So a few of you have poked and prodded wondering when I’ll finally update the blog. Of course I keep giving the excuse that I need time to think about what I want to write, edit etc. Well considering I’m sitting in the Petsmart parking lot waiting for Cheddar to finish her doggie spa day (if only dogs enjoyed pampering as much as we do…) and my purse has already been cleaned out, the excuses are up!
So last I wrote I think we had just gone to Palau. Well hope you’re comfy cause your in for a long one but I promiste I’ll try (that being the operative word) to be humorous. Since then we’ve been a little busy. Packed up our entire house, shipped our car, the dog and ourselves to the States! Our time on Guam came to a sad but good close. Lots of goodbye lunches and dinners, happy hours, luaus, picnics and well wishes until we see each other again (and yes the US Navy guarantees you will see each other again…at some point!). It never gets old to look back at how many friends we've been fortunate to make in our lives, an impressive bulk of them on Guam no less!
Additionally we had Colin's last flight with HSC-25. I barely caught his fly-in on video (sneaky sucker!) but my good friend Jackie managed to catch a couple of photos for me! I had the pleasure of hosing him down, a custom usually reserved to a family member or friend upon a last flight. I think he enjoyed it considering he gave me a big soggy hug!
Our "Bail plaque" at the squadron's
Hail and Bail on GabGab Beach in January
Our church Lutheran Church of Guam held a farewell luau for the five couples leaving island this winter. We were one of those couples and boy did we have a great time! It was sad to see everyone for the last time but again, I'm sure we'll see many of them again someday soon!
Guest of Honor. :)
Pastor Jeff and us!
Our last few days in Mircronesia were capped off with a trip to Chuuk (or Truk, depending on your historical preferences). This is one of those places we’ve been wanting to dive so we managed to squeeze three days of diving WW2 wrecks before flying to Virginia, our next station. Chuuk was pretty cool although it does make Guam look like Waikiki. All the mud
lakes puddles made for a 45 minute trip from the airport to the dock. The distance? Two miles.
We took a little boat to our ship, the SS Thorfinn, that we’d call home for the next few days. I wish the trip started out better, there was a pretty bad storm that came in and as a result, brought huge swells into the Chuuk lagoon. From previous blogs you all probably know my tolerance for bad seas….nada. Hoping my Dramamine could handle the battle, Colin and I stowed our suitcases, setup our gear and jumped into the dive boat. It took 20 minutes to reach the dive site and I already knew I was soggy toast. When we cut the motor we couldn’t even standup without holding on for dear life. You gotta love watching everyone take their dear time donning their gear despite the hellacious conditions and seagreen shade of my complexion. Hello?? Girl ready to puke here! I As I
shoved encouraged everyone into the water I began to panic as I was about to vomit and couldn’t hold onto the anchor line. I let out the air in my BC (vest) in hopes of a fast descent to get out of the swells….except I couldn’t sink! My lungs were so full of air from the panic I couldn’t allow myself to sink. That’s when my savior, Hayley (our divemaster) swam to me, added some weights to my vest, held my hand and pulled me under. I’m pretty sure this is the only situation I can think of where getting pulled under water in stormy conditions is actually a calming feeling. Pretty sure.
I pretty much spent the 40 minute dive trying to balance my equilibrium while everyone else enjoyed looking at artifacts on an old Japanese merchant ship. Don't I look happy here? ;p
We finally ascended (note: panic setting in again) and as the swells began to carry us we took our 10 minute safety stop (a normal one is 2-3 minutes but they require 10 minutes due to the deep depths of these sites). I couldn’t handle the fact that I was already on the verge of vomiting again so I shot up 3 minutes early and well, fed the fish. All I can say is I feel terrible for the dive guides, our fellow guests and my dear husband who had to witness my first dive with them. Needless to say I spent the rest of the afternoon curled up in the fetal position in my stateroom, sleeping off some of the worst nausea I’ve encountered yet. If you’re still reading this well, I applaud your stomach! I promise, that is the last of my pathetic sickness stories!
The rest of the dives were pretty awesome. ALMOST better than Palau I have to admit. It was like going back in time, we’d dive 90-130 feet down to these Japanese destroyers and tankers where everything literally stopped in time when they were bombed over 65 years ago by the Americans. While we only dived a handful of the 70 or so shipwrecks, we got to see and touch things like teakettles and rice bowls to tanks and bullets. Colin even saw a skull on one of the dives I didn’t go on. I even got to swim with a turtle on our last dive. It made me (almost) forget about the first day and fortunately I will remember Chuuk fondly…I just hope the dive staff of our ship will remember me to such a degree!
Remaining pages of a book...amazing!
One of too many sake bottles I found
More sake bottles
I named this dude Speed, it took some effort
on my part to keep up with him!
11,000 miles later we spent the better part of a week house hunting in the Hampton Roads area, our next station. Here we are: two virgin home buyers, a big city (make that seven little cities) neither of us have ever spent any time in, and five days to make a decision that will affect a substantial part of our future….that’s a lot ot think about! I think we saw 30 houses in five days, my brain about went on strike. In the end we decided despite finding a great house or two we weren’t comfortable enough with the area to make a sound decision. I mean, buying a house IS a big decision! So we’re working on finding a short term rental for the time being until we can find a neighborhood and house that we like!
After the failed house hunting trip we headed back across the country to San Diego. Colin enjoyed a couple of days with my family, we even enjoyed the Naval Aviation 100th Anniversary Air Show on North Island that weekend, so fun!
Colin and his friend Matt (also a recent Ex-Guamite) in
front of the first plane they flew in flight school
Perhaps one of the coolest sights I've ever seen.
The carrier USS Stennis' ENTIRE fixed airwing
flying over in formation...that's 40 aircraft people. All I can say is whoever coordinated that feat needs a promotion...just sayin'
Only because he just loves commercial travel, Colin flew BACK across the country to attend a month long class in Florida earning him a grand total of 17,000 frequent flyer miles in 10 days. If he ever decides to run for political office, he'll have the campaign stop deal down cold. =) So that left me time with the family, friends whom I haven’t seen in awhile. I've also kept busy with running. Gone are the days of 80+ degrees/90% humidity weather, instead I’m running in gorgeous high fifties , low sixties temps and great sights! I’m running the Safari Park Half Marathon next Sunday and hopefully my ten mile training run today was enough to get me through it on Sunday!
So I suppose everything has been updated. I’ve gone through half a box of teddy grahams which tells me I need to put it away and go pick up the mutt.
Stay tuned for a recap on my two years in Guam complete with an OOG (Only on Guam) photo gallery, one not to be missed. =)