Wednesday, June 10, 2009
2 1/2 Hours in a Floatplane
It was about a 2 1/2 hour flight each way in the float plane to the old village site that we mapped and tested. And I loved every minute of each trip. The trips gave me an appreciation of how close the Bristol Bay area is to Kodiak. It's only a low mountain pass away. I am so glad we flew direct from Kodiak to the other side of the Alaska Peninsula rather than flying commercial through Anchorage to King Salmon to Pilot Point etc. If we'd gone through Anchorage we would not have appreciated how Kodiak and Bristol Bay are connected.
Our pilot Rolan tells us that he rarely gets to fly so far. And it is worth noting that we've only seen him fill his wing tanks once before - when we flew to Chirikof Island. Usually when we take off he tells the Kodiak tower 'fuel for three hours'; this time he told them 'fuel for seven hours'. On the way there it was very windy (see clouds on bottom photo) and he told us how he tries to fly at different elevations to find the best tailwind. We found the most favorable tailwind was pretty much on the deck across the Shelikof. He told us that on the way home he had to climb up to 7000 feet to avoid a bad headwind.
On arrival near our final destination a local plane buzzed us and asked, rather aggressively, on the radio what we doing 'cruising around on such a windy day'. Over there no one recognizes Rolan's blue and white beaver. On Kodiak everyone knows who flies such and such plane, and that is probably true over there as well. We were suddenly the strangers from the Alutiiq world. Patrick