Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
One final note for the day. Just to give you a sense of how remote Dutch harbor is, there is NO airport security for these flights. No X-ray, no metal detectors, nothing. Just an ID check for a 3 hours flight on a twin engine prop-job. 4 a.m. reveille tomorrow. Pray for good weather. (Oh yes, we heard through the grapevine that there is a fishing vessel sitting off the coast of Dutch waiting for the weather to break so it can come in. Apparently there are very rough seas between them and the port, so they are stuck. I don't really understand the physics, but it sounds feasible.)
Called Kurt from Seattle. He has been in Anchorage since last night, and he reports that most flights to Dutch Harbor have been cancelled due to weather. Apparently the Aleutian Islands are typically on the cusp of two weather systems. I am not exactly sure what this means, but it has something to do with the inland (Alaska) weather colliding with the weather over the Bering Sea. This causes the weather at Dutch Harbor to be fairly unstable. Today there are reports of squalls and high winds. He was not certain, but Kurt seemed to think that the flights from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor were prop-jobs (and not regional jets), which would make the flying more treacherous. We are excited to get to work in Dutch Harbor and are hoping that we will not be delayed more than a few hours. Keep your fingers crossed.
Just leaving Oakland for Seattle, then on to Anchorage, and finally Dutch Harbor. My cold seems to be more a factor than I had hoped, Since the landing last night I have had limited hearing in my left ear. Oh well, if Lewis and Clark could battle dysentery, I can handle a little ear discomfort for a few days. Learned something about airport security check-in today. Contact lens solution is considered a medicine and doesn’t not have to fit into the one-quart, zip-lock bag that you must display at airport security. This is true of any liquid medicine. You have to have it out of your bag, but it does not have to fit in the one-quart bag. The captain says they’re are 80 mph headwinds on the way up to Seattle. Now, I am no aeronautics, meteorology, climatology, scientology kind-of-guy, but that seems like pretty fast wind. I’m sure this old MD-80 will slice through it like a hot knife through butter. By the way, the airplane is very old and virtually empty. Exit rows all the way up to Dutch Harbor. The chop just started, and the “fasten seatbelts” sign is now illuminated; we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Ventured over the bay bridge on the BART (subway) to grab dinner with an old chum, Arturo Gonzalez. Went to my favorite Irish pub in the mostly-Latino Mission district of SF. Had whiskey and a burger at Napper Tandy. Art paid. I’ll be staying with Art for a few days next week after I leave Alaska. Last fall he was kind enough to let me stay with him for two months while I was visiting Cal Berkeley. So “props” to Art for his generosity and hospitality.
On the way back to the hotel a kid on the BART was carrying an old IBM Selectric typewriter. (Rumor on the train was that he found it on the street.) You should have seen the buzz that this old relic created on that train. People were touching it, laughing, and reminiscing about the last time they had seen or used one. This was particularly meaningful in the hi-tech bay area, where EVERYONE has an i-pod, cell phone and laptop on their person at all times (guilty) and where the population is relatively young. I’ll bet the kid who found it had never even seen one before. One of the young folks on the BART thought it was “an old IBM PC.” Anyway, the scene reminded me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which the futuristic humans are mesmerized by the “Savage” who finds himself in their midst. Fun stuff.