Monday, September 9, 2013

Along the Aleutian Islands to the end of the world

Friday, 6th September, Anchorage, Alaska, USA, 08h00 local time

As soon as we had packed and refueled the aircraft it started to rain. We are ready to go. Its all worth getting up at 05h00 for the purpose of leaving  nice and early, our next destination is Cold Bay, 540 nm to go in for a technical stop.

5 Minutes later we were totally disappointed and frustrated. Tower or flight control informed us they had received our flight plan but it was lost in the system. Now what? IN SA this also happens but they will then take the details over the phone while you sit in the plane and engine running and all. No, sorry, they are not able to do that. We have to re-file it. That means shut down. Start all over again, go back into the terminal, file it again. 30-60 Minutes delay.

Murphy's law, for once procedures run smoothly, we are on time, ATC looses the flight plan... Dietmar is boiling, but there is nothing we can do. With 50 Minuted delay we depart.

Anchorage is a place we would like to come back to especially in Salmon season which brings lot of bears in. Accordingly to our petrol attendant June is the month to do Bear Watching, like Whale watching back in SA. This time around we had to make do with eating Salmon ourselves which we enjoyed.

According to Dietmar the approach for 'Cold Bay' is 'white knuckle stuff'. 500' cloud base. 

Friday, 06th September, 13h15 local time, SA time 6th September 23h15, Cold Bay, 12 DegreeC, overcast, 534nm to go to Adak, the end of the world. The flight goes along the Aleutian above thick clouds. Very occasional we have a clear view thru the layer of clouds to enjoy views of the islands and the Bering Sea.

We landed in Adak with no problems around mid afternoon (with one more hour gained) and in beautiful weather. We took the opportunity , got our twelve 20l tested and tried Plastic Canisters out and had them filled by the fuel attendant.

fuel Canisters for the long haul over the Pazific

These canisters will be brought to Attu tomorrow. Jan Brill kindly offered to transport them for us, along with his own fuel supply.

We will stay on the Island for one night, we just bought a couple of bottles of wine and believe it or not - another crew will join us, they accepted our invitation for the reception. The problem: they have not even arrived on Adak yet, last night when it got dark, one of the other crews went back to the airport to check, their aircraft had not arrived.

Three crews out of 5 had landed in the afternoon. The PC12 with 6 swiss people on board, ours with 2 people and the Avgas Columbia with Juergen on Board. With him on board is also a foldable bicycle.

Jurgen and his bike sleep in his aircraft, he, by the way, is going  back to Europe tomorrow. He was hoping to get an extra fuel tank installed in Anchorage which did not work out, he will turn around tomorrow or so. While we had supper in the restaurant he arrived on his bike, with a backpack, and he joined us for supper.


Menu of the day

On Adak live about 50 people, mostly children. One school, one schoolteacher. 2 small Restaurants, like tearooms, one bar, 1 liquor store where we purchased the wine, one grocery shop opens between

One thing they are not short of and that's accommodation. Lots of houses, fully furnished and made up, no one lives there anymore. Our group occupies a few of those houses.

Right now we are very happy to be here at Adak, we even have electricity, Dietmar bought Internet connection for $50 , 24 h, and we had a very good meal and the ex army homes are comfortable enough for the night.

And not only that, the house is equipped with everything, and I mean everything. Very functional. If we had known we would have found a washing-machine/ dryer set in the laundry we would not have invented the dryer set up in Anchorage.

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