Thursday, March 3, 2011

Indonesia Expedition: Getting there is NOT half the fun

What could be more romantic and full of adventure than traveling to an exotic and beautiful place? After all, traveling these days is fast, comfortable and reliable. NOT. I left Boston Logan on a non-stop flight to New York’s JFK airport at 1 P.M. on February 23. With me were my 70 pound duffel full of dive equipment, a 50 pound case of underwater photo gear, my rollaway with cameras and incidentals, and a small backpack. I left extra time because it was impossible to check the luggage through to my international flight leaving at 10 P.M. from a different terminal to Singapore, with a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany. Great flight to JFK, plenty of time to wrestle the bags onto the air train to the international terminal, rest in the lounge, and then meet Brian Skerry for our trip together to Singapore.

Alan Dynner

The overnight flight to Frankfurt was uneventful and we landed at 9 A.M. In the snow. After a short 3 hour wait we re-boarded the flight for Singapore. We waited for the de-icing, then waited for a problem with a fuel tank leak that would be fixed momentarily. No food, and 7 hours later we were sent to reclaim our luggage (Brian had 3 bags weighing 160 pounds), which took another hour, than hauled it all to an airport hotel to wait another hour to check in and still another hour while the airline employees worked to reschedule our connection to Bali. After dinner we retired to a room at midnight and were awakened at 4:30 A.M. to drag our bags back to check them in, then off to reboard our airplane that we were assured had been repaired.

On the boat at last, Alan Dynner (left) and expedition leader Dr. Greg Stone

At last we were taken by bus to board the plane at 9 A.M. And after waiting 45 minutes, we were told the plane was not fixed. Back we went to baggage claim to wait for another hour to retrieve our bags again, then dragged our luggage back to the airport hotel. After an two hour wait we were scheduled to fly another airline at 10 that night. So we arrived in Singapore 12 hours later, then caught our connection to Bali, arriving at 9 P.M. the night of February 26. At 5 A.M. we left for the airport with all our bags for two flights that finally got us to Sorong on February 27. With a great sigh of relief we finally boarded our ship to start the expedition.

Alan Dynner

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