Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Are we there already!?

“Are we there yet?” Parents know that question all too well. As a kid I remember the internal frustrations and angst stirred up with those words, not just in the anticipation of the end f the journey but sometimes in fear of the reprisal from your parents. Still, as a kid one could not help ask that question. Some of my fondest memories are of those long journeys to the ocean - the peering over the hills the closer you got in the hopes of being the first to see the sea. Oh the anticipation as a kid was almost too much to bear and asking “Are we there yet?” just the most natural thing in the world to do, regardless of the emotional consequences (or those that might end up on your backside! ;)

Full dinner table!

Coming and going emotions – if I can call them that – are part of life for everyone. “Oh I hate goodbyes...”, and whether you say it out loud or keep it to yourself, you are of course experiencing those come and go emotions. And though many hate and ovoid the “saying goodbye” moments, I have learned to embrace them. Embracing these emotions is akin of emotional maturity even if one does not quite understand them they do remind of life and living.

Our season is just about at an end. We have had our farewell dinner, said our goodbye’s and some have already gone their separate ways. We are all left with our memories, making of them whatever we want – good or bad, happy or sad.

The 2013 Interns!

One thing is certain, time brings change and “Are we there yet?” has changed to “Are we there already!?” and how subtle but mature that change and shift in life is!

Wish I could stay just a little bit longer…


The 2013 Team Leaders!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Storming action

Quick update...

Francis and I scanning the water while keeping an eye on the weather

Today was not for sissies. Francis, flying his Gyro and I got chased back to the airport after spending as much time with the boats as we could. He was just doing it for the fun so sneaked back a few minutes earlier than I did. As he said, “I don’t want to get too wet…” :)

With rain coming in on the right it was a run over those clouds and the island back to the airport.

It was a hard and fast run to make it back - even if it was 20 k's away. I still got somewhat soaked. The storm actually moved past the airport to the south but our survey area was flooded. The interns said they took the boat passengers to snorkel at the Four Season but they refused to get in the water since it was pouring with rain. Hehe… :)

Even with two aircraft patrolling the oceans we didn't see any sharks which was a bit disappointing but certainly there was no lack in action.

Wish you were here!

No, its not a hangover!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Squeaking tires...

Dirk was beaming from ear to ear. He had just walked through the door after his afternoon flight. As usual he had a bag with some snacks and groceries but I could not help notice the two empty beer bottles in his hand.

“We got 5 sharks this afternoon!” He said. OK, so perhaps the empty beer bottle weren't the reason for his happiness – or at least all of it. “It was amazing!” He continued. “This morning I got 1 shark but this afternoon we got 5.” He was shaking his head in a kind of elated disbelief. “Five!” he said again, this time with more emphases. Of course given the recent drought of whale sharks this was good news.

“Awesome!” I answered enthusiastically before settling in to listening to Dirk.

According to him the interns and clients are going to sleep well tonight, some most probably were going to be sore too – they had a lot of encounters so were clambering in and out of the boat all the time. It was great to hear – nothing like a good bunch of encounters to lift the spirits of everyone.  What made the day even more special was the fact that the wind was just 5 knots. In these light wind conditions flying becomes more a pleasure than work and Dirk made full use of it.

“Jis!” He says with boyish enthusiasm, “I have forgotten how fast the micro-light lands when there is no wind. The wheels made the same noise as a Boeing!” and Dirk whistles his rendition of tires hitting the runway. I of course have a good chuckle. It is so good to share in his happy state.

Wish you were here!


PS: Savvi just popped in inviting us to the bazaar. He too is in a happy state and sure is looking sun-burnt!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pretty woman and chocolate éclairs...

“Does it have a chocolate filling?” I asked while pointing to one of the long bread-thingies covered in a layer of chocolate.
“Oui” she said. I had to admire the perfect French accent.
“Great! Can I have one please?” I smiled being all warm and friendly. Her mannerism and dress was more akin to a secretary rather than working the bakery till. My admiration came with a slight tinge of sadness too as I remembered that once, some time ago, someone had told me too that I was a “lucky ‘bastard’”.

She sure was pretty.

It was lunchtime and I was doing my usual routine but for the discovery of the new bakery that had just opened next to my favourite take away shop. Moments ago I called Sam with the news that once again there were no sharks. (Dirk and I actually feel quite guilty to call Sam with the news of no sharks – her disappointment is rather disheartening!) Of course it is not just Sam that was being effected, the interns too were feeling frustrated. After starting on such a high, the lack of sharks over the last week and half have put a slight damper on things.

“That will be 30 rupees” she said while her eyes locked on mine. They were emerald green and exquisite, the beauty not lost on me while I fumbled through my pocket for some money.
“Thank you” I said before adding, “and I wish you all the success with the new shop.”
“Mercy” came her reply. Ah, there was that perfect French accent again. Taking my chocolate éclair in its pretty box I walked out of the shop.

Later on, back in the hangar I shared lunch with Donn – he was a Captain in the Seychelles Air-force. We often have a good chat and over the years have built up a good friendship. Of course he could not help admire the tempting and enticing look of the chocolate éclair and what a rare find that was on the island.
“Talk about tempting” I mentioned. “I have to tell you about the pretty lady working at the bakery…” Soon we were discussing the merits of admiring a beautiful lady. Suddenly Donn looked at me with a grin before adding, “Well, at least you could take the chocolate éclair home with you…”

Wish you were here!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Aware are you Romeo?

Savvi and I

The other day Savvi and I was driving home after a day’s flying and I tuned into BBC. I think Savvi was perhaps not as pleased about the BBC thing but I think he was being very polite about it. They were talking about the distinguishing emotions between animals and humans. One guy mentioned his sense of nostalgia was what made him different to animals. That there were a few different kinds of nostalgia but in essence, an animal can’t become nostalgic. Another said it was the degree of love or the degree of hate that makes us different. It of course was my cup of tea and could not help but go along with the train of though. The fact that we are very different to any other animal on this planet is unmistakable – of course many arguing that we are the worst of the animals on the planet, with good reason too. However the fact that we are different was not the debate but rather the range of difference that separated us from all other animals.

“I can sit and think. I know that I am a human being. I know I have a choice to act accordingly.” I asked while looking at Savvi. Personally I thought it was being aware or knowing about the sense of Self that made us so different. And as I said being able to exercise a choice – this choice is the very thing with the potential to makes us the worst – or the very best, kind of beings.

Savvi was being quite unresponsive so I continued, “Does a dog sit and think, ‘I am a dog. That’s why I act like a dog.’, or, ‘I like being a dog but I’m going to act differently!?’” This time with a bit more persuasion in my voice.

“I guess” Savvi mentioned with his typical loud and dry American accent.

“Or another way of looking at it Savvi,” I continued, “I can act very civil towards another person while inside I might be plotting to kill them.”

“I suppose…” he ventured, slightly uncertain and unwilling.

I had a bit of a mischievous glint in my eye. (OK, maybe it wasn’t that obvious!) But I was trying to entice him into the conversation which was a bit of a heavy topic for any young man. It was an old habit of mine and perhaps Savvi was used to me ‘pushing’ him along many of these ‘heavy’ topics whenever we go flying.

“This sense of Self, and the ability to reason about that awareness and control it, is what separates us from animals. Of course that is my humble opinion. Did I miss something you think?” I looked at him, kind of forcing him to answer and take part.

“Makes sense…” He said, while once again I detected an underlying hint of an unwillingness to commit to the conversation. I mean, who can blame the man? He was still high from spending time above the clouds.

Pic taken by Savvi

The next day I was sitting at 7500’ cruising above the rain and dismal weather falling on the Northern point of the island. At that moment, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of Self. It was magical. I was floating through a land of cloud-castles, akin to Jack and the bean stork; mysterious and enchanting, surreal yet certain, weightless yet seated, unencumbered yet limited. It brought to me a sense of freedom and love and blessings that becomes hard to put into words. Over and above my reasoning and navigating skills to safely move through the clouds, I have the ability to be aware of having this capability. And to top it off, I could recall my conversation with Savvi in the car the previous day. I suddenly realized that he was being civil and polite while disliking our conversation.

All too human!

Wish you were here!