Our filed flight plan distance was 4 600km, but we’d cut the corner and cheekily bored a tunnel through Mauritian airspace, so only 4 100 km had to be covered. By nightfall we’d flown for eight and a half hours of the twenty-one. A little more than half the fun lay ahead. Preparing for night flight means controlling all glare from instruments so you can see out. The lowest light setting on the MGL is still a little too bright for mid-ocean night flight, so James’ kikoyi and my towel get hung over the instrument panel. This way our eyes adapt to the dark helping us to see out ahead and the weather that awaits us, and now and again we ‘lift up’ to scan the vitals. The moon was just about directly overhead and lit up the world outside as well as the cockpit, allowing us peace of mind, because a long as you can see the weather you have a fair chance of avoiding it. If there is no moon at night, you simply suddenly fly into that invisible soft white wall and all hell breaks loose. No danger of that right now! We were nearing the equator and discussed our previous experiences crossing this imaginary line. “Let’s do a pic and a video when we get there.” “Yeah, cool ok!” Still be a while though, and all was well, so James decided to have a quick sleep, reclined his seatback and was gone. It’s always a different when your mate sleeps, ‘cause you have to watch everything and shouldn’t dose off or forget to switch off a fuel transfer pump which would result in pumping out valuable fuel into the night sky. So on the edge of your seat and keep those eyes peeled into the distance. When you stare into the dark for long you start seeing all sorts of things, and when you tired and do that you see even more. Now out there the situation is this – James and I are simply trying to fly to Colombo, minding our own business. The Indian Ocean just wants to do what it has done forever, and the sky just wants to do what it has done forever. All technical descriptions of the ITCZ should be forgotten. The sky saw us coming, said to the sea, let’s be a monster and scare the pants off these lads. It all started with some fine top cover beginning to shade out the moonlight, so what was below and ahead became more and more indistinct. James seemed so peaceful that I left him in dreamland, and forged ahead . It just seemed to get darker and darker and this huge monster ahead just opened its mouth wider and wider letting us fly right in. “Mmm …… James, …. James …… wakey wakey. Look what I see!” James woke slightly and squizzed through sleepy eyes. “Just a bit of rain”, and gestured onwards with his hand and slipped off again. Now really on the edge of my seat, ‘cause this way leaning forward we could lose all the glare of the instruments and see best outside. This monster was growing unbelievably. I knew ‘we are definitely not going in there, because in there we will be digested’. With this James sat up, reset his seat and we got into serious “Wow” mode! Tweaking the heading knob on the AP we steered clear of the monster’s flesh, but we just got deeper and deeper in. It was the most beautiful site in the world – we were surrounded by the most gigantic convective clouds that I had ever been that close to at night, lit by the moonlight now breaking in to dramatise this theatre. We were now at a right angle to our course, finding gaps in the folds of this monster’s skin to slip through. Both of us in awe, sharp, calm but shit-scared. The possible result of going into one of these clouds and losing instruments makes us so. A good decision and a fast one needed to be made. Over? No chance. Through? Definitely not, you could see the monster boiling! Last chance and option, autopilot off, descend manually in the little space left to fly visual, hope the artificial horizon stays with us and get in under this baby in the rain, hopefully with less turbulence, and reset the autopilot on a course to destination. And that was it! “Take it away Jameson!” was all the prompting he needed. James is legendry for many reasons, some known and some never to be known! Auto pilot off, “Got it!” and a swift meaningful roll over a billowing CU head down into the darkness. QNH of no value, we were descending to below this monster, relying on GPS alt. Sculpting a tunnel down to the level we thought safe (about 1 400 feet) James called to reset the GPS for destination so that the autopilot could take over and find its path immediately. This done and ready we entered the most viscous pelting rain under the cloud and still banked at 50 degrees engaged the autopilot. (Ranier, you have made the most amazing instrument – we blessed you right there and then). Strong turbulence, heavy rain and we just bombed on. James looked at me, we exchanged smiles and sighs. The party had started! A fair period passed and buckets and buckets of rain cleansed our Bullet before we popped out the other side. We were now only 1 200 feet above the sea and far away from anywhere, more charlies ahead. Yeah, we were well “out there!” The rest of the night was exhausting and terrifying. We went on through apparently never-ending weather and found ourselves in situations which are impossible, especially with my typing speed, to tell you all about, though maybe one fine evening around a big fire at Tedderfield we could all get together and have an outdoor slide show and talk about how great life is! Miss you all! Hope to have you tracking with us soon!