November 22nd, 2009 – by: bigmac993
The Blue Goose and I
I had worked all night and it was time to sleep but my coworker who was scheduled to go to St Paul had been injured early in the morning so I volunteered to go to St Paul in his place. Now I was up all day packing and making arrangements with the laundry, payroll, mail, and other admin tasks while waiting for a 1 PM departure time on the Goose. The distance from Akutan to St Paul is less than 400 miles but there are no scheduled flights between the two islands and a charter is about $5000. So my helper and I will fly to Anchorage, stay overnight, and catch a flight to St Paul the next morning, roughly 2 - 800 mile journeys and a ticket cost of about $1600 each plus hotel.
At least I am not paying for it.
The Blue Goose has landed in Akutan!
It was a clear day and the Goose was flying so we went down to the landing ramp and waited for it. Finally it came and we loaded up and headed to Dutch. The pilot flew really close to the mountain tops and it was a fantastic view! He saw us with our cameras and landed in the water in Dutch rather than using the wheels and runway at Dutch so we could get some nice photos. Very nice of him! If you are interested in these old seaplanes, I have a short video of the Goose coming out of the water in Akutan. The link is the last photo listed in the normal TB way.
We got to Dutch checked in and got a late flight to Anchorage on a Pen Air Saab and had an uneventful flight.
By now I was exhausted from working all night the night before and all the excitement of packing and leaving so I slept most of the way to Anchorage. In Anchorage we went to a nice hotel that had a company charge and had a good nights rest. We found a small pizza place owned by a Middle Eastern man and really pigged out on some excellent pizza. It was great!
Views inside Akutan Harbor. The complete Village of Akutan.
The next morning when we got to the Anchorage airport, I got my first (and I hope last) introduction to a Fairchild Metro liner. It looked big on the outside but was so cramped inside that I had a serious case of claustrophobia for the first time in my life. And it was a long flight, about 800 miles with a stop in King Salmon to refuel. I think part of my problem was that I was still very tired from the day before. I got off in King Salmon while the plane was being refueled and it was all I could do to make myself get back on the plane to finish the flight to St Paul. If I had been on holiday, I would have waited the next day for a Saab flight.
Anyway we finally got there and to my great relief I was able to get off the plane that we later named the Coffin! We called the plant and some workers came to pick us up. On the way to the plant the driver took us by a beach where we saw hundreds of northern fur seals! Fantastic! Next blog St Paul Island!