Sunday, August 30, 2009

Windy Sunday.

It is Sunday the 30th. I have just had my own church service at home so to speak. Nothing like quiet time with our God! (Considering the type of flying I am doing that is rather wise. :-) The wind has been very strong so there is no feeling of loss as far as flying is concerned. On Monday when one and all are back at work we can try sort out our security clearances (Late Friday afternoon I got an email from SCAA with our flight clearance number - clearance for the whole survey period) This was of course rather ironic - being given permission to fly but not having been given personal passes to be able to enter the airport areas!
David (Dr Rowat) is arriving back today from a symposium in Reunion. He has been quite busy with seminars and chats about latest discoveries of whale sharks which are most interesting indeed! I will in the coming weeks divulge some of the more interesting bits of these on the blog, so watch this space.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Assembly time two

Well I tried to get these pics on with the blog part but have not quite figured it out. this is us collecting the crated plane, driving to the hangar and assembling the plane. I thought you'd like the pics. :-)

Assembly time

Hi all! :-)

It is Friday lunchtime. I have just placed the butter on the kitchen counter to soften a bit - which should not take long in this tropical heat. Outside the wind is really gusty and even the door mat has been uprooted form its welcoming place. Frequent gusts over 25 knots at the airport with one reaching 30. That is of course my cue not to fly.

It has been a long and trying week. My flu seems to be slackening off though I seem to have been left with a staggering cough (Yes, staggering!) The plane is ready and all our instruments have been sorted. I still need to go over the workings of our little Dictaphone (These little gizmo do come with a manual - thankfully! Operating it in flight while tracking a whale shark needs to be second nature). At this stage we await permission from SCAA to fly. Our applications has been in since Monday and it is actually taking longer than usual. I spoke to Frankie (my contact at CAA) this morning and he believes it is just the usual bureaucracy. At least the weather is no good so it is not like we are missing out on anything. The prediction is for it to be strong throughout the whole weekend too.

Our intern team consists of six. All newbies to the island and its associated peculiarities, they have been in awe for the most part to say the least. This week has been spend on training them in the various tasks that would be expected - all of which has been met with keen enthusiasm. They seem to be getting along fine in their house and from my point also seem to be an interesting bunch with no odd balls that could cause friction. We have two men and four ladies - Abby, Dominique, Torri, Kierra, Garrith and John. They are heading out to sea this afternoon for some plankton tow practice - motion sickness tabs taken - it is pretty rough out there!

As for me - I am sitting pretty in a great home. It is quite lux. I have a huge wide screen TV with full cable channels to choose from. It is ironic actually since I have only flicked through the channels so far and find I don't have the time to watch anything. Who would want to while on a beautiful tropical island! The place has two large bedrooms with air con, modern kitchen and large open plane dining and lounge area. Unfortunately I will be moving out in a month to the more middle class flats used by the rest of the crew. Luke and I will be sharing a two bedroomed flat by then. Why not move in here you say? Easy. This place is three times the price!

Wish you where here!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Its here!

Well! 'WE' have finally arrived. This emphasis on WE meaning both me and our little orange plane. After serious headaches we managed to get the microlight onto the air Seychelles flight to Mahe at midnight on Friday the 21st. Rumor has it that it is in customs and we await clearance. Perhaps with a bit of luck on Wednesday or Thursday latest we will have our little plane.

Personally I am a bit for the worst on wear and tear. Would you believe we got this stupid flu days before I left. After a long layover in Jhb and a midnight flight I am suffering from a bit more than just jet lag...

But we are on the beautiful islands of Seychelles. More when I feel a bit better.

Monday, August 17, 2009

15 days to go...

15 days... How misleading! The fact is, to me the season has already started. Much of my time has been taken up chasing those involved in finishing our little orange plane in time. And time is running short - real quick. The last flight to leave Gauteng is midnight on Sunday the 23d. My slight panic is not for no reason either - the little plane is still in Durban. Between Durban and the Gauteng airport is not just distance but the chasm of clearing agents, customs, foreign exchange controls and banks (anybody with experience of customs will realise that three days to clear an important item is risky business!) all of which is trying their damnest to prevent our little plane from make that crucial flight. How we ended up here with a bit of a rush is a fair question too. Truth is a few of Solowings key factory personnel has been send home with the dreaded flu and work at the factory suffered - understandably one cannot take any chances with this little piggy flu...
Of course, my take is a dramatic one. Done on purpose. This is such a natural way of doing and looking at things that it becomes so easy to get caught in negativity even if slight. Everyone has been going out of their way to help get our little baby onto that critical flight. It is encouraging and heart warming to see people stretched yet remaining helpful, truly going that extra distance. Maybe though, it could just be the right use of a smile and those two little words of please and thank you. And not the pasted ones but the real deal. Just maybe...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

26 days to go...

News just in. Our little orange plane should be ready before the end of the week. That is brilliant! It means that for once things are panning out before schedule. Kind of weird around the Africa continent... Of course we are delighted and doing our best not to rock the good luck charm too much! Why should we!?

But with a bit of luck, customs should allow our plane through without fuss (Ja, right!) and beginning her journey back to the islands by end of next week. Fingers crossed!

Just for interest - I had a great flight yesterday. There were 11 whales in our bay - three mothers with calves. It was truly magical to see these giant animals hanging in their green rooms, perfectly at home in what we as humans see as very dangerous waters...