Goooood Morning, South Pacific! (Dec 15)

The street was lined on both sides by tall old trees and dotted by cars parked randomly in front of houses on either side of the road. Remnants of cobblestones from an early time could be seen as patchwork beneath the asphalt. Green rich grassy yards with fences gave way to brick and wood Victorian style houses, most painted white. It was dark, as it was late at night, and most of the windows on the street were dark with the exception of a few lamps and lit rooms in some of the houses. It’s familiar to me, but I am not quite sure where we are; and it doesn’t matter anyways. I get out of the drivers seat of my car and walk around to open the door on the passenger side, extending my hand to the woman sitting there to help her out to the sidewalk.

She’s gorgeous, long dark hair that has a flowing wave to it that curls out around the ends just below her shoulders frame her face. Her eyes are large beautiful ovals of green and dominate my attention, accented by a smokey eye-shadow. Her lips have a subtle but present pink lipstick across them and draw my gaze. We walk together up the sidewalk and into the yard of one of the houses, hers I presume and we walk to the door. It’s a scene we’ve all seen a hundred times in cheesy romance films, the inevitable pause at the doorway, the small talk about the evening, the look of longing and desire in the players eyes.

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Not So Far From Home (Dec 14)

Today was interesting for me, not just because I flew for nearly 3 hours with the Captain searching for schools of tuna, but because we found ourselves in the presence of an American Tuna boat. When I flew over it I thought it must certainly be Japanese because the all white paint job was something I’d come to expect from Japanese flagged boats, but then as I leaned the little helicopter over into a turn to head back onto course I spotted something that brought a smile to my face.

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The Art of Flying…is lost on my Koreans (Dec 12)

At least, fishermen. I think they think that this thing works like a boat. And probably think anyone could hop in and do it. I’m not expecting accolades or a celebration every-time we come back and land, I would however appreciate just a little bit of understanding on their part. I’ve flown almost 5 hours in the last two days and the flights were great – at least for me.

You see the Koreans seem to be under the impression that once you input a heading into the helicopter you just set it and forget it. They can’t seem to grasp the notion that the pilot must be constantly monitoring everything from altitude and airspeed to engine readouts and power setting, rotor and turbine rpm and so forth. So, all that being said, when the course strays be a degree left or right for a nano-second – don’t freakout. I’m here to make sure that we have a safe and responsibly operated flight, within the limitations of the aircraft, I will get you that 1º back if you give me a second, I’m probably doing some other life saving instrument check elsewhere and will be back to the GPS in a moment. Kthanksbye.

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Open For Business (Dec 11)

My alarm cut through the black cabin like a klaxon jarring me awake, and all too suddenly for my liking as I was in the middle of a particularly good dream. I glanced up to the beeping and flashing alarm clock that I had mounted sideways and on the wall using Velcro so that I could see and reach it while lying down and noted that indeed, as I had set it, the alarm had gone off at 0430.

One glance down toward the foot of my bunk and I could tell out the window that the sun had yet to rise and that I maybe could have afforded 15 more minutes of sweet slumber, in my dream.

But the reality of the morning was that last night we had made it into the fishing grounds while everyone was asleep and that as of today it was game on. I’d kept telling the crew all day yesterday that I wanted this to be a 19 day trip, exactly. That would get us back into port (ideally not Tarawa again yet – someplace new and more developed) for New Years Eve.

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First Day on the Job (Dec 10)

It feels like today is my first real day on the job since this is the first day I’m the only pilot on this boat, the only one that will be flying this helicopter, doing these missions. We trained mostly on landings, and a bit on operations, but a lot I will have to learn as I go. I’m excited and nervous at the same time, sitting here writing this I know I’ve got at least a day before we are in any place to actually use the helicopter because we have to get out of the waters of Tarawa to start fishing so I have time to prepare.

Roxy and I are going to do an engine run up tonight, which will be nice for me to get in there and start it up again and make sure everything is running fine and get our heads in there around the helicopter itself. Anxious nerves, excited apprehension, I’m ready but am I really? We will see. I know I can do this, but there is something that will and should always make you a bit nervous when you do something for the first time.

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Tarawa (Dec 4 – 9)

So I posted a lot while I was in Tarawa, a lot of stuff from when I was on my first trip on the boats. On ,y second trip I tried to ummarize what all I did in Tarawa. I’ve also got a bit of a visitors guide for the Island coming together I’ll post later. So here it is, the first of many posts now that I’m at a reliable internet connection.

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