Near-Death Experience

Last week, I was as close to dying as I have ever been.  Was driving back from town about half-way between Ophir Creek and Glacier bear with the window open,  when a bee hit the mirror and bounced into my crotch.  I did the classic idiot bee panic that I make fun of others for and almost went into the ditch at 50mph.  In my defense though,  I wasn’t freaking out because there was a bee in the car,  I was freaking out because there was a bee in my CROTCH and I was just in my gym clothes…  Thankfully,  I survived and the bee didn’t.  But it was a close one…

How’s About a Fishing Post?

OK,  maybe it is time for me to come out of my slumber…  Sockeye run is going on now and everyone has been nervous about whether they would show up,  or not – after last year’s state-wide disaster.  Well,  not a record-breaking run this year,  but so far,  not all that bad.  Most people are able to catch their limits right now.  The lodge boats have done just fine floating with 3,403 fish counted through the weir.  Holding in a couple large groups below the weir,  so if you are on one of the groups,  great fishing.  If not…  Empty water…  They just aren’t stacking up yet.

Comparing this to years past…  As of this date:

2019 – 3,403
2018 – 288 with a run total of 26,704 (last year’s disaster)
2017 – 33,855 with a run total of 91,146 (the run was extremely early)
2016 – 1,306 with a run total of 55,454 (normal)
2015 – 2,239 with a run total of 94,987 (normal)
2014 – 7,277 with a run total of 102,308 (huge run)

So…  of the past five seasons,  we’re better than 3 and worse than 2…  I’m confident the run will turn out OK.  So far…

June 5th

I’m down in Sitka right now getting the annual done on the Cessna 206.  Was supposed to be done yesterday,  but we had to change out a cylinder and realign my rudder.  Otherwise,  everything else went smoothly.  But I’m still stuck in SIT.  Wasn’t planning to bring my laptop,  but with the D-Day events happening,  ya the laptop came.

I still have a few minutes of June 5th left way out west in Alaska.  The 5th was when those amazing young punks jumped out of thousands of C-47’s to secure roads,  bridges and approaches to the Normandy Coast to save the world from evil.  I already posted about the C-47 “Liberty” and have been following her flight from Denver to England.  Well,  it is the 6th now in Europe and “Liberty” is in France.  Here is a screenshot of her tracking since she arrived in England…

Liberty

A few days ago,  they flew down to the southern coast,  then back to Dukford Airport.  Yesterday when they should have been loading up paratroopers for the drop,  they flew around the local Dukford area.  Apparently,  the weather was terrible,  so they had to postpone the jump – not unlike the weather 75 years ago!  This morning,  they were in France at Caen.  Boy,  do I wish I was there with my other plane,  instead of here with the Cessna…

This has been a productive trip though,  as we have been discussing a plan to get our C-47 back in the air with my mechanics.  A year late,  but maybe this time it’ll happen.  They suggested a Go-Fund-Me page,  but I have no idea where to begin with that.  Anyone out there with some experience,  give me a call!  I need help with that.

A friend has been feeding me photos from the D-Day events and if it is OK,  I’ll post some below:

From the WWII Airborne Demonstration team from a FB post yesterday.

Overlord Update—75 year-ago-redux. If you’ve watched Band of Brothers you know the phrase, “No jump tonight.” That was the situation then and it was our situation today. Rain and high winds on the drop zone. And, so, we’re waiting. And, while we wait, we train! We turned today’s disappointment into a dress rehearsal for tomorrow, putting on our parachutes, adjusting our gear, practicing our safety procedures, going up on flights, and then adjusting to see how we can do it again even better. Things happen for a reason—if you’re willing to give them one. And, so we’ve done just that. Tomorrow’s forecast? It’s tough. And, it’s changing by the moment. If you’re a person of faith, we invite you to join us in prayer for dry calm conditions tomorrow with a high cloud ceiling. If prayers are not your approach, we welcome any good thoughts. Thank you for being with us through this. We’ll report tomorrow as soon as we know our status! Photos are of just a few of our members today. By Max Ipinza, Like Sharrett, and Andrew Kristopik #overlord19 #dday75 #daksovernormandy #DDay #Veterans

From the FB page for That’s All Brother Commemorative Air Force

“No livestream today, but there was this….a sight not seen for maybe 75 years…(photo by John Cyrier)”

No updates but I’ve seen where they have crossed the channel 3 hours ago. I’m sure this afternoon I’ll have some pictures and possibly videos to share.

I watched a video where somebody on the demonstration team said that the weather may be too bad for jumpers but they’ll still fly over the memorial at Normandy. Not sure what is going on at the Moment.

DDay6

Wow!

Interesting Morning

The ACE Air Cargo mail plane arrived this morning at 4:05am.  I fueled,  Teen assisted the flight crew with offloading the mail and UPS.  On our way into town to deliver the 592lbs of mail,  there were two bears in the grass just outside the Pate Construction yard.  We stopped in the road and watched them for about 10 minutes.  One darted into the trees immediately,  the other stayed on the road shoulder,  grazed a little on clover,  then huffed and walked past us toward Ophir Creek.

After delivering the mail,  we headed back to the airport expecting to see the bears again.  Nope.  Instead,  standing on the center line of the Ophir Creek Bridge was a beautiful cow moose and her two freshly hatched calves.  Mom was watching the trees,  while one calf walked around her in circles and the other stayed down in a tiny pile of fur.  She really didn’t care that we were there at all.  Just kept staring and listening for the bears to come and attack her babies.

We watched them for about 20 minutes as they slowly ambled down the road,  staying on the centerline.  Eventually they moved over into the trees on the right and we drove past.

So much life (and death) here.  It is still amazing to see this sort of thing and I hope I never get jaded to it.  Every spring,  there would be tiny moose calf tracks around the cabin on the Italio.  We’d see the tracks for a week or so,  then they would disappear.  Then…  a pile of bear scat with those tiny hooves in it.  This cow sure has a hard spring ahead,  trying to keep these tiny guys alive.

This was a calf we came across back in 2005.  Wandering alone on the Old Italio flats,  3 miles from the nearest tree.  My guess is he didn’t survive the night.

D-Day 75th

Well,  so much for me taking time off from the blog…

I can’t let this one go though…  The 75th anniversary for D-Day is coming in two weeks.  I have been following the “Daks Over Normandy” events and it is a little heartbreaking to see our actual D-Day survivor trapped in the hangar.  She deserves to be flying to England right now!

June6

Original June 6th newspaper from the collection…

“Daks Over Normandy” (https://www.daksovernormandy.com) will see about 50 DC-3’s and C-47’s gathering in England,  then on June 5th,  they will load up 250 round chute paratroopers and deliver them over the original drop zones.  More than a dozen planes are enroute right now from the US with stops in Goose Bay  Canada,  Narsarsuaq Greenland,  Reykjavik Iceland and Wick in Scotland.  Many of them are just DC-3’s with no war history,  while N91314 sits here in Yakutat…

Legend Airways “Liberty” is a C-47 delivered to the Army Air Force exactly one year after our baby began her service.  They served side-by-side in Oran,  Algeria with ours arriving at the base March 22nd,  1943 and “Liberty” arriving August 17th,  1943.  They both served together in North Africa,  Sicily and Normandy.  They are truly “sisters” in every sense,  so “Liberty” is the plane I’m living vicariously through…

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N25641,  serial number 9059 built in Long Beach and delivered to the Army February 11th,  1943.

So…  a friend of mine sent me a link to the GPS tracking page as “Liberty” flies to Europe.  Hope it is OK if I post this publically David!

https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/legendairwaysdc3

“Liberty” is resting tonight in Iceland and will be in the UK tomorrow.  I took some screenshots of the flight path earlier today,  as they were exactly half-way between Greenland and Iceland.

Reykjavik2Reykjavik1

Started in Denver a few days ago.  Had to spend a few nights in Iowa City when the left engine began backfiring and they needed to do some repairs.  Glad that didn’t happen out over the empty North Atlantic!!!

Well,  I’ll be keeping her on my screen throughout the next couple weeks and then for her flight home.  Keeping her and the others in our thoughts and prayers,  as they honor one of the pinnacle events of the 20th Century.  Honoring those brave men (and a few women) who went to war to battle true evil,  so that we could live in freedom.  We owe them so much.

Here is one of our posters from the museum collection:

BackTheAttack-1943

One of our posters from the museum collection…  Seems appropriate with the artwork showing a C-47 dropping paratroopers.

Thank You!

I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement from all of you.  I was going to privately respond to every one,  but holy cow!  Yakutat is a tough place to try and make it in.  There is so much negativity here.  We’ve been battling it over the fly shop,  over the hangar,  over the fuel facility…  It just gets tiring and even under the best of circumstances,  it’ll wear you down.  A few months back,  locals were trashing me on Facebook over the museum and lack of progress.  People who have never come out for a tour of course…

But how can one stay down with the kinds of friends we have all across the globe.  I’ll take some time off here,  but I promise I’ll be back soon.  Take care and THANK YOU!

I Have Finally Had Enough

No,  I haven’t made a post in a month and a half and yes,  there is a reason…

There are always people who find it fun to crap on others,  as if this will boost their own self-esteem.  I have had to deal with a handful of losers since opening the fly shop that have to place blame on why their life (or trip) sucks.  Certainly can’t blame themselves for their inability to catch fish…  I try to provide accurate information on what is happening on the rivers here in Yakutat,  so visitors can make the best decisions about their trips and know a little of what to expect.  But to some,  that is unacceptable.

In March,  it was looking like we were going to see a dramatically early run,  with high water temps and no snow.  The winter fish had already been down throughout the river for nearly a month and as the flows dropped after the mid-month storm,  tremendous numbers of spring fish were coming in all at once.

I have far less influence on when people come than most think.  Most people have scheduled vacations from their jobs and non-refundable airline tickets,  so their dates are set 6 months ahead and have no ability to adjust for an early (or late) run based on anything I type here.  But…  if the run is coming in and the best fishing of the entire season is happening when ordinarily there are few people on the river,  some people with flexible schedules can drop what they are doing and react to what is happening.

But it doesn’t increase the total number of people coming…  It just enables some people to get their trips out of the way earlier,  relieving the later crowds and having fewer people fishing over spawners like we have in May.  My reports don’t harm the river,  just shifting the people around a little bit so the entire season can be enjoyed.  If anything,  it helps the river.  But that’s not what the losers were saying…

Believe it,  or not…  I am the reason the Situk has been ruined.  One guy e-mailed saying I was selling the river out.  Let’s see…  The lodges make money on the Situk.  The rental car places make money.  The gas stations,  the restaurants,  the city government and Forest Service all make money off the Situk.  The guy running the fly shop?  Not so much.  You see,  we just started our 12th season and I have yet to make back my initial investment.  So I have literally been working every day in the shop for 12 years and writing reports and answering phone calls at 5am…  for nothing.  Zip.  Zero. Ya,  I’m selling the river out.

The bitching mostly comes from non-locals who at some point had someone “sell” them the Situk and they were just fine with that.  But they crap on me because I would dare to let someone else in on the secret.  These losers also follow my blog to find out what is happening for their trip,  but are jerks to me and dragging my reputation into the toilet because other people read my reports too.  I don’t have a lot of patience for people anymore who got theirs and then try to prevent others from enjoying the same things.  Or the guys bitching about me posting reports,  while they themselves post glory photos on their Instagram page for their much smaller audience.  Kind of hypocritical.  Essentially,  I have a group of haters who are angry that I tell people the truth of what is happening.  If you have a problem with the truth,  you may want to rethink your life.

Most of the people I have met because of the shop are an absolute delight and my life is richer because of the friendships we have made.  The tiny number of morons tend to cast an oversized shadow over the good times.  What a sad and pathetic life you have if all you can do is complain about people who are just trying to do their best.  My apologies to all the new subscribers that this is the first post you’ll read.  You deserve better,  but then again,  so do I.  I’ll be taking time off from the blog and won’t be posting any fishing reports for a while.  I’m tired.