Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Eagle Has Landed

In Anchorage that is.   After a three hour delay on the tarmac last night, I finally made it safely to Anchorage and the land of the midnight sun.   It was not until we started our take off that it really hit me This journey that I have been dreaming of was actually going to happen.  As I looked out the window of the plane all I could see was my Papa, flying his plane alongside ours,  smiling at me from the cockpit of his own P-40.  That is when it dawned on me what I had forgotten to pack- Kleenex.

Off to breakfast with Author- Mary Breu. Stay tuned for more details....


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

S#*t Happens

On Thursday evening our group of 10, who were all set to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, got some unfortunate news. Our Aleutian sea chariot M/V Puk-Uk, broke down (gear box malfunction) in the middle of the Bering Sea while on a bird watching tour. It's passengers were transferred to a salvage vessel and the ship, well.... is still on its way back to Port in Dutch Harbor to be fixed (which gives you an idea of just how vast this territory is up there- takes 5 days to putt putt back to a port). The part needed to fix the vessel will take 6 weeks to arrive from Denmark. Needless to say, due to the small window of good seas and weather,our trip- although still a go, will take place in June 2015. There was no easy fix to this mess, as Vicky from Valor Tours Ltd. desperately tried to find alternatives. The uniqueness of this trip makes it almost impossible. Heartbreaking news for all of us. We are all tremendously disappointed and extremely inconvenienced. 

I have been going back and forth about what to do with my non-refundable Anchorage and Kodiak tickets.... As a group, we have come up with a great Plan B. We have decided to make the best out of our non-refundable tickets and go to Anchorage anyways. Our tour leader, and world renowned historian - Col. John Cloe, will be taking us on a personal tour of WW2 sites around the Anchorage/Whittier area. Once that tour is finished, I will fly over to Kodiak and do my own tours there before returning to Florida. See more detailed itinerary below. 

And in actuality, this is not too far off my initial plan. Originally, I had scheduled myself to go into Anchorage early to visit the WW2 Museum and Elmendorf Air Force Base which Papa flew into several times en route to his next assignment. Then fly over to Kodiak Island to tour the former Naval Air Station (now Coast Guard Air Station) where he was. I would also visit the old bunker museum as I have some pictures of Papa at the Kodiak base which I wanted to donate to them. These two excursions were above and beyond the actual voyage out to the Aleutian Islands that I was partaking in by myself. Add ons. The only difference is now I have to do them separately- Part A- Anchorage/Kodiak this year and Part B-Aleutian voyage, the next. Good thing all those years living the island life in Puerto Rico taught me how to be flexible and go with the flow... jeesh!

I can assure you that it is the same trip just split up into two parts. The anticipation for next year to arrive is going to kill me. haha.  On the bright side- we were 8 days away from being stuck in the Bering Sea. Thank goodness we were not on that boat when it broke down. 

I will be posting updates of this upcoming leg of the trip as often as I can. Now that the disappointment has lessened, I am excited and looking forward to meeting and getting to know my shipmates for next year. I believe it will make our future voyage even better. 

Here is our Anchorage Itinerary:

June 14th- with John Cloe

  • Group breakfast with Mary Breu- Author of Letters From Attu. (about a female American POW captured on Attu when the Japanese took over the island. She was a school teacher on Attu and wrote about her experience as it happened. Mary Breu is her great granddaughter and published) 
  • Veterans Museum
  • Tour WW2 sites in Whittier
  • Museum in Whittier
  • Group Dinner

June 15th- with John Cloe

  • Personal tour of Elmendorf Air Force Base WW2 structures
  • Group dinner at John Cloe's house

June 16th

  • National Archives where I will be researching and looking for R.C.A.F related material. 
  • Fly to Kodiak- still confirming plans