Me, Georgina, and Marcos on the way home
Then we did the "tour around Guanaja." As we flew over the town of Savannah Bight I noticed a big crowd in a soccer field on the west side of town. Roger told us that they were all waiting for Marcos' arrival. I was, like, "Wh-wha-whaaaaat? I thought we were landing at the airport?" I guess it was one little detail they forgot to mention. Oh well, it was a big soccer field. My fear was that the helicopter would be swamped with people before I could get the rotors stopped. The tail rotor can be especially dangerous, because it is nearly invisible when it is spinning. And it will slice you up like a salami if you're not careful.
The crowd was excited...jubilant, even but very well-behaved. With their balloons and signs, they politely waited until we were completely shut down before mobbing us. Two ministers from the local Adventist church came and presided over a group prayer that not only welcomed Marcos home, but thanked God that he was even alive to come home! I don't know if you believe in miracles or not, but Marcos is a living, breathing testament to their existence. It was, I have to admit, a pretty emotional homecoming. Man, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. (We pilots wear dark sunglasses and baseball caps with the brim pulled down low so that we may maintain our "impassionate, coolly-detached" demeanor.)
There are times when I am so very, very proud to be a pilot. Helicopters are a wonderful device, a terrific invention with many, varied uses. I've done a lot of things with helicopters over the years, from reporting on rush-hour traffic in New York City to flying roughnecks out in the Gulf of Mexico. I flew one for DHL Express that was painted up like one of their cargo vans and carried small packages and thing that had to be there faster than a van could do it. And I've slung all sorts of things underneath the helicopter when the cargo was so big it wouldn't fit inside. I've taken tourists to get an up-close-and-personal photograph of the face of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. And of course, I've flown people to the hospital when called upon. It's all been good. And when this marvelous, crazy contraption gets used in such a way as ours was over the last two days, it just makes me get all choked up.
Helicopters are just so damn cool!