Monday, June 10, 2013

Jeremie Adventure

'Don't follow me.' I read the words on the car in front of me and laugh. What? Don't follow me? Does he mean no tailgating? Or is it maybe a line of his favorite Kompa song? Or did he just paste that on his car because he thought some English words were cool?

Shaking my head, I ease into the left lane and pass him. He doesn't want me to follow him; fine, he can follow me! 

30 minutes ago, Jason had called to say there was a seat open on his flight to Jeremie. Since Justin was still under two he could sit on my lap, but since he wasn't sure if there was another seat for Jayden I quickly made some arrangements for him to play at a friend's house.  I had been pestering Jason for weeks to let me fly to Jeremie with him and if there was an opportunity today, I wasn't about to pass it up!

Just yesterday Jason had flown in there and had taken pictures of a sunken submarine right off the coast, very close to the airport.

Seeing it made me want to go explore!

Packing the necessary swimming gear and pre-making a few bottles for Justin, I was ready to go in no time flat.

Now, in front of me, traffic slows down to a crawl. I sigh. I really hope I make it on time. 

My cell phone rings and I quickly answer it. It's Jason.  "Will, are you almost at the airport yet? The team is here and as soon as their bags are weighed we have to leave." 

"Traffic is pretty slow, but I will do my best. Hope to see you soon!"  I hang up and inch forward. The white patrol in front of me slowly starts to pick up speed, so I do as well. A minute later he slams on his breaks. Having almost no time to react, I stop a mere centimeter from his back bumper. A pedestrian on the sidewalk, looks at me, points at our almost touching bumpers and shakes his head. 

Breaking eye contact, I give myself a little pep talk. "Okay, Will, in a hurry or not, you are definitely not going to be going to Jeremie today if you rear end someone."  

Leaving more distance now I pray for extra patience. 

Ten minutes later I'm at the domestic terminal. Whizzing through security, with Justin on my hip and my pink bag flapping behind me I slip right in behind the team who are just heading out onto the tarmac. Perfect timing!

Once everything is secure, passengers are seat belted, and checklists and briefing are complete we taxi to the active runway. Behind us, American Airlines holds short, waiting for us to depart.

Once airborne, I pass Justin his first bottle and get myself comfortable. When we reach open ocean I play with my camera settings and try to take photos of the sailboats floating in the ocean beneath us.

A little further along I catch sight of some amazing little inhabited islands. 

I can't imagine living on something like that! One little storm and your house is gone!

50 minutes later we have Jeremie's runway in sight. Since I haven't seen it before I marvel at its length.  

Turning the airplane for final approach, Jason focuses on executing a smooth landing while I snap pictures of the jungle below.

Once our Cessna 207 is on the ground and off the active runway, Michael Broyles, another MAF pilot lands a larger airplane, the caravan, with the rest of the team members.

Setting Justin on solid ground again, he flashes me a big toothy grin. It's as if he's saying;"I'm all ready for this next adventure Mom!"

Piling into and on top of a pick up and trailer we catch a ride with the team to the beach cove about 5 minutes down the road. Waving goodbye to the team, Jason, Micheal, Brandy (our temporary MAF flight scheduler), Justin and I hike down to the cove of Anse D'Azur. Ruins of an old fort cling to the sides of a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Stopping at a lookout point, we pull out our cameras and admire the views.

Wow, it sure is amazing!

Making our final descent we reach the powdery sand.

The 180 degree view is beautiful!

Minutes later we are in the water. Leaving Justin with Brandy on the beach I swim  out to explore the sunken submarine with the guys. The afternoon waves are fairly strong and very quickly a wave sucks me under. Coming up laughing and sputtering, I stop to blow up the swimming ring I had brought with me. Having trained as a lifeguard in my previous life, I know the importance of safety and always being prepared.   

Reaching the sub I adjust my mask and snorkel and dive down. Stripey tropical fish dart around the conning tower and drive shaft. It's amazing to explore this piece of history that's been here for over a 100 years! Once I've finished exploring, I pass the mask and snorkel over to the guys to use. Leaning my forearms on the top of the exposed sub I quickly pull them back. Ouch! Stinging coral. Warning the guys, I keep a safe distance. Once they've also had a turn to explore we swim back to shore.  

Jason and Micheal then go on to explore the caves as I spend time with Justin and Brandy on the beach.

Digging in my pink bag, my big baby helps himself to bottle number two.

Since clouds are starting to roll in, the guys don't want to wait to long to head back. Using the remnants of a second building as a change room, the guys pull on their pilot uniforms over their wet, sandy bodies.  It might not be the most comfortable flight home for them!

Hiking back up the path I pause to photograph some pretty flowers.

On the main road again, we flag down some motor taxis and hop on for the short ride back to the airport.

There is (apparently) always room for one more on these taxis!

Back at the airstrip the pilots ready the planes and we climb back on board.

Goodbye Jeremie. Till next time!

Justin waves at the disappearing city beneath us as his Daddy plays with the controls.

Admiring the view from my window, I continue to snap photos.

More tiny inhabited islands, dot Haiti's coastline.

A little later, I snap photos of Micheal and Brandy passing us in the caravan.

Jason then decides that there's no time like the present for his youngest son to take his first flying lesson.

50 minutes later we have Port au Prince insight once again.

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