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Friday, January 28, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Roger, Go At Throttle Up

Roger, go at throttle up........

Words that abruptly ended the controlled part of that flight. Unlike "Houston we have a problem" where we lingered on for days with hope that was finally fulfilled these words were like a guillotine that indicated that it was over. Now.

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and I were on the east coast of Baha Sur, Mexico in the Sea of Cortez enjoying the delights of sailboat cruising. It was not because we had money but mostly because we did not. On the day of this event were were in fact in a little bight on the coast named San Marcial. The day before we had surveyed a pass very close on the rocks not fifty feet from were we anchored. A very narrow pass that was close to the rock cliff that was the shore. I am sorry I do not have pictures but even if I had a camera believe me I was to busy to use it.

Excerpt from the log:
Monday, Enero 27, 1986. Survey reef.
Tuesday, Enero 28, 1986. 1500-Departed San Marcial southbound.
1600-Anchored San Marta in 10 feet sand.

We visited Santa Marta because we had sailing acquaintances that had built a structure there. It was a house by my standards but I doubt that most Americans would see it that way. It was elevated and if you looked at the water marks on the trees you could see why.

And that is where we were. The space program was a world away. Little did we know that soon an illiterate Mexican fisherman would bring us the news.

Excerpt from the log:
Thursday, Enero 30, 1986. 1100 Departed Santa Marta bound for Tambobiche.
1115 Narcisso
(I do not remember what this was but it did not take long)
1130 Underway again. (see it did not take long)
1330 Punta Gato (abeam).
1400 Tambobiche.

Tambobiche is a small fishing village on the east coast of Baja Sur. The only access is by boat, foot or a very crude dirt air strip. They are completely off the grid. They do not know what a grid is. They fish and they hunt and they make children.

However we had a friend there by the name of Manuel. Manuel is illiterate, likes tequila and beer, likes Americans (there an easy touch) and is an accomplished con artist. Great guy. He literally (by his account and verified by his esposa) road a horse to a ranch and kidnapped his wife so they could run away and get married. Seems they were in love but her father did not like this ne'er-do-well. An age old story.

When we arrive in Tambobiche Manuel came out in his boat and with tears on his face (literally) to bring us the news of the Challenger. We were so out of touch that it did not affect us at all but we acted concerned. Of course later I had many thoughts about it which I will not share here.

This illiterate Mexican fisherman was more aware of what was going on in the world than we were. Later we come to find that most of these Mexican pheasants were far more aware of what was going on in American politics and in world politics than most Americans. I was embarrassed many times when trying to discuss politics that I was so deficient. I have come to find that many Americans do not know where Washington D C is, or where the white house is and think that New Mexico is a foreign country.


Big Oak said...

I remember exactly where I was also - at work in downtown Indianapolis. The boss heard about the incident, borrowed a small tv, while all of us huddled around that little screen, trying to make sense of what just happened.

Bob from Athens said...

I don't remember exactly where I was for Challenger,however I do for Discovery. I was right underneath the flight path, sounded like a freight train on bad tracks going over my house. For me the most memorable was when Preasident Kennedy was shot. A new recruit from Dallas, standing on the parade ground at Lackland Air Force Base, wondering just what the hell I was gonna be getting into now!

Lisa said...

I have vivid memories of the Challenger disaster. I was a custodian at a Texas intermediate school (3rd and 4th grades). That morning I had helped the thirty or so teachers set up televisions in their classrooms so that the children could watch history being made. It was a traumatic experience made worse because little kids had viewed it.