IN-FLIGHT JOURNAL

DAY 23: No-fly zone

"We flew more miles in the first three days in Africa then we have in the past 10 days," pilot Arthur Hussey remarks ruefully. This is our third night in Sondrestrom, Greenland, two more than we had planned.

Yesterday, based on weather predictions for the track from here to Iqaluit on Baffin Island in Canada, we didn't even try to fly. This reminds Arthur of the old adage, "It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground."

Today, we launched on a marginally better forecast, but turned back after 50 miles when the clouds (and potential for wing icing) appeared too great.

Back where we started from, I think of things to be grateful for: Our hotel room at the Sondrestrom airport is oriented such that I can dangle the satellite-phone antenna out the window (using my belt) and get a good signal for e-mailing; long-distance phone charges are relatively low, so we can luxuriate in calls to our wives; the weather is sunny and warm on the ground here - good for taking a hike and working on our Arctic Circle tans; an apple in this land of no agriculture costs only 8 Danish kroner (a bit more than a dollar); the Arctic fox we saw frisking in the grass next to the parked Cessna; and the fact that we remain in touch with cyberbuddies visiting our Web site.

Favorite e-mail of recent days: "I storm the Holy Gates for your safety and happy reunions with those you love." Thank you A.C. Gray of Broadway, Va., and keep on stormin'.

Sure would be great to find a laundromat. I keep changing shirts - from one to the other and back. At this rate, our clothing will be toxic by the time we reach Fairbanks, Alaska.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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