The Long Flight Home—CHAPTER NINETEEN

BOOBIES AND THE LADY PILOT

flying duoDooley and Talli glided through the air over the ocean a mile out from the Bounty launch.

“Remind me again why we dropped some perfectly good food on some humans?” asked Talli.

“They were starving,” Dooley retorted.

“Did I mention that I’m pretty hungry myself?” Talli interjected.

“You? Hungry?” Dooley remarked facetiously. “I had no idea.”

“Don’t mock me, Dooley,” Talli warned.

“Why stop now?

As the boobie brothers continued their flight, Dooley looked down toward the water and watched as hundreds of stingrays were suddenly shot out of the ocean.

flying stingrays

As the shimmering stingrays started falling back to the water like snowflakes, Dooley turned to Talli. “That’s like a gazillion stingrays,” he shouted excitedly.

“Now you’re talking,” Talli retorted. “Where?”

Dooley nodded toward the falling fish. “There.”

The stingrays continued falling on the water’s surface. Talli smiled. “A ray storm! Woo-hoo!” he shouted. “That’s what I call lunch.”

“No. That’s what we call a maelstrom,” Dooley corrected.

Talli rolls his eyes. “Can’t we eat first?” he begged.

Disappointed, Talli watched his brother start into a steep dive. “Ah, man!” he thought as he reluctantly followed Dooley.

The two boobies hit the water like two guided missiles going sixty miles an hour. After almost a minute of being whipped and spun by the underwater whirlpool, Dooley and Talli were blasted out of the ocean from a gigantic fountain of water.

A stingray hung out of Talli’s mouth as he struggled to get his wings moving.

Dooley corkscrewed through the air for several moments, fighting to get control of his flight. Within minutes the boobies leveled off at altitude.

“Wonder when we are this time?” Dooley questioned.

“All I know is I like those fresh stingrays,” Talli observed.

“Guess we’ll find out soon enough,” Dooley commented.

 

Amelia-EarhartA few miles away, over the same part of the sky high above the Pacific Ocean, the world’s most famous female aviator, Amelia Earhart, piloted a highly modified Lockheed Electra 10E all-metal, monoplane airliner. Developed in the 1930s, Lockheed designed the plane to carry passengers. Airlines flew most of them. Amelia’s version featured twin powerful six hundred horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp S3H1 engines.

A tall, thin, woman born in 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia had been the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic, a feat she accomplished in 1932. That flight earned her international acclaim. She received the Distinguished Flying Cross medal from the United States Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government, and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society presented by President Herbert Hoover.

On January 11, 1935, Amelia became the first person, man or woman, to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California.

In 1937, she was attempting a circumnavigation of the globe “as near its waistline as could be,” as she referred to the equator. On July second of that year, with 22,000 miles of the journey behind her, only about 7,000 miles across the Pacific remained to complete her record making journey.

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