Pete Murray reckons he has the best job in the world. Each day he goes to work in bare feet, meets people who are out for pure fun and sees something different every day. Pete is a pilot of the Cloud9 Seaplane and each day he takes to the skies of the Gold Coast.
I ventured up with Pete yesterday afternoon. It was a view of ‘my back yard’ I had not seen before and one I found it very interesting. I was amazed at the canal system. The aerial view really emphasised the complexity of it. I really had no idea it was so extensive, weaving and winding for kilometre after kilometre.
Pete pointed out multi-million dollar houses. ‘There’s one down there for sale for 18 million dollars if you have some spare cash he pointed out and see that one being built? Its claimed it will cost a cool 33 million by the time it’s finished.’
‘Feeling comfortable?” he asks and we all say yes, ‘Great then here we go,’ and Pete banks the plane quickly and smoothly into a sideways roll first right then left. I am for an instance face down into the sea and am surprised my stomach feels fine. In fact I find it exciting and wish there was more.
We fly over Stradbroke Island and I spot campers, the golden afternoon light making their home away from home look very inviting. Anglers out for a catch and swimmers enjoying an afternoon dip in the ocean. I learnt all sorts of things and most dear to my heart was the protection and preservation of the environment in which the planes operate. This is a first class operator and one you can rest fairly easy with as they know planes. Pete’s been in the sky for more than 11 years and Cloud9 Seaplanes is owned and operated by the oldest flying family in Australia, the Cooke family, dating back to 1915 – not a bad track record.
For more info on Cloud9 Seaplanes: http://www.cloud9seaplanes.com
Photography from the plane was not easy. Wind from the high rise buildings causes the plane to hit a few pot holes and the windows were not the cleanest. Reflections are hard to beat so a polariser is a must. While better to have the lens as close to the window as possible be careful as a slight bump and you can not only damage your lens but your face as well from the camera coming backwards.
Images by Danielle Lancaster (c)