July 23, 2016

Day Eighteen – Short Update

Once again, weather disrupts our best-laid plans. Our intended routing from Petro via Adak to Anchorage is not an option, as the weather in the Aleutians is below instrument approach minimums, and not forecasted to improve anytime soon. So that leaves us with two options:

1. Wait and see what the weather does, prepared to stay a couple more days in Petro.
2. Backtrack to Magadan, take on a full load of fuel, and proceed non-stop to Nome, flying 1235 nautical miles over open water.

As you might imagine, that choice requires some discussion. After delaying departure for a couple hours, hoping for improved weather, we finally decide on option #2. Back to Magadan (the one city we expressly did NOT want to return to), with its biting bugs, ancient facilities, obsolete equipment, no food, and unwelcoming staff. And, as bad luck would have it, staffed with only one immigration officer, it takes us hours to get all of our documents approved for departure. Finally, prepared to go but a bit apprehensive, we begin the longest leg of our journey, throttling back our speeds to conserve fuel. Nearly 5 hours later, just before midnight local time, we land in Nome. Back in the USA! YEAH! The customs staff and FBO folks are great, expediting our paperwork and refueling process. Given the late hour, we did consider the option to stay the night in Nome — rather than push on to Anchorage. But the customs officer, who lived in Nome, adamantly advised ‘keep going’. And so we did, knowing a warm bed was awaiting us at the Captain Cook Hotel. We arrive in Anchorage at 3 am local time in that weird Alaska twilight. But having crossed four time zones – and the international date line – who knows what our body clock thinks! This airplane is a true time machine!