INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
Takeoff from Kodiak City to Ugak Bay
Our transport was a small Piper Super Cub single engine plane that only seated two, one front and one back, and barely enough room for supplies behind the passenger seat. It was already packed with another batch of supplies by the time I arrived.
Harry was the aviator.
We set off. As we progressed from the ground to some kind of altitude, unseen air pockets would rock our plane with lifts and dips. The first few seemed like we were about to go into the watery bay but once fully airborne the only effect was the sensation of nausea, the scenery became stable. Harry piloted us down the channel separating the city and Near Island then out to the open waters of St Paul Harbor. A few minutes then we veered off east over the vastness of Chiniak Bay, waters looking like stained glass ripples with smoothness betraying the undulation of the waves and Kodiak City shrinking away behind us. As small as it was it looked even smaller as we gained even more altitude and velocity. The din from the 180HP engine was deafening, a constant roar vibrating me to the core.
“What’s the inflight movie?” I yelled to Harry. But as I would find later he was already slightly deaf in normal conditions the joke was lost in transit. He just nodded feigning to understand of the query as he fiddled levers and knobs on the console. I tried to ask follow up questions but it was futile. So I settled back and watched the landscape passing creeping slowly below us as we followed the shoreline southeast of Kodiak City.
Turbulence at this low elevation was hectic. Unexpected wind shears swayed us from one side to the other and caused the loss of altitude without forewarning and the lone seat belt would cut into my gut under the force. I tried to stabilize myself against the frame’s struts with both hands, so hard that I was sure to leave finger marks.
As we rose higher the cold air would permeate the skin of the plane. Un-gloved, keeping a grip on the struts was a chore. We flew for about an hour more when we lost our shoreline. We have arrived to the great inlet of shimmering bright blue waters called Ugak Bay. So far inland this bay, about a five mile cut, that the shores to the west were not visible from our vantage. The cliff edges on mountain ranges on the north and south shores looked imposing. The southern shoreline soon met us and we followed again.
Not long after we approached a depressed flatland of grassy terrain and a small inland body of water just inside a peninsula that separated it from the Pacific waters. Just offshore to the east was a small uninhabitable island known as Ugak Island. This peninsula had an accessible beach maybe 1000 meters long. Just south of it was visible runoff out to the Pacific waters, making an open water access to the inland plain possible. The inland lagoon apparently fills only during the wet seasons, for the rest it dries up and provides a large muddy mess with crisscrossing streams remaining in the open grassland.
We have arrived at our destination. Harry throttles back and prepares to descend.
“Where’s the landing strip?” I ask naively. This he hears and only points to the beach.
At an altitude the view is deceiving. It looks more like the shore by the water is a narrow strip but the beach was actually wide enough to land and pivot turn around in, which we did as we reached the end of the navigable beach. The plane taxied up the peninsula the beach’s rocky terrain was rough and jolted us through the plane’s structure more severely than mid-air turbulence. I was certain something was going to fall off.
Mercifully coming to an end and shutting off the engine and the slow diminishing whine the engines sputters to a stop yet of the hour’s flight kept my ears ringing for some time after.
We jump down and prepare to unload as someone approached the plane.
About the Author
I have always ended up in unexpected places. So I present a collection of my tales told over the years. Places that due to circumstances I might never go on my own accord.