Here is the last of my three-part trip diary from the GIA Pearl Tour - Paspaley Pearls. I have to post it in sections, so read on...
Having left Christchurch in the cold rain, we were ready to get back to warm weather. Darwin, Australia is definitely a warm place. As part of group 1, we got up early the first day to take the Grumman Mallard seaplane to Paspaley’s sea-based operations. As you can see in the photo from the bus, we had to get going before dawn.
I love seaplanes. The Grumman Mallard was first built in 1946 and ended production in 1951. Paspaley’s Mallards are refitted with modern turboprop engines and are lovingly maintained.
We covered a lot of land on our way to the Paspaley III. The view from the cabin was awesome. Earplugs were a requirement, one of the only drawbacks of the Mallard experience.
The turboprop engines are extremely powerful and unlike jets, it’s reassuring to be able to see them in motion.
For many of the group, this was their first water landing. There’s nothing like the moment when the water rises in waves over the windows.