RV-10's to the Bahamas - 2013

Completed 5/4/2013

With the Loooooooooooooongest winter we've EVER, experienced this year, we had come down with a nearly fatal case of cabin fever.  The winter had not been kind to us.  I spent a lot of time building the RV-14, and working on the new hangar door and hangar, but almost NO time enjoying myself.  As I sat there one day with my cyanide pill clenched firmly between my teeth, there was but one thing keeping me from taking the big "chomp"...one light at the end of the tunnel...another trip to the Bahamas!  We had been planning this one for over 9 months, and although the snow kept coming and coming, threatening to crush our travel, we were able to launch on schedule for the trip!

We had a more relaxed than normal departure schedule, allowing for a noon departure as we only planned to fly to Atlanta the first day...an easy flight of under 5 hours.  We even took time to stop by southern Indiana and give a ride to Matt, the guy who was nice enough to give me the MyRV14.com domain to match my MyRV10.com.  I had intended to register it during OSH, but with the poor wi-fi, I waited until after the show, and Matt had already snagged it by then.  Since he has currently delayed plans of building, he was happy to let me get the domain from him...so the least I could do was swing in and give him a ride in a loaded-to-the-gills RV-10.

We left IFR, climbing through a thin overcast to beautiful on-top conditions, which broke up after a short time into the trip.  We were riding a nice tailwind for much of the trip.  The plan was to meet Sean and Hollie down in Marietta at Brandi and Brian's hangar, bot arriving around supper time.  Sean was enjoying a very good tailwind too, but he had a bit more miles to cover.  We had roughly timed our arrival to be similar, despite coming from way different directions.

With an amazing twist of fate...one of the many on the trip...we arrived only about 5 minutes in front of Sean. I just love it when a plan comes together!

RV20130425-175820-001.jpg RV20130425-175830-002.jpg RV20130426-083805-003.jpg RV20130426-120947-006.jpg RV20130426-120947-007.jpg

The next day we got up with a leisurely day of flying ahead.  We had to fuel up, then head to Leesburg, FL to meet all of the Grandparents (yes, in true old folk fashion they all moved to Florida), and pick up some SCUBA gear that I had shipped there, to allow us more space in the plane for those first 7 hours or so.  It was a nice short stop, and we grabbed a bite to eat and were on our way to KFXE, to stay with Banyan air service once again.  They have a great FBO, great security, and are the most common place for GA planes to depart for the islands, as it gives you the shortest overwater crossing...flying directly over Bimini.  Banyan had rental cars on site, and arranged us a good rate (as good as the AAA rate) on a courtyard Marriott for the night.

Scott had departed later in the day, the day before, and broke the trip to KFXE into two days as well, only doing a short day 1 and a long day 2.  When they arrived, it was already dark and we met up with them at the hotel, where we did our eAPIS filing, and filed our international flight plans.

A note about eAPIS filings, and Flight Planning for international flights...

First, regarding eAPIS:  If you've done international flights, you'll know that eAPIS is somewhat of a pain.  The reason is the passenger manifest.  You can store your info on yourself as the pilot, and you can store info on any crew member, which I handily use to store Andrea's information since she is a certified pilot.  But when it comes to passenger lists, no, the CBP Website https://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov/    does not allow you to store passenger manifests.  Yes, if you've filed RECENTLY, they will have a copy of your manifest that you can edit and send for the new trip.  But, they do not keep those very long.  So, if you plan another trip, you have to re-enter all of the passengers info including passport numbers and many more data points.  This all takes time, and although you can easily do it all via iPad while sitting in your hotel room, there is a MUCH MUCH better way!  I have used iAPIS, an iPhone app, to file both of my manifests for this trip. 

Using iAPIS, you only have to set it up the first time.  You enter all of your aircraft info, your pilot info, your crew info, and passenger info.  You can then create any routes you plan to file.  It is as easy as KFXE -> MYAF.  Once you have the info all entered, it stays there as long as you want it to.  When it comes time to file eAPIS, you simply choose the route, select the aircraft, pilot, crew, and passengers...in total it will take you maybe 10 seconds, and then you tweak the ADIZ crossing information.  They have a template for that, that enters the proper format such as "22 miles SE of KFXE at 09:45 local time".  When you want to send it, you just hit submit, and you get a confirmation as my screenshot above shows.  You then just have to wait for your email to arrive.  It is far faster than any web filing that you can do.  The only downside is that iAPIS, while a free app, charges $1.99 as an in-app charge (comes right off your iTunes account), for each filing.  When you consider the necessity of filing an accurate eAPIS to avoid a $5000 fine, and the complexity of sometimes getting wi-fi or 3G/4G connections internationally, and the ability to file over low bandwidth, this iAPIS sure seems worth it....especially since it will store all of your passenger info permanently, making any new filing a breeze!

Regarding international flight planning,  I really think it's time that someone has AOPA contact Lockheed and the FAA and see what the real deal is on DVFR flight plans.  When you file internationally, every article you read will tell you that you need either an IFR or DVFR flight plan.  They say that VFR flight plans aren't enough for ADIZ penetration, you need a DVFR plan.  Not only that, but in our case we were 4 airplanes, flying as a "flight" (4 airplanes treated as 1 for ATC flow purposes).  Well, obviously you can't be a "flight" very easily in IMC conditions, so you wouldn't probably use a "flight" for an IFR plan.  We want to fly VFR.  Also, I file all of my plans normally with Foreflight, but they don't have an ICAO international flight plan option.  Then we tried later to use Fltplan.com, which does have an ICAO format you can enter, but, it will not allow you to electronic file a flight plan internationally, as a VFR plan.  Foreflight doesn't have a DVFR option, saying that duats no longer allows filing DVFR flight plans electronically.  Well, the short of it is, the only way I've found to file a VFR international flight plan is by phone.  This presents some problems too, as when I was in the Bahamas, I didn't have cellular service, and phone calls cost money. I *was* able to file via Skype, although the wi-fi at the time was horrible and it took many repeats to do it....skype is a life saver when traveling internationally if you're too cheap to have an international calling plan. 

Anyway, for the outbound trip, I had to file the plans via voice. I phoned FSS and the briefer would not allow me to file 1 single plan for all 4....so I filed mine, and then proceeded to give the names and n-numbers for the other planes.  They confirmed I had filed all 4 plans, and when I inquired about the requirement for "DVFR" flight plans, the reply was "Well, did you file your eAPIS?"...."um, yes" I said.  "Well, that's all you need then.".  I asked one more time to be sure, and he said no, it's just a VFR flight plan.  Yes, it was an international plan, so they will ask about life vests, rafts, and survival equipment, but it's just a VFR plan.  I need the AOPA to do the legwork to clarify why we even TALK about "DVFR" anymore, if indeed there is no such thing recognized.  Then, it would be really handy if the FAA or Lockheed would give us some sort of electronic filing option for VFR international plans.  That would make it much easier to get by using just a simple wi-fi connection, and reliably file a flight plan.

With all the eAPIS filed, confirmation emails received, and flight plans done, it was time to catch some shut eye.

RV20130426-121127-011.jpg RV20130427-082616-012.jpg RV20130427-084540-014.jpg RV20130427-085112-015.jpg RV20130427-085631-018.jpg
Departing the next day, we got to the airport, donned our life vests, and proceeded to call for clearance and get our discrete squawk code for ADIZ penetration.  This proved to be a royal cluster, probably due to the sequester...
First, they would not give us one clearance as a flight.  They made us each radio for our clearance individually.  If we each had a unique squawk, but flew as a flight, we'd cause headaches because we'd be traffic alerting the controllers like crazy.  Usually only the lead will squawk and everyone else goes transponder standby.  They did agree to give us one squawk, but we all needed our separate clearance.  Then we asked if we could taxi together.  Nope, we all had to contact ground separately, and we were told that we could not depart as a "flight" anymore either. I explained that I'd done it at this field before, they said "as recently as 2 weeks ago we did flights, but we no longer allow that now."  Hmmmm...more head scratching.  So we one-by-one called for clearance to taxi, got it, and started taxiing...all together as a flight.  Time to take off...."N104CD cleared for takeoff, runway XX..."  But WAIT, not anyone else....just N104CD.  We were trying to be nice, getting out of there quickly, so that they had all the airspace back to land or depart anyone else, but no....it just wasn't allowed.  Then it hit me.  I know why they were doing this.  If we depart as a "flight" they get 1 "operation" added to the day.  But, if we depart as 4 airplanes, we are now 4 "operations".  In the days where they were closing towers based on number of operations, any towered airports were going to do whatever they had to do to keep their numbers up.  My uneducated guess is that the entire "flight" restriction was all to play this numbers game.

It didn't take much time though, and we were off....and immediately began to join up in the air, and fly as our "flight", under 1 squawk, headed for the islands!

I just LOVE trips like this...it makes it so much fun when you can fly with multiple RV-10's and get good aerial photos. I do have a problem though, and that is choosing which photos to add to the write-up.  Believe me, I do spend time narrowing them down...what you will see below is maybe 20% or less of the photos we have.  One sad thing about aerials is that you need someone else to take pictures of YOUR plane...luckily Scott and Brian did that, and I grabbed some of their photos for this write-up to prove I was really along.  Check out some of these aerials!

RV20130427-090856-022.jpg RV20130427-091349-023.jpg RV20130427-091620-024.jpg RV20130427-091856-025.jpg RV20130427-091953-027.jpg
RV20130427-092021-030.jpg RV20130427-092028-031.jpg RV20130427-092031-032.jpg RV20130427-092037-033.jpg RV20130427-092045-035.jpg
RV20130427-092106-039.jpg RV20130427-092110-040.jpg RV20130427-092121-042.jpg RV20130427-092123-043.jpg RV20130427-092131-044.jpg
RV20130427-092201-049.jpg RV20130427-092207-050.jpg RV20130427-092210-051.jpg RV20130427-092224-054.jpg RV20130427-092227-055.jpg
RV20130427-092259-058.jpg RV20130427-092314-060.jpg RV20130427-092319-063.jpg RV20130427-092328-067.jpg RV20130427-092435-071.jpg
RV20130427-092438-073.jpg RV20130427-092439-074.jpg RV20130427-092457-076.jpg RV20130427-092507-077.jpg RV20130427-092519-082.jpg
RV20130427-092548-088.jpg RV20130427-092552-089.jpg RV20130427-092556-091.jpg RV20130427-092603-094.jpg RV20130427-092636-098.jpg
RV20130427-092647-103.jpg RV20130427-092647-104.jpg RV20130427-092648-105.jpg RV20130427-092903-106.jpg RV20130427-092910-108.jpg
RV20130427-092912-109.jpg RV20130427-092919-111.jpg RV20130427-092924-112.jpg RV20130427-094407-118.jpg RV20130427-094457-119.jpg
RV20130427-094714-123.jpg RV20130427-094951-125.jpg RV20130427-094958-126.jpg RV20130427-095011-127.jpg RV20130427-095015-128.jpg
RV20130427-095342-130.jpg RV20130427-095816-131.jpg RV20130427-100243-133.jpg RV20130427-100541-134.jpg RV20130427-100810-136.jpg

Our first stop was the normal "Fresh Creek" Andros Town airport, for Bahamian customs.  It wasn't as friendly as in years past....perhaps partly due to us.  We did not bring COPIES of our C7A cruising permits along.  I did have 3 or 4 in my folder, and some others printed a couple, but as a group, we didn't have the 3 or 4 copies per plane that were required.  In years past, they had tons of blank forms there, so it was no worry. But not this year. This year they expected us to bring our own.  They begrudgingly provided us forms and made copies to get the requisite 4 copies per plane, and we turned them in.  We also filled in our Bahamas immigration forms, and after that we were ready to depart....no dollars spent at this point.

RV20130427-102224-137.jpg RV20130427-102254-138.jpg RV20130427-103426-139.jpg RV20130427-103902-141.jpg RV20130427-103926-143.jpg
RV20130427-103946-144.jpg RV20130427-104005-145.jpg RV20130427-104504-147.jpg RV20130427-104556-148.jpg RV20130427-110830-151.jpg

Departing MYAF, we stayed at 1000AGL (same as 1000MSL!) because from 1500 on up we'd have to talk to Nassau approach.  Not only that, but the crossing from here to the Normay Cay area isn't too long, and when flying the bahamas, you want to be low....you'll miss all the cool stuff if you go high.  So we stuck to 1000' and headed over for the Exumas!

You'll notice in some of the photos you get nearly every shade of blue there is, in the tidal channels between the islands.  With depth, you get more blue, turning to almost white by the sandy shores. It really is an amazing flight to see.

RV20130427-110845-154.jpg RV20130427-110847-158.jpg RV20130427-110853-161.jpg RV20130427-110857-162.jpg RV20130427-110904-164.jpg
RV20130427-110910-165.jpg RV20130427-110911-166.jpg RV20130427-110912-167.jpg RV20130427-110912-168.jpg RV20130427-111008-178.jpg
RV20130427-111438-179.jpg RV20130427-111929-183.jpg RV20130427-112136-190.jpg RV20130427-112255-192.jpg RV20130427-112258-193.jpg
RV20130427-112406-194.jpg RV20130427-112430-200.jpg RV20130427-112805-207.jpg RV20130427-112812-209.jpg RV20130427-112813-211.jpg
RV20130427-112817-215.jpg RV20130427-112831-222.jpg RV20130427-112833-223.jpg RV20130427-112838-225.jpg RV20130427-112842-226.jpg
RV20130427-112856-230.jpg RV20130427-112857-232.jpg RV20130427-112858-233.jpg RV20130427-113024-235.jpg RV20130427-113346-238.jpg
RV20130427-113350-240.jpg RV20130427-113356-241.jpg RV20130427-113521-242.jpg RV20130427-113531-246.jpg RV20130427-113534-247.jpg
RV20130427-113545-249.jpg RV20130427-113549-251.jpg RV20130427-113552-252.jpg RV20130427-113555-254.jpg RV20130427-113604-259.jpg
RV20130427-113658-265.jpg RV20130427-113844-266.jpg RV20130427-113851-267.jpg RV20130427-113916-268.jpg RV20130427-114345-270.jpg

Coming into Staniel Cay, I landed first to get a chance to photograph everyone's landing.  We had a strong crosswind and it made for a good challenge for everyone.  I witnessed about 13 landings that day....and only 3 planes landed.

RV20130427-114349-272.jpg RV20130427-114352-275.jpg RV20130427-114355-283.jpg RV20130427-114356-285.jpg RV20130427-114356-286.jpg
RV20130427-114416-287.jpg RV20130427-114418-289.jpg RV20130427-114422-296.jpg RV20130427-114424-298.jpg RV20130427-114424-300.jpg
RV20130427-114426-306.jpg RV20130427-114510-308.jpg RV20130427-114514-310.jpg RV20130427-114516-314.jpg RV20130427-114518-318.jpg
RV20130427-114518-319.jpg RV20130427-114518-321.jpg RV20130427-114519-322.jpg RV20130427-114520-325.jpg RV20130427-114520-327.jpg
RV20130427-114520-328.jpg RV20130427-114521-329.jpg RV20130427-114620-331.jpg RV20130427-114647-332.jpg RV20130427-114658-336.jpg
RV20130427-114702-337.jpg RV20130427-114709-340.jpg RV20130427-114712-342.jpg RV20130427-125637-343.jpg RV20130427-125649-344.jpg
RV20130427-125710-345.jpg RV20130427-125901-346.jpg RV20130427-142634-347.jpg RV20130427-142638-348.jpg RV20130427-142845-349.jpg

We stayed once again at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, and had a great time.  One of our first excursions this time was to see the swimming pigs.  As you can see by the photos it is quite the experience to see. Those pigs are so dang fat they make me look great!

RV20130427-142950-351.jpg RV20130427-143418-356.jpg RV20130427-143452-359.jpg RV20130427-143458-360.jpg RV20130427-143721-362.jpg
RV20130427-143741-363.jpg RV20130427-143742-364.jpg RV20130427-143851-368.jpg RV20130427-143916-369.jpg RV20130427-143942-370.jpg
RV20130427-144003-371.jpg RV20130427-144009-373.jpg RV20130427-153535-374.jpg RV20130427-154749-375.jpg RV20130427-155422-376.jpg

With a fun day of flying and swimming behind us, we turned in for the night and got some rest.  For the 2nd day, we had planned a chartered SCUBA trip out to the reefs.  We had some really great diving on this trip.  Staniel Cay Divers does a great job leading the trip.  It isn't the cheapest dive you'll have but they do a good job.  We ended up diving on 5 boat dives for the trip, and we saw sharks on 4 of the 5 dives.  In fact, upon arriving at the first dive site, there were sharks swimming below the boat waiting for us to get in.  It was a blast!  We saw some great reef with swim-thru's and sea turtles too.

Other things we did, were many beach trips, a trip to the iguana beach/island where we were greeted by many iguanas running up to us....that was pretty cool.  We also took paddle boards with us and had some fun on our own private beach, and ended up doing some surf boarding behind the boats!  That turned out to be an awesome bit of fun!

RV20130427-182835-378.jpg RV20130428-093241-359.png RV20130428-093242-359.png RV20130428-095241-379.jpg RV20130428-103241-359.png
RV20130428-133241-359.jpg RV20130428-183234-384.jpg RV20130429-101411-385.jpg RV20130429-104110-386.jpg RV20130429-104546-387.jpg
RV20130429-104608-389.jpg RV20130429-104646-391.jpg RV20130429-105125-398.jpg RV20130429-105131-399.jpg RV20130429-105140-400.jpg
RV20130429-105159-401.jpg RV20130429-105304-404.jpg RV20130429-105413-405.jpg RV20130429-105527-406.jpg RV20130429-105601-408.jpg
RV20130429-105650-411.jpg RV20130429-114603-413.jpg RV20130429-114759-419.jpg RV20130429-115152-422.jpg RV20130429-115159-423.jpg
RV20130429-115616-425.jpg RV20130429-115626-430.jpg RV20130429-115655-432.jpg RV20130429-115707-437.jpg RV20130429-131252-445.jpg
RV20130429-131403-448.jpg RV20130429-131426-449.jpg RV20130429-131435-453.jpg RV20130429-131641-456.jpg RV20130429-131643-457.jpg
RV20130429-131907-460.jpg RV20130429-132219-469.jpg RV20130429-132324-472.jpg RV20130429-132715-474.jpg RV20130429-133222-477.jpg
RV20130429-133248-480.jpg RV20130429-133313-483.jpg RV20130429-133432-485.jpg RV20130429-133446-490.jpg RV20130429-133738-492.jpg
RV20130429-133804-493.jpg RV20130429-133811-495.jpg RV20130429-133815-498.jpg RV20130429-133818-500.jpg RV20130429-134040-502.jpg
RV20130429-134046-503.jpg RV20130429-134308-506.jpg RV20130429-134319-509.jpg RV20130429-134404-512.jpg RV20130429-134800-518.jpg
RV20130429-134820-521.jpg RV20130429-134829-523.jpg RV20130429-134836-526.jpg RV20130429-134838-527.jpg RV20130429-134840-528.jpg
RV20130429-134843-530.jpg RV20130429-135316-532.jpg RV20130429-135428-538.jpg RV20130429-135434-541.jpg RV20130429-135436-543.jpg
RV20130429-135602-558.jpg RV20130429-135604-561.jpg RV20130429-152321-563.jpg RV20130429-152528-565.jpg RV20130430-102548-567.jpg
RV20130430-105655-569.jpg RV20130430-105736-570.jpg RV20130430-113230-571.jpg RV20130430-142751-574.jpg RV20130430-143833-575.jpg
RV20130430-151402-576.jpg RV20130430-180456-577.jpg RV20130430-181549-578.jpg RV20130430-181718-579.jpg RV20130430-181847-580.jpg

On this trip, I adopted Brian as my son....so that my girls would finally have a brother that would pick on them a little.  That worked out real well for them.

After 4 days at Staniel Cay, it was time to board the planes again for a short hop down the coast.  More aerial photos below!

RV20130501-092457-583.jpg RV20130501-093842-584.jpg RV20130501-094022-586.jpg RV20130501-094032-588.jpg RV20130501-094036-589.jpg
RV20130501-094046-591.jpg RV20130501-094046-592.jpg RV20130501-094053-594.jpg RV20130501-094055-595.jpg RV20130501-094102-597.jpg
RV20130501-094119-602.jpg RV20130501-094120-603.jpg RV20130501-094123-604.jpg RV20130501-094145-607.jpg RV20130501-094158-609.jpg
RV20130501-094159-610.jpg RV20130501-094207-611.jpg RV20130501-094209-613.jpg RV20130501-094211-614.jpg RV20130501-094214-616.jpg
RV20130501-094218-618.jpg RV20130501-094227-620.jpg RV20130501-094241-624.jpg RV20130501-094246-627.jpg RV20130501-094253-629.jpg
RV20130501-094302-630.jpg RV20130501-094306-631.jpg RV20130501-094309-633.jpg RV20130501-094343-637.jpg RV20130501-094352-638.jpg
RV20130501-094414-642.jpg RV20130501-094416-643.jpg RV20130501-094430-645.jpg RV20130501-094433-646.jpg RV20130501-094435-647.jpg
RV20130501-094559-651.jpg RV20130501-095258-653.jpg RV20130501-095300-654.jpg RV20130501-095555-656.jpg RV20130501-100000-658.jpg

We saw many cool things on the trip down, including a real cool yacht with helipad, and as we got to Long Island, I wanted to take a flight around Dean's Blue Hole.  On my last trip in 2009, I missed out on so many things that I had wanted to see.  This trip we tried to make them all.  Dean's Blue Hole is a deep hole into the ocean...the deepest one in the world with an underwater entrance.  You walk around it in waist deep water, and at the edge it plunges nearly straight down to 660+ feet deep!  The whole thing is between 82 and 115 ft across too, so it's not very wide at the top, although down deeper it gets wider.  We had to fly around it though to see where it was, and get some photos from the air.  Really a neat place, with it's own crescent beach area protecting it, it's worth a visit.

RV20130501-101618-664.jpg RV20130501-101732-666.jpg RV20130501-101912-667.jpg RV20130501-102233-680.jpg RV20130501-102512-681.jpg
RV20130501-102516-684.jpg RV20130501-102521-685.jpg RV20130501-102523-687.jpg RV20130501-102531-689.jpg RV20130501-103020-691.jpg
RV20130501-103140-693.jpg RV20130501-103253-694.jpg RV20130501-103652-696.jpg RV20130501-103853-699.jpg RV20130501-103856-701.jpg
RV20130501-103901-703.jpg RV20130501-103956-707.jpg RV20130501-104110-708.jpg RV20130501-105822-710.jpg RV20130501-105825-711.jpg

We stayed once again with Stella Maris Resort.  The airport was great to get in and out of, and for the first time we had some cash to put out for flying....a taxi trip to the resort about 1 mile away.  Funny how that works.  I found the taxi prices high at $16 for 4 people, but that's not exorbitant seeing they're making a living at it.  The rental car rate at Stella Maris though is too high...and the golf carts at Staniel Cay are just not worth it anymore at the rates they are charging.  Just telling ya, because you want to be prepared.

The resort itself though was great...good food, nice people, and we did our daily routine every day and had a blast.

What was going on back home while we were doing all of this fun in the sun, having days of 80+ degrees and sun every day??  I checked my hangar webcams and wasn't happy with what I saw.....we were getting 12 inches of snow, and our airport was once again being covered thick....and this was MAY!

RV20130501-174755-713.jpg RV20130501-175022-714.jpg RV20130501-182452-716.jpg RV20130501-183729-717.jpg RV20130501-191619-719.jpg

Again the 2nd day at the resort was dedicated to a chartered SCUBA dive....this time for 3 dives, with 1 of them being a deeper wreck dive, and the other a shark dive with fast-action, feeding sharks!  As we pulled up to the dive, there were many sharks circling the boat.  We had to look down into the water, seeing them around us, knowing we'd be jumping in any minute.  I was the first to hit the water, and everyone else followed.  We quickly gathered together and headed for the relative safety of the bottom....at least that restricts where they can come from just slightly. :)  The dive went well though, as did the following reef dive. 

RV20130502-114455-721.jpg RV20130502-131305-722.jpg RV20130502-131515-723.jpg RV20130502-132219-724.jpg RV20130502-172447-725.jpg
RV20130502-172923-726.jpg RV20130502-174301-728.jpg RV20130502-174329-729.jpg RV20130502-180408-733.jpg RV20130503-105150-734.jpg
RV20130503-105321-738.jpg RV20130503-105325-739.jpg RV20130503-105930-742.jpg RV20130503-105933-743.jpg RV20130503-122530-745.jpg
RV20130503-122541-746.jpg RV20130503-122557-747.jpg RV20130503-125135-750.jpg RV20130503-125302-754.jpg RV20130503-125520-758.jpg

On our final day we rented cars and headed down to the blue hole. It takes about 45 minutes or so to get down there.  The speed limits aren't very fast...but the cars aren't in great shape so it's probably best to keep it slow. ;)  The blue hole was pretty fun.  There were stingrays swimming (and lurking under) the sand, along with some fish swimming around the hole.  There were some cool seargent majors keeping their nests clear of sand that were fun to watch.

The following day we loaded up and prepared to head back to the mainland. Our plan was to get as far as we could, but we didn't figure we'd make it home.

RV20130503-125524-761.jpg RV20130503-125525-762.jpg RV20130504-091458-767.jpg RV20130504-091506-768.jpg RV20130504-093102-769.jpg
RV20130504-094950-775.jpg RV20130504-095014-777.jpg RV20130504-095532-780.jpg RV20130504-095601-782.jpg RV20130504-095616-786.jpg
RV20130504-095622-787.jpg RV20130504-095710-789.jpg RV20130504-095732-792.jpg RV20130504-101010-793.jpg RV20130504-102444-794.jpg
RV20130504-102640-796.jpg RV20130504-102654-797.jpg RV20130504-102749-798.jpg RV20130504-132151-801.jpg RV20130504-134905-802.jpg

After a stop at Fort Pierce customs (yes, we had to unload the whole plane and drag our stuff inside), we headed to Leesburg for a stop to drop off the SCUBA gear and top off with fuel.  From there we all went our separate ways.  For my family, we had to navigate around the back side of some stormy weather, but we were able to scoot through and as we got to Northern Illinois we were in clear skies....arriving home at 11:30pm after flying 11.5 hours that day!

It was with much anger that I looked at the ramp, big snow piles once again had been laid, and I was wearing shorts and flip flops, shoveling the snow away from my hangar door before I tucked my baby in.

Arriving at my house, I found many many trees...many trailer loads worth, of large pine branches had broken off because of the heavy wet snow.  In front of my garage was a knee-high or more pile of snow that had slid off the roof, that needed shoveling (yes, in my flip flops and shorts) before I could park.  That's the sad thing about these planes....while they can carry us away for some great vacations, they also can sometimes bring us home.  Some day I want to have my plane take me on a permanent vacation...and I'll just stay on those sandy beaches.

RV20130504-232819-806.jpg RV20130504-232853-812.jpg RV20130504-233508-813.jpg

Site Home  |  N104CD Home