Saturday, August 4, 2012


click photos to enlarge
The TWA commercial jet approached the runway at Tan Son Nhut air base without circling.  It was going in fairly hot.  The big jet was in the air all the way from Alaska to Vietnam non stop.  He looked out the side window as the plane banked slightly to the left and thought, "am I still on planet earth?"
The runway was part metal and part concrete with the last few hundred yards being of clay.  Enormous beveled pits pock marked the ground on either side of it and extended out in all directions for at least a quarter mile. They were so numerous that the edge of each crater touched the top edge of another beside it.  It would be impossible to walk between those big holes.   Later he was told that Charlie mortared the runway daily at 1500 hours and the Army Corp of Engineers came out late afternoon and repaired it.  It was a continual daily process.  He was thrown forward in his seat as the wheels touched down and the brakes were applied.  The jet turned around at the end of the runway and everyone was herded off the plane.  The exit ramp and door were lifted and shut instantly and the jet was rolling down the metal runway before he actually walked away from the plane.  The jet was a sitting duck and needed to become airborne as soon as possible.  He lifted the duffle bag onto his right shoulder and wondered what the hell he had gotten himself into.
Shade and I arrived at the lake just as the sun came up.  The morning was beautiful.  There was only one empty fishing boat trailer in the parking lot of the boat ramp.  No one could be seen on the lake.  We would run the right side shoreline past Henderson Island Wildlife Preserve this morning.  It felt good to be on the water.  I figured that if I had a shot at any wildlife it would be early in the morning before the noisy pleasure boats and jet skis arrived.  The camera with the big lens was pulled out and laid beside me and off we went.  The First Mate was on point.

Shade was really into the boat ride today.  What a baby doll!  

Shade doesn't care where she's going - just so she's going somewhere.  She's really unique.  I don't trick her into looking at me.  When she is near,  her eyes are on my face at "all" times.  Even when she lays down she constantly watches my face.   Her devotion and dedication are amazing!

I glassed the entire shoreline ahead of us and there wasn't one fishing boat.  I thought surely there  would be anglers out before the hot sun arrived.  There was no sense burning gasoline driving to nowhere so I banked the boat into the mouth of a cove.
I usually use the binoculars to glass the shorelines when I turn into coves.  One never knows what photographic opportunity awaits.  There may even be a fisherman hanging out back in these narrow waterways.  I saw movement clear in the back of the cove on the shore.  That's usually where critters are found on this overpopulated human mud hole of a lake.  A flock of turkeys were casually making their way down to the water.  I shut the noisy engine off and lowered the electric motor into the water.  I needed to sneak a lot closer.  The turkeys ignored the big white boat coming slowly toward them.  Now, if Shade would only stay cool.

I don't understand why these two adult turkeys are with youngsters.  I need to read up on turkeys. Those small turkeys are definitely juveniles.   They still were ignoring the boat although, that adult on the right was becoming aware of us.

  Turkeys are very keen animals and we dare not get closer.  There's no sense in disturbing them.  Its their morning to enjoy.  Life's tough enough for them without some guy and a dog making them nervous.   I turned the boat back the way we came.  The turkeys lingered on without any fear.
There was one boat that may be a fishing boat far out and across the lake.  We were reaching the boundary of our area for the morning and went across the lake to talk to the guy.  I can't believe the very light fishing pressure this morning.  I'm not complaining.

Paw prints in the sand - her temporary signature that waters wash away.  Elusive proof of her passing - unlike the indelible paw print petroglyphs she inscribes on my heart.
Above:  I took the truck into Firestone Tire for some work and Shade landed a temporary position as "Customer Greeter" for the morning.  She's a real trip!  She looks so lost in that picture.  Aha - not so!