caribbean

On June 22, 1962, an Air France Boeing 707 crashed on the island of Guadeloupe, killing all 113 passengers and crew members aboard. It was one of five major accidents involving Boeing 707s during that year. In all, the five crashes that year killed 457 people. Crashes happen, and unfortunately, they are not always such an unusual occurrence. Nevertheless, there was a mystery involved here. The Boeing 707 was originally a KC-135 military tanker and bomber. Boeing later decided to modify it to be used for civilian transport, and the finished product was the Boeing 707. The new design proved very popular in the commercial aviation industry. The Boeing 707 was not a fuel efficient as some of the other planes of that era, but it was faster than any other commercial jet at that time, so it made up for the fuel problem with its greater speed.

The airport on the island of Guadeloupe is located in a valley that is surrounded by mountains. Guadeloupe is a part of the French West Indies,located in the Caribbean. This particular airport is not the pilots favorite, because it requires them to make a steep descent just prior to landing. Any problem that occurs in the descent, is very hard to correct, because there is just no time. On June 22, the Air France flight failed to descend correctly and crashed directly into a peak call Dos D’Ane, or the Donkey’s Back. The plane exploded in a fireball; there were no survivors. The flight occurred before the black box flight recorder was invented, so no sure reason for the crash was ever officially found.

This crash was the third deadly crash of a Boeing 707 in a month, so something had to be done. On May 22nd, 45 people died when a plane went down in Missouri and on June 3rd, another Air France 707 crashed in Paris killing 130 people. No evidence was ever found that connected the accidents. It is believed that the weather played a part in the June 22, 1962 crash. The weather was poor in Guadeloupe that day. A violent thunderstorm was in the area, with a low cloud ceiling. Adding to the problem, the VOR navigational beacon was out of service. The crew reported themselves over the non-directional beacon (NDB) at 5,000 feet and turned east to begin the final approach. That was the last time that anything was “normal” with the flight. Due to incorrect automatic direction finder (ADF) readings caused by the thunderstorm, the plane strayed 9.3 mile west from the procedural let-down track. Moments later, the plane crashed in a forest on the hill called Dos D’Ane, at about 1,400 feet and then exploded. There were no survivors. Among the dead was French Guianan politician and war hero Justin Catayée and poet and black-consciousness activist Paul Niger. While weather played a significant part in the crash, it was not the only cause.

Mike in the BahamasMy brother-in-law, Mike Reed has proven himself to be such a great addition to our family over the years. When we first met Mike, I wasn’t sure he stood much a very good chance against all of our teasing, but he is a really good sport, and he is also, a great teaser in his own right. When we first met him, he might have been a little overwhelmed by our large group of full on teasers, but that only lasted for about ten minutes….then he was right there with us.

Mike and my sister, Caryl are such good friends. They have the same goals and dreams. Right now they are working on their retirement plans. I always knew that imageCaryl loved horses, and wanted to have some of her own, but I didn’t know that Mike shared that dream with her. Nevertheless, they do share this dream, and since their purchase of a ranch outside of Casper, they have been working to fix it up. Mike is very handy as a carpenter, and I think Caryl must be too, or else she is a good assistant, which would be more like what I would be. Their retirement is down the road a little way yet, but by the time they are ready, their home on the ranch will be built. There is already a house there, but they are renting it out for now. Time will tell what they decide to do with that house later on. Mike has many talents. He could easily be a handyman. In fact, it seems like every time they come down, we have some project for him to do at our parents’ house, where our sister, Cheryl lives.

imageOf course, I think that the thing that Mike is most looking forward to in retirement, is the same as most of us are…relaxing. Mike likes to fish, hunt, and to travel. He has taken a couple of trips to Alaska to go Carabou hunting. He uses the meat from the hunting to make the most amazing jerky ever. And like most of us who have done it, taking a cruise is a wonderful way to spend a vacation. I think that once you have done it, it’s real easy to get hooked on it…as Mike and Caryl will certainly tell you. They have traveled, to many places, including Japan, the Bahamas, and most recently a cruise from Baltimore to the Caribbean. I think they are in pre-retirement mode…but then aren’t we all. Well Mike, with each birthday, you are a little bit closer…good news!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

100_0531I will never forget the first time I saw the ocean. I can’t tell you the exact spot, unfortunately, but it was along the coast of Maine. Our family had taken a trip to visit my sister, Cheryl Masterson whose husband was stationed in Plattsburgh, New York at the time. While we were there, the whole family took a trip down the east coast. It was amazing. That first ocean view was one of the most awe inspiring views I have ever seen, as I’m sure anyone who has seen the ocean would agree. It is difficult to comprehend such a vast expanse of water, with no visible land on the other side. There are the great lakes too, of course, and they do give a feel of an ocean, but you know they are just lakes, and as quickly as it appeared, that feeling of unbelievable vastness passes. But, the ocean…that view is one that will always have a place in my memory files.

I remember too, that it was in Maine that I hade my first taste of lobster. Oh my gosh…it was 0331011550heavenly. Many people say that the experience of eating lobster on the coast probably ruined lobster for me, because it just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. That may be true, but lobster is still heavenly, and all I can say if that I wish the price for it wasn’t so far out of this world. There are so many experiences that are only enhanced by their natural habitat, and while lobster eating is one of them, I’ll do my best to struggle through it, anytime I get the chance.

While my husband, Bob and I have seen the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and now, the Gulf of Alaska, and each of those experiences have been awesome, they couldn’t compare to the way I felt at my first ocean view. Obviously I was a younger girl then, and while I was pretty well traveled as a child, there are simply some sights that tower over others in your mind. I wasn’t so young at that first ocean view, IMG_2103exactly, at 15 years of age, but somehow the view of the ocean made me feel like I was younger and smaller. Its vastness was so much to take in. I wondered what things were on the other side, and how many desert islands were in between this side and that side. I wondered about the shipwrecks there might be from days of pirates and hurricanes, and about the fish that lived in the ocean. All were things I would probably never know about…or would I? Perhaps with a little research, the events of the ocean’s past could open up and I could be privy to the secrets that lie beneath those vast expanses of beautiful blue water too.

Corrie and Angry AmyFrom the time she was a little girl, I knew that my daughter, Amy Schulenberg Royce could take care of herself. She was always a tiny little girl, and finally grew to the great height of 4′ 11″…or so I thought. Her husband kept telling her that she was only 4’10” and when she got tired of arguing with him she had him measure her, and sure enough she is 4’10”. Nevertheless, height isn’t everything. My little girl has always been feisty, and she let any poor soul who messed with her know that she was in charge. Don’t get me wrong here, because Amy is very much the peacemaker, and she really dislikes confrontation, but that doesn’t mean that she will let people push her around. It simply means that when she is done putting up with something…she is done, and you would do well to get out of the way.

I think that in many ways, that feisty determination has been something that has served her well. Many people think that stubbornness is a bad thing, but being a stubborn person myself, I know the value of stubbornness. A stubborn person really hates failure. They will set their sights on something, and against all odds, they will achieve that goal. That is exactly the kind of person Amy is. She is a never give up type of person, just like her mom. We are stubborn, but it is stubborn in a good way. Stubborn in a determined way.

Amy is a successful insurance agent now, and it has been my pleasure to work with her for the past several years. It’s not always easy to work with your child, but with Amy it has been easy. She has a great work ethic and would never put me in a position of needing to take her imageaside and chew her out for her work habits. Yes, we are both stubborn and determined, but we also work well together.

Amy’s life is changing now, with her children growing up. Amy has found a new passion…travel. She and her family went on their first cruise, to the Caribbean, and had so much fun that she can’t wait to go on another one. At this point, she and her husband, Travis are planning a cruise through the Panama Canal. They are so excited about it, and I am very excited for them. Today is Amy’s birthday. Amy, I am so proud of the person you have become. Happy birthday Amy!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Caalab and Travis ParasailingFor as long as she could remember, my daughter, Amy has wanted to swim, interact, or at the very least, touch a dolphin. I think she was beginning to think that her lifelong dream would never come to pass. Then, she and her husband, Travis decided to take a very special family vacation, before their children, Shai and Caalab were completely grown up. They settled on a Caribbean cruise. At first they were going to keep it a secret so the kids would find out when they pulled up to the dock, but the excitement got to be too much for them and they found themselves wanting the kids to share in the excitement of planning the trip. Shai and Caalab were beyond excited about the trip, and over time it became all they talked about. Finally the day arrived, and they were off on the trip of a lifetime.

Their trip would take them to a private island in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. Traving on the Meditation RockThey would get to go parasailing in the Bahamas, which was a little un-nerving for Shai…but then I’m not sure how I would feel about it either. Jamaica was the part of the trip that Travis, Shai, and Caalab were most looking forward to. They were going to see the home and grave of one of their favorite singers, Bob Marley. Jamaica was a little surprising for them too, because there are two sides to Jamaica…the rich and the very poor…still, the visit to Bob Marley’s place was the highlight of the trip for Travis and the kids. In Grand Cayman, they took a ship wreck tour, and found out what can happen when an anchor misses the shelf it is supposed to land on. The fish they saw through the glass bottom boat were amazingly beautiful, and the ship wrecks were sad, broken pieces of what used to be a ship.

Finally, came the day when Amy’s wish would come true. Their ship arrived in Cozumel at 10:00 in the morning…to pouring rain!! They all wondered if they would be able to spend Kissed by Diegotheir time with the dolphins. Travis and Caalab were trying to figure out a way to force the issue, in the event that they said it was cancelled. Thankfully the rain quit, and they headed into the pool area. After a little training, they were able to interact with the dolphins. For Amy this part of the trip was the end all/beat all best part. I don’t know if she ever truly believed that her dream would come true, but in the end, not only did she get to interact with the dolphins, but one named Diego even gave her a kiss. Travis was a little jealous, but since Diego wasn’t coming home with them, he figured that one little kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.

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