Monday, March 21, 2011

Baja Day 4! - "The return trip to Tucson"

Sunday, Day Four - Mulege-to-Tucson. The return stretch - check out through Mexican Customs at Guaymas, enter the US at Nogales, continue on to Ryan Field. Return to our normal lives...

It all seemed downhill from here. The gang-of-nine met at the weekend breakfast buffet at the hotel. After a long weekend of food and Mexican beers, I couldn't bring myself to eat anything, though I had a breakfast bar on the next leg of the flight. It was a beautiful (of course) morning flying over the Sea of Cortez towards Guaymas. This time there were no fire drills and we all surrendered the Mexican visas we'd been carrying the last 3 days.   

Thirty minutes later after gassing up (Chuck hadn't fueled since the first trip through Guaymas - had about 30 minutes of gas left) we were headed north first to Hermosillo, which we were ordered to pass directly over again(per the airport there for air traffic control), then on to Nogales, just over the US border. We had slight problems because you are supposed to contact them an hour before landing, but we couldn't raise them on the radio. Finally about 25 miles out, contact was made.

I was on the lookout for the Guillermo Haro Observatory near Cananea, that is about 50 miles SE of Nogales. I've had the dome of it's 2.1 meter telescope pointed out to me from Kitt peak with binoculars, so I was thinking it should be an easy naked eye sight as we flew north, but it was not to be... It was easy to pick out the mountain ranges - first Baboquivari's distinctive shape to the west, the Chiricahuas to the far east, the Santa Ritas straight ahead, and eventually the Catalinas to the north of Tucson came into view well before we crossed the border fence and descended into the Nogales Airport.  Entry through Nogales was uneventful and before we knew it we were landing at Ryan Field/Tucson where luggage and hugs were dispersed.  This seems like the logical place to say "Thanks!" to our more than able pilots and their ever trusty Maules: Chuck Schroll, Michael Collier, and Mike Clifton.  We enjoyed flying with you!  Also thanks to Joey Flynn and Gail Brown for their over the top organization of the trip!  Without their input we would have been sleeping on the beach at Campo Rene, or missing our flights in the morning!

Polly and Boo
For us, however, this trip was truly about the whales.  What a rare occasion to see these majestic mammals in their own environment, and having the opportunity to have a "friendly encounter" with some of them is a dream of a lifetime.  "Bucket Lists" and birthday wishes were definitely filled on this trip!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Waaaahhhh ... I wanna go back ... (lots of whining and pouting ... be glad it's all on a computer screen and not over the phone).