Hi All, Day 15 started at 0700 (again), and as is the morning routine, I walked out to smell the morning ocean air and was greeted by this view:
Yup...time to leave the island!
We had to be dressed to say goodbye to the main group as they make their way back UP
the island chain to Puerto Plata in Dominican Republic then eventually home to the USA. Scoot/Cookie, Shiner/Diddy, Scott Loftin, Moody Blue/Bun, Nordo/Diane, Taco & Belle....WE MISS YOU ALL!!!!!!!!
Sharkbait also left with the 'group' at 0815 so he could pickup his girlfriend Crystal in Grenada. She arrived last last night (Wednesday) after an 18 hour day (leaving from Fresno-CA to Dallas to Miami to Grenada).
So after seeing the group off, Tuppergal and I were off to Breakfast. The plan for Roger and I was to leave the hotel for the airport at 1000, be in the air by 11:30 and be in Canouan by 12:30. We arrived to the airport on schedule, just in time to see Cookie/Scoot, Shiner/Diddy and Scott Loftin takeoff from Dominica:
Moody Blue/Bun, Nordo/Diane and Taco/Belle followed by I did not wait at the fence to get their picture...
Thanks to all of THEM for filing flight plans and going through Customs. After doing the paperwork for their six (6) airplanes, our two (2) airplanes were in/out in about 15 minutes. We were on the ramp at the planes in record time. I do want to give special thanks to the airport manager Cecilia as I was able to get her to ask the tower NOT TO CHARGE ME $125 US for landing after hours coming from Martinique the other night after getting fuel ;-)
And I have learned something new in the islands: The bad news is that having an alternator rebuilt in the islands is not such a good idea....the good news is that Sharkbait had a brand new one in his plane, which he left for me. Cookie/Scoot left me a battery in case I needed a jump. It took about 2.5 hours to make 'field' modifications to get Sharkbait's alternator on my plane...once again. Yes, when I get home, I'm buying a new alternator
By 1400 (exactly) Roger/Sue were buckled in for startup and ready for the flight to Canouan:
Our time 'off the ground' (according to Canefield Tower) was 1405, and we made a pass by the cruise ship and hotel before climbing to 5,500'. I made sure to contact the French Approach controllers southbound on 121.0 prior to entering their airspace ;-) There were lots of clouds over the islands so not much to see...
In less than 10 minutes, we were off the northern coast of Martinique (France) and I cringed everytime I had to speak with a French Controller. So I just found out that Scoot 'gave me up' so you all read what happened...I was wondering if the French Controllers remembered me from two days before when I two-shipped it to Martinique for fuel only....
Here's what happens to an American when you make a French Controller 'unhappy'... Believe you me, I can't be making this up... this was the first part of my 'spanking' as I tried to land at Martinique for fuel...the second 'spanking' was when they did speak to anyone other than me, it was in French (even though protocol is to use English when an English speaker is in the pattern)....you really do gotta' laugh...
Note to self: Contact French Approach even if not told to do so by the Towered airport you are leaving. If you don't, be prepared to hold out over the ocean...hold for nobody...really...just hold out there till we ask you to come and land...we'll all speak French just to annoy you, you American Pilot...then after we finally give you clearance to land, we'll sick the Gendarmerie (Police) on you...you 'dangerous American pilot' you........... Catch me on the ramp for the full-up Police story ;-)
So where was I....oh yea...we were approaching the northern coast of Martinique in (mere RV) minutes. The clouds were lower on the east side of Martinique at 5,500' so that's where we went:
So I'm trying to stay FAR AWAY
from the Martinique Airport (TFFF) and the controller tells us to overfly directly...really...REALLY???!!!???
In the picture above, you can see the approach and departure (does not include the zigging and zagging) into TFFF two days prior.
So I continue to follow Roger/Sue as we fly to Canouan: