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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flying Over the Delta

One of the awkward factors of our moorage at Neptuno is that the neighborhood directly outside is too risky to walk in, being a known area for muggings. As a result we've taken many short taxi rides, safely crossing the danger zone. One day a driver mentioned to us, casually, that when he wasn't driving a taxi, he was driving a helicopter for the Prefectura (similar to Coast Guard but more police duties.) Pablo is one of Christina's pilots, the president of Argentina. Furthermore, if a couple of seats were available, he would be glad to take us for a ride! After a first short reaction of disbelief we noted his military bearing and unusual driving skill..... A few days later we got a call, and before we knew it we were at the airport watching Pablo's helicopter landing to pick us up!

helicopter lands

Pablo wave

busy pilots

Just seconds after take off we passed Marcy moored at Neptuno and headed out to the rivers and canals of the delta.

Neptuno & Marcy

As we roared down the waterways at a low altitude, the helicopter banked left and right to stay over water.

banking

Looking down we saw the scenery flash by.

rowboat

barge port

At one point at low altitude (at about 150 feet) and high speed (at about 150 knots) we roared past a ferry heading the other way. For sailors like us that get “white knuckles” at 9 or 10 knots it was quite thrilling.

fly by ferry

Pablo looked like he was enjoying driving.

Pablo 1

The helicopter had the same Garmin GPS onboard that Marcy has.

Garmin GPS

We returned to the airport and were introduced to the other passengers. Interestingly, they were a group of Dutch technicians in BA to rig a new Prefectura training ship.

post flight

post flight 2

We were invited to share sandwiches and coke in the pilots lounge.

Ginger in lounge

There was a photo on the wall of the Prefectura helicopter in windy weather winching crewmembers up from the deck of a stranded shrimper. We learned that Pablo had taken the picture. We remembered when onboard Marcy a few days earlier he had warned us to avoid these windy and shallow dangerous waters to the south.

Pablo with photo

Pablo planning

We were given a ride home by the Prefectura, leaving us amazed at our good fortune to have met Pablo and the hospitality of Argentina.

ride home

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