The Tanami after dark is bloody scary – you are travelling in clouds of dust hovering in the still night air, the headlights are virtually useless and the kangaroos don’t care. Whilst we left the crater in reasonable daylight, nightfall here is 5.30 so we spent most of the return journey sightless. Needless to say we were buggered when we got back to Halls Creek, the truck was locked up stinking hot and no aircon. Wow what a thrill!

IMGP4527 (1024x768) IMGP4528 (1024x768)

IMGP4535 (1024x768)

Costs are rising so we determined to free camp for a few days on the way to Derby for our falls trip. Couple of nights at Ngumban Cliff lookout sweltering in 35′ heat (twas at least cooler overnight) thence into Fitzroy Crossing. Caravan Parked here cos Jude needed power and water to do some washing and , surprise, surprise the washing machine broke down (aircon, washing machine, fridge, toilet are all Dometic – absolute crap equipment).

Anyway, we took a town tour which culminated in a river cruise through Geike Gorge on the Fitzroy River. Our tour guide was most knowledgeable about the history of Fitzroy Crossing and the Kimberleys  generally.

DSC06566 (1024x683) DSC06571 (1024x683) DSC06572 (1024x683) DSC06573 (1024x681) DSC06574 (1024x683) DSC06579 (1024x683) DSC06585 (1024x683) DSC06587 (1024x683) DSC06588 (1024x683) DSC06606 (1024x683)


DSC06607 (1024x683) DSC06623 (1024x683)

One of the early crossings…

DSC06633 (1024x681) DSC06634 (1024x684)

and one of the later ones….

DSC06637 (1024x683) DSC06640 (1024x683) DSC06641 (1024x681) DSC06642 (1024x681)

still a single lane and this is Highway 1. Waited half an hour to cross.

Whilst in Fitzroy Crossing we met Xavier and Brenda Micallef who, with Martin and Mary were also waiting for the 29th to do The Falls trip so a friendship of common interests was formed. They headed off a day or so before us and we caught up again in Derby before flying out on the 29th.

We secured a site in Derby with some difficulty and headed there on the 28th. Managed to get an aircon man to check us out on the morning of 29th before our flight, only to learn that the aircon was effectively not repairable. Great start to our Falls trip which has already set us back $1690.00. Now we’ve got to add about $2200.00 to the day and wait two weeks to get a unit from Melbourne to Broome.

But, we took off for the Falls anyway. This is one of those items on the bucket list and we ain’t gunna miss it for dollars. As I think this bit of the journey is so special I’ll devote another entire entry to it tomorrow but here’s an opener

DSC06648 (1024x683) DSC06655 (1024x683)

We’re fairly sure the pilot hadn’t reached puberty.