Its Hard Work – But Someone Has To Do It
Guest Editorial written by Eric Granger – I was standing over the BBQ trying to understand his words. A friend of mine (well, a friend of a friend) was telling me his unappetizing stories of being a certified public accountant and the word “work” kept leaping from his mouth. He kept on like this for a solid 35 minutes as I was flipping marinated meats and fresh veggies, concentrating more on perfect grill marks than insipid tales of the stereotypical life in the cubicle. Was he wearing a tie? I can’t remember. My frosty beer tasted good though.
Here’s The Hard “Work” I Do
I am a Seaplane pilot by trade, so I am not sure I will ever be able to tell anyone with a straight face that I work. I do have to show up, so I guess that can be considered a commitment. However, I show up in shorts, flip-flops (only to be taken off in the cockpit) and a standard pilot shirt. I reckon that is the hardest part of the day. From that point on, it is more like my personal play ground than work.
Pumping floats, cockpit pre-flight, and walk around. All standards of the trade. Even then, my mind starts thinking of the weather, the tides and swell. Trade winds and protected landing areas will be crucial when touching down in the harbor of the isolated tiny island in the South Pacific.
Starting the Pratt and Whitney PT6 engines is an honor. Certainly nothing here so far resembles the word, “work.” The ocean breeze carrying the mist of salt invigorates me even more than the cup of coffee I had thirty minutes ago.
We are on Wipline Amphibs so we shall start our “work” day from the airport on the coast. Heading southeast we are quickly over the extinct volcanic mountain ranges and easing down towards the pristine turquoise ocean. Flying low with the coral coast on our left, we quickly come upon a gigantic pod of pilot whales. 10, 20, 30 or more! There are simply too many to count. I ease back on the overhead throttles so we can all see this massive migration as I do several shallow banked turns around this natural spectacle.
Cameras are blazing from the back, children are shrieking with excitement, once in a lifetime memories are being made, and somewhere back in my home country, a certified public accountant is considering if lunch at Starbucks can be considered a tax write off. Am I working?
Ten minutes later, after signing off with the whales and continuing on our journey, we have reached our destination. Descent and approach checks completed, we get down to business. Location of coral heads, boats and scuba divers, swell size and wind. Our line has been chosen and it is looking good. Power back as we head towards protected waters. Full flaps come in and props are forward.
Another day in the office is almost complete as I round out my flare and gently introduce the float to the water. The co-pilot smiles, performing after landing checks, we gracefully step taxi to the dock, passing several meandering sea turtles and lackadaisical manta rays.
Tied down to the dock we jump out and attempt to be professional but all of us, the crew, the dock hands, the passengers, we are not simply a means of transportation at this point, we are friends with shared, once in a lifetime experiences. Everyone is smiling and the only conversation is “I can’t wait to do this again!” Another day is completed as the sun sets over the golden/purple horizon. Now it is time for me to wait patiently, for another day of… work.
Eric Granger is a Commercial Seaplane Pilot and has flown float planes in many countries. Currently he is enjoying the sweetness of life in Viti Levu, Fiji. He finds balance and unwinds from his incredibly stressful work together with his wife from Athens, his son and his daughter. His goal remains to keep having fun, while getting as many splash downs as possible.