Sunday, August 4, 2013

Adventure! This time, with flying and a beach.

And now, for something completely different...a post that isn't just Pictures of the Day!

Mark and I wound up with a full day off together this past week. A day free of vet visits, repairmen, flight instructing, and chores. And even better, the weather was nice. That never happens! We decided to take advantage of the stars aligning for once and flew to the beach. After a false start (thanks, OXB, for closing your runways the day we wanted to fly in), we settled on Tangier Island (TGI). I had never been there before but I've heard that the crabcakes are really good, plus since it's in VA I could get the airport passport stamp while I was at it.

The flight down was really nice; we stayed low (2500') and skirted south of the restricted airspace on the west side of the island. Visibility was great and we easily picked out the island, so I maneuvered to enter the right downwind for Runway 2.

To say Tangier is small is a bit of an understatement. The island is only 1.2 square miles, has just a handful of streets, and as of the last census, a population of 727.

Pattern altitude was only 600', which was interesting, and the final to Runway 2 takes you out over the water. It was tricky to tell where the runway actually started; there was a bit of overrun with chevrons and a displaced threshold on the approach end, but there were two sets of numbers and I wasn't sure which one actually marked the beginning of the runway. I got low and slow, dragged it in with power, and plopped down as soon as I crossed the last threshold marking before the last set of numbers. It was one of the best short landings I've done in a while.   :)

Ta da! We parked up on the ramp, put our $10 landing fee in the yellow mailbox by the fence, and set out to explore the island.

The scenery was neat; there were bridges that spanned the creeks that run through the island. We eventually made our way to the main road to grab some lunch.

I had read on Airnav that if nobody was at the airport, the airport passport stamp was kept at Lorraine's. There are several other restaurants, too, but since I wanted my passport stamped and the menu had non-seafood things for Mark, we figured Lorraine's would work just fine. It turned out to be a good choice...the food was great! I got a crabcake sandwich and we split some sweet potato fries.

After lunch we wandered to the harbor on the northern part of the island. There were a couple boats with crab pots passing through when we first got there, but it was pretty quiet aside from that.

We walked around a bit more, then made our way down a street, over a bridge (where we saw lots of crabs and even a jellyfish in one of the creeks), and started making our way toward the beach at the south end of the island.

If people aren't coming to the beach when they visit Tangier Island, they're missing out!

Now we're beach buddies! This was my kind of beach: you could walk way out and still only be up to your waist, you could see through the water, and it was a really nice temperature. There were even rocks to climb on if you walked out toward the airport.

We spent a couple hours hanging out at the beach, and for most of that time we were the only ones there. At one point we saw a jellyfish in the water; Mark poked it a bit and it eventually drifted away.

And because I'm a big dork when it comes to airplanes, I loved watching everyone fly short final right over our heads.   :)

We walked down to the far end of the beach before we left. There was a bunch of dead grass sticking up out of the water, and we saw a little crab on the way back. It let me get close enough to get a few pictures before running off.

Since we didn't want our dogs to explode from being inside for so long, we eventually made our way back to the airport so we could fly home. We stopped for ice cream along the way, then walked back to the plane, did our preflight, and took off.

Bye, Tangier...I can't wait to come back for more crabcakes and beach time!

The flight back home was just as nice as the flight out, and we wound up flying 2.9 hours round trip. I think I can cut a tenth or two off of that next time, since we spent a bit more time than usual on the ground at HWY before we left. At any rate, we had a really good time and I'm hoping to get back here again soon!

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