A & M Aviation

130 S. Clow International Pkwy, Suite B
Bolingbrook, IL 60490

(630) 759-1555

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Bahamas 2009 A & M Flyout

Planning - Cat Island - Staniel Cay - Andros Island - Abaco Island - Home

The Bahamas 2009 Flyout was one of our most successful to date.  We had six aircraft and fourteen people involved, and visited five islands in the Bahamas.

Locations Visited

Objectives


Andros

After Staniel Cay, Andros was a piece of cake.  It had a long runway, nicely aligned with the wind.  On top of that, the winds had calmed.  Since it was an airport of entry, we needed to pass through Immigration again.  Since one possible course of action for Grant and Leslie was to fly directly back to the States from there, the Immigration officer collected the C-7A Transrire form, saying that, should they decide to depart for another island, it would be sitting there for use.  Of course before we did that, Grant needed to head back and move the plane, because they were expecting two C-130s in a couple of days, and with the 182 sitting in the ramp, there'd be nowhere for them to park.

This is where Jim found that, since he was changing the date of departure back to the States, he would need to refile the eAPIS.  Unfortunately, the airport had no Internet!  Grant and Leslie were planning to stay a couple of days, and called the hotel from the airport to make sure there was a room available.  No problem!  No problem at all!  The nice thing was that the hotel had free wireless, so the Jims piled into the cab with with Prellwitzes to go to the hotel so they could refile eAPIS and file a flight plan. When they got there, they found that the customs at Ft. Pierce didn't open until 10AM, so they were instructed to call Miami.  Of course, the CBP agent there missed the fact that they were going into Ft. Pierce, which caused a great deal of confusion.  On top of that, the pay phone was unable to dial the 1-800-WX-BRIEF number that is supposedly good in the Bahamas, as well as in the U.S.  No problem, we think.  Jim has an iPhone, and AT&T has surprisingly been the network that actually has coverage down here!  No, that would be too easy.  While he had coverage, he got the same message about the 1-800 number not working on his cell phone as we had received on the pay phone.  And Jim isn't set up to file flight plans electronically via any of the providers, so the phone was the only way available!  So we tracked down a local number to Bahamas Flight Service, and he got to try to explain to the nice agent that MYAF IS the airport code for Andros - Fresh Creek.  Except they wanted the three letter IATA code of 'ASD' that's used by the airlines!  Eventually, we got the eAPIS and the flight plan squared away and the Jims were on their way back to the airport to depart.

Grant and Leslie were now the only ones still in the islands.  Everyone else had either departed or hadn't arrived yet.  Yes, we heard that the helicopter had departed Bolingbrook on Saturday after Jim Z. passed his Private Pilot - Rotorcraft checkride!  Of course, Grant and Leslie were the only ones still here, and their Verizon phones had absolutely no coverage, so there was a real question about how Grady and Jim Z. would hook up with them!

Andros was very quiet.  The Lighthouse, the hotel that we stayed at, seemed to have few, if any, other guests.  There was one young couple who had been doing an eco-study semester abroad on a yacht further south on Andros.  They were spending  a few minutes at the pool.  That was it.  We walked across the bridge into Fresh Creek, planning to go to Hank's Place, which was recommended on a couple of sites, only to find that it was closed for the day.  We managed to find Chickcharnie, another restaurant and general store about a quarter mile up the road, where we enjoyed a conch burger and a beer, then walked back across the bridge to the hotel.  We could actually see the hotel across the creek from the restaurant, along with the Lady Gloria, an old freighter that had gone aground and been abandoned about nine years ago.  For dinner we went to Kathleen's(?), a restaurant that had only been open about a year.  They actually had a few takeaway customers, but we were the only ones there as we started dinner.  They had a very limited menu, and would have been hard pressed to handle more than a few couples for dinner.  However, the food was good, including the whole fish, and we got an order of conch fritters to go after dinner because they were so good.

Lighthouse Resort and the Lady GloriaNevertheless,the town was a little too quiet for us, so we decided to look for another island to visit.  Out came the Bahamas Pilots Guide and the laptop, and we looked for a new destination for Tuesday night.  We came upon Treasure Cay and saw that they had a fall sale, and a 20% pilot discount on top of that.  We tried contacting them, but were unable to, but decided that we'd take a chance and head out there anyway.  None of the hotels we'd been to were anywhere near capacity so early in the season, so it seemed a reasonable gamble.

Before leaving, however, we wanted to make a stop by the Androsia Batik Works factory and outlet store.  At the factory, they hand dye batik fabric and make clothing by hand.  We purchased some shirts, and Leslie worked with the staff to find some fabric she could use to make drapes and stool seats.  Some of it they have to custom dye, and they needed to ship it.  It arrived in the middle of January.

Time to move on to Abaco...