Floatplane Shenannigans

7 Feb

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*Warning – This post may not be suitable for people in cold climates.  This post contains images of white sandy shores, crystal clear turquoise waters, and warm happy people all of which can cause jealousy, anger, and in rare and sometimes fatal cases, spontaneous combustion. Continue to read at own risk*

My conscience is clear, I’ve done my due diligence.

Now that we’ve gotten the requisites out of the way (and more importantly, I can’t be sued), this past week I was afforded the opportunity to go flying in a seaplane.  To be exact a Maule on floats (for the other aviation geeks out there).  I was extremely excited about it, as it was another thing to cross off my ever growing bucket list.  Fine, you caught me.  It really wasn’t on my bucket list, but I added it afterwards.  It’s my damn list, I can do as I please!  I woke up that morning to cool temperatures and clear skies.  When I got to the airport, I met up with my colleagues and we headed over to the airplane to get it ready.  C6-WET was our amphibian of choice for the day (overly appropriate registration for a seaplane) and with everything all squared away, we started up and set out for the big blue yonder…all two of them.

The flight plan took us about 30 miles south of Nassau and into the Exumas, over Ship Channel Cay, Highbourne Cay and Norman’s Cay where we would do some water landings and takeoffs.  With hardly a cloud in the sky, it promised for a great day of flying and even better photo opportunities.

Bye Nassau, see you later!

Bye Nassau, see you later!

As we made our way to the Exumas, and the waters of the Atlantic became more and more clear, I fell in love with my country all over again.  With the sun glistening on the calm ocean surface, it was pristine, as if no one had touched the waters before, let alone swam in it.  As we cruised along at 1,500ft. I thought to myself this is what life and flying is all about.  For the next 45 minutes, I became a kid again.  All of the cares in the world left, and that childlike innocence returned.  It was an awe-inspiring moment.

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You can see our shadow!

Ship Channel Cay

Ship Channel Cay

Gorgeous Views

Gorgeous Views

Undisturbed Beach

Undisturbed Beach

As we got closer to the Exumas, we descended so we could take in some of the sights a bit better.  I couldn’t believe how clear the water was.  Even though we were at about 500 ft. we could see stingrays and groups of fishing chasing after each other.  We flew over Norman’s Cay which is famously known for housing Carlos Lehder, a notorious drug smuggler and for four years, the little island was a drug smuggling hub.  Once a lively little island during those times, there isn’t much going on besides fishing and those escaping from the hassles of everyday life.

With that it was time to do a few landings and takeoffs.  They decided to touch her down on a nice little area in between two islands.  It’s an exhilarating feeling, to say the least.  We touched down very smoothly, and just like that, we became a boat…with wings.  We floated around for a bit and took in the sights.  Those that were around came out and waved to us.  There was a little girl with an iPad that came out and took our picture, we screamed for her to send it to us.  This is what true island living is all about.  No emails chiming in, no cell phones ringing, no cares, no concerns.  Just you, the beach, and a few fish swimming between your feet.  The beauty of this whole seaplane thing is, there really isn’t anywhere you can’t go, allowing you to see some of the most secluded of locations.  I decided right then and there that it was all I ever needed in life.

After a few more minutes of boating around, we decided to takeoff and see some more of the sights.  Takeoff could best be described as being on a speed boat…that somehow ends up in the air.  It’s really a fun experience.  After takeoff we stayed fairly low, and explored the beaches.  It seemed like the more we flew, the prettier the sights became.  It was at this moment I realized how much I had began to take my little country for granted.  I had gained a new found appreciation for my country, and see how so many people from all over the world had fallen in love with it.

Drop me off!

Drop me off!

Waves Crashing.

Waves Crashing.

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Heaven on Earth.

Heaven on Earth.

Lovely beach.

Lovely beach.

Views like this should be illegal.

Views like this should be illegal.

With that it was time to head home.  I know, I was sad too and while I came with nothing, I not only left with memories that will last me a lifetime (and a dead phone from taking too many pictures), but with a refreshing new appreciation for my country.  They say It’s Better In The Bahamas, I couldn’t agree more.

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