Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wasilla via Lake Clark Pass: Retiring Our Cherokee

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Parish, Saint Theresa Mission, and Saint Paul Mission

Here is a picture of the West entrance to Lake Clark Pass as our Cherokee Warrior II was completing its Mission in Bristol Bay. The plane is now parked in Space A5 at the Wasilla airport.

July 5, 2011 I finally got an opening in the weather to retire our Cherokee Warrior II 160 horsepower aircraft to Wasilla, my new assignment. The aircraft has served Bristol Bay from November of 2005 to July of 2011. It is now parked in Space A-5 at the Wasilla Airport.

The weather was not as great as I had expected. There was cirrus clouds from Dillingham to Illiamna and then from the East side of Lake Clark pass to Anchorage.

From Dillingham to Illiamna I had to make a decision. I was down to 600 feet with poor visibility. I was either going to turn around or climb through the clouds. Since Illiamna airport was reported as clear below 10, 000 feet, I climbed up through about 500 feet of cloud cover. This is something a VFR pilot does not like to do because once above the clouds if one loses and engine, you can’t set up an emergency landing because you can’t see the ground.

Once in Illiamna the clouds cleared out enough to where I could get back underneath of them at about 1200 feet. I flew over Lake Clark and pointed toward the West entrance to the pass.

West End of Lake Clark Pass, July 5th, 2011. I had to decide at the last minute if the weather was good enough to enter the narrow and some time dangerous pass.

You can also view the video if you CLICK HERE.

Just after I entered the West end of Lake Clark Pass. The view was simply breath taking.

You can also view the video if you CLICK HERE.

Here is where the communication gets to be confusing. I was listening to an aircraft asking about the weather in Lake Clark Pass on frequency 122.2. There are two other frequencies when traveling Lake Clark Pass, 121.1 and 121.2. One is suppose to be used for the West end and another for the East. I have never been really sure when to change frequencies or which one to use, i.e. is it used flying East and West or do you use one frequency at the West end and as you near the East end change frequencies. To make it even more confusing, the general aviation frequency in the bush is 122.9.

So, the bottom line, there are four frequencies that a person could be on when flying through the narrow and dangerous Lake Clark Pass. The problem is one never knows if there is any traffic in the pass because everyone is monitoring a different frequency. This is an accident waiting to happen.

Example: I made another decision to fly through the Pass. The ceiling was variable between 1000 and 1500 at the West end. The aircraft that was behind me caught up to me and I saw him about 500 feet directly below me. I could not get him on the radio. I tried a couple of frequencies and gave up. I prayed he did not decide to climb up and hit me because I do not think he saw me.

Here I am talking about the aircraft below me:

You can also view the video if you CLICK HERE,

I finally made it to Wasilla after scud running across Big River Lakes and Beluga. The weather started to clear around Big Lake.

I flew Back to Dillingham on Penair and am awaiting my final departure back to Wasilla July 31.

Fly safe out there!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fr. Nelson's Alaskan Flying Adventure

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary, Saint Theresa Mission, Saint Paul Mission

Some highlights of Fr. Nelson's visit were two missed approaches into Ekuk, Alaska, moving a wood stove into Saint Peter Fisherman in Clarks Point, blessing a fishing camp, and getting locked, not out, but INSIDE the airplane.

Fr. Nelson stands with three villagers Julian (left), Shay (right), and Mariano in front of Saint Peter the Fisherman in Clarks Point, June 17, 2011.

Fr. Nelson Marilag, who is from the Philippines and is on loan to the Archdiocese of Anchorage for one more year, checked out Holy Rosary Mission from June 15 to June 27, 2011. Fr. Nelson will return to the Philippines for a vacation for one month before starting his new assignment serving Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Saint Theresa Mission, and Saint Paul Mission (all the villages in Bristol Bay and the Surrounding area except Holy Rosary and Bristol Bay).

Two days after arriving, I flew Fr. Nelson in our Cherokee Warrior over to Clarks Point, twelve miles Southeast of Dillingham. After landing we had to move a small wood stove into Saint Peter the Fisherman Church so we could have some heat. It was still a bit chilly for Mass outside (about 40 degrees F.)

This picture reveals that the stove was just a bit heavier than we thought. Mariano Floresta donated the stove and hooked it up for us.

The next day we flew to Saint Theresa, a mission of Holy Rosary. Saint Theresa is located between King Salmon and Naknek. We had Mass at noon on Saturday, then returned the same day back to Dillingham (64 air miles).

Our next big flying adventure was June 24, 2011 when we flew to Ekuk then to Clarks Point. Ekuk is a small fishing village just up the beach about a mile from Clarks Point.

Here is a picture Ekuk, a small village that closes in the winter but thrives during the salmon run.

The runway in Ekuk is very NARROW. It took me three attemps to actually land our Warrior II. During the first approach I was too high (truth be known, I probably missed because I was fooling around with the video camera and lost my concentration and focus), the second too fast, and the third, I nailed it.

I have a video of my first missed approach into this small Alaskan Village and here it is!

You can also see the video by CLICKING HERE.

During the third attempt at the narrow runway I asked Fr. Nelson if he was "OK." He said he was. Later I found out he was oblivious to my missed approaches. He thought I was just showing him the village from the air.

Just after landing in Ekuk, Fr. Nelson stands in front of our Cherokee (N81809) for a picture.

Katie Anderson shows us a couple of nice sized King Salmon she caught in the net the day before.

Here Fr. Nelson kneels inside an authentic Yupik steam house in the village of Ekuk.

Fr. Nelson stands near fish that are being "glazed." After the salmon gets a hard coat on the outside (glazing) it will be moved inside an enclosed smoker to be smoked.

After blessing the Anderson/Ingram fishing camp and having a great cup of coffee with June, Katie, Josh, and Kara, we went back to the airplane and took off from the very soft, narrow, and short runway.

A couple minutes after taking off from Ekuk, we touched down on the gravel strip at Clarks Point. It looked like a freeway compared to Ekuk's.

For Fr. Nelson and I, the great Alaskan adventure did not end in Clarks Point. After finishing in Clarks Point, we climbed in the airplane shut the door, and something broke. We were stuck inside and could not get out of the plane! We flew back to Dillingham, parked at Tucker Aviation, and when Tommy Tucker came out of his office I shouted at him through my three inch-by-two inch side window, "Tommy, please let us out, we cannot open our door!!" Dave, Tommy's mechanic, came out, took the door off, and fixed the cotter pin that had sheered off. All's well that ends well.

Fly Safe out there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lake Clark Pass, Alaska: Round Trip in One Day

By Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor, Holy Rosary Mission

Monday, May 30, I decided to fly to Anchorage in our Cherokee Warrior II. It was a perfect day, blue sky and no wind! I was planning to spend the night.

It took me about three and one half hours to get to Anchorage. After on the ground for a couple hours, I checked the weather and found out that a storm had changed directions and was heading for Bristol Bay.

I filed a flight plan and was back in the air heading toward Dillingham by 1:30 PM. My wheels touched down three hours later. Six hours of flying can be draining and I was not looking forward to it. But the good weather, beautiful scenery, and calm winds made it stress free and the six hours "flew" by.

Here is a video of Lake Clark Pass, west end, just before emerging from the pass. The beautiful greenish blue water of Lake Clark can be seen.

You can also see the video if you CLICK HERE.

I woke up the next morning, looked out the window, and sure enough, fog, mist, and 30 knot winds.

Fly safe out there!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1st Communion & Confirmation: May 28-29, 2011

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Mission

Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz and Deacon Harry Moore (Deacon at Saint Michael, Palmer, Alaska) flew in from Anchorage to celebrate First Communion and Confirmation at Saint Theresa in Naknek/King Salmon and Holy Rosary in Dillingham.

After arriving in Dillingham we barbecued some steaks after finding our King Fishing net empty. Saturday, May 28the we flew to Saint Theresa in Naknek, 64 air miles to the Southwest of Dillingham. Archbishop Schwietz helped pilot our Cherokee Warrior II into Runway 12 at King Salmon.

Daniel Sietz stands in front of the baptismal font at Saint Theresa Parish. Saint Theresa serves the communities of King Salmon and Naknek, Alaska. Daniel was the most excited and enthusiastic person I have ever prepared for confirmation.

At six years of age, Aurora was very ready for her first communion. Her next step is to follow her sister's footsteps, Alter Server!

From left to right, Deacon Harry,Mary Shryock (Dianiel's sponsor), Daniel, Archbishop Schwietz,and me. Aurora is out in front!

Sunday at 12:30 we had our First Communion and Confirmation Mass at Holy Rosary in Dillingham.

Katelynn, Alethia, and Lotus brought up the gifts.

Since Lotus volunteered to go first, for First Communion, I did not have the camera ready. I did manage to get Katelynn as she received the Body of Christ.

Alethia partakes in the Precious Blood of Christ.

I pose for a picture with Katelynn, whom I use to toss up in the air and catch.

Lotus is very happy to be able to finally get communion!

Alethia, Katelynn, and Lotus pose for a picture during out potluck.

Archbishop Schwietz confirmed five people. There were four teenagers and one adult. Out of the five confirmed, three were baptized Lutheran.

Kara Ingram holds the book for Archbishop Schwietz.

We are ready to anoint those to be confirmed.

Anthony Reynolds, age 15, who was baptized Lutheran, is confirmed into our Catholic faith. Anthony has been an altar server and also a lector. He has helped around the Church to polish all of our sacred metal vessels.

Brian Venua, age 13, has been an altar server from the first Mass I celebrated at Holy Rosary (August of 2005). Brian also has learned to play the piano and plays for us during Mass

Johanna Belleque was our one adult in RCIA. She converted from Lutheran to Catholicism. Now, the whole family is Catholic!

Walter Reynolds, age 13, was also baptized Lutheran. Walter has helped fix things around our Church and in my opinion is a prime candidate for the priesthood.

Joshua Ingram, age 12, joins his family at fish camp in Ekuk each year. I baptized Josh December 7, 2008. His father James converted to Catholicism last year. His sister Kara altar served at his confirmation.

Kyle Belleque sponsored Anthony Reynolds for confirmation.

Joshua Ingram and Archbishop Schwietz stand in front of the Altar after after the Archbishop confirmed him. Josh is one happy guy!

Here is Johanna Belleque and Archbishop Schwietz.

From left to right, Brian Venua, Walter Reynolds, Archbishop, Johanna Belleque, Anthony Reynolds, Joshua Ingram, and Deacon Harry Moore.

Thank you to Archbishop Schwietz and Deacon Harry for a wonderful celebration. Please hurry back!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fr. Scott: First Beach Landing in Alaska

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor of Holy Rosary Mission Alaska

It takes guts to land on an Alaskan beach. I talk about it on the following video.

By 9:00 AM Friday the 13th, 2011, I took off in my Cherokee Warrior II to try my first Beach Landing. My plan was to meet John Bouker of Bristol Bay air at Protection Point, about 34 miles south of Dillingham, Alaska. John was transporting one of my parishioners, Bernina Venua, and several of her friends, to this remote beach. Bernina wanted an Alaskan adventure, which included taking pictures of the several varieties of birds.

While looking for a place to land on the beach I shot a video while flying at 300 feet. CLICK HERE.

Here is John Bouker taxiing out to the Dillingham runway to fly Bernina and her friends out to Protection Point.

After circling the beach for about ten minutes, I realized the tide was too high to see the beach. I returned to Dillingham and talked with John. He informed me that, "The tide would not be low enough to land until 2:30 PM."

I fired my plane back up at 2:30 and was about ten miles behind John Bouker. Since I had never landed on a beach before I wanted to watch where John landed first and then get a report. I watched him land and when he took off again I called him up on 122.9. We talked a couple minutes then I decided to try to land.

Here is what the Protection Point beach looked like from about 1000 feet.

Besides making sure the tide is low, instead of high before landing, John gave me some very helpful beach landing tips.

1. Don't land on what looks like dry beach, it is soft and one might get bogged down. Try to land on the wet surface because it is packed down more.

2. After landing, do not taxi around. Stop where you are, let people out, etc., get back into the plane, and take off. Taxiing around will increase the risk of getting bogged down and really stuck.
3. Be sure the wind is right. Beach landings are very tricky. Most of the beaches are slanted and have an uphill or downhill grade.

4. Weight and tires are important as well. John had larger tires but a lot of weight. I did not have much weight, but very small tires.

With all of this information swirling around in my head, I decided to do a touch and go. Here is the video.

For Video on Beach Tips CLICK HERE.

For the video of landing on the beach you can also CLICK HERE.

I was very happy and excited when it was all done. I have been wanting to try a beach landing since I have been flying out here (six years). I finally got up enough confidence after close to 700 hours of flying to give it a shot. It was absolutely exhilarating.

I had several more videos but out here in the Alaska Bush, using the Satellite, it took me four attempts and two days to finally load the above two and one half minute video.

Fly safe out there...Fr. Scott

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Holy Rosary Flying Videos: Top Three

After having submitted Bristol Bay flying videos to Alaska Dispatch in Anchorage, YouTube, Facebook, and this website, here are the top three videos most frequently watched. It is difficult to determine exactly how many times these videos were watched because those viewings on our Holy Rosary website are not counted in the YouTube total.

Here is one of the first videos I made several years ago. Youtube shows it as having 617 viewings. It is entitled, "Father Scott Flying Warrior II: Dillingham to Clarks Point.

You can also view this video by CLICKING HERE!

Ave Maria sang by a friend. Video made by Dawn in Wilmington North Carolina. 292 people have viewed this Video entitled. "Thank you Holy Rosary."

You can also view this video by CLICKING HERE!

Back in the 1980's, Fr. James Kelly filmed a beautiful video about him flying around Bristol Bay and ministering to the villages. There have 285 people who have viewed this video entitled, "Father Kelly Flying Around the Saint Paul Mission."

You can also view this video by CLICKING HERE.

Safe Flying Out There!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mount Angel Continuing Ed - March 29, 2011

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor of Holy Rosary Mission Alaska

Twenty-Five plus priests gathered for continuing education at Mount Angel Seminary. The third annual alumni gathering met two days at Saint Benedict, Oregon. Our discussion centered around the Triduum readings and Easter Vigil celebration. Speakers were Father Donald Senior, CP (noted scripture scholar)and Father Rory Pitstick. At the end was a panel discussion with Dr. Elaine Park and Dr. Owen Cummings.

Below are the three priests from Alaska who attended the alumni seminar. Dr. Owen Cummings (Regents Chair of Theology and Professor of Systematic Theology) stands in the middle between Fr. Scott Garrett and Fr. Tom Lilly (Anchorage) on the left and Msgr. Joseph Mayo, Diocese of Salt Lake City and Robert Fath, Diocese of Fairbanks on the far right).

Fr. Scott and Fr. Tom pose with Dr. Owen Cummings (Regents Chair of Theology).

Fr. Tom Lilly of the Anchorage diocese chats with a couple fellow priests.

Dr. Elaine Park, Academic Vice-President and Professor of Biblical Studies at Mount Angel Seminary listens as a priest asks questions about the Easter Vigil.

Dr. Cummings answers questions during the panel discussion at the 3rd annual Mount Angel Alumni Continuing Education gathering.

Master or Ceremonies, Rev. Paul Peri (Director of Pastoral Formation and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology) presents our speaker.

Father Rory Pitstick (Formation Director and Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount Angel Seminary) breaks open the readings that are proclaimed during the Easter Vigil Mass.

Father Francisco Hernandez, Diocese of Sacramento (far right) and Father Hector Montoya, Diocese of Sacramento talk during one of our breaks.

Nikki Martin (Secretary for Pastoral Formation) organized the Alumni seminars and was our contact for setting up our food and lodging.

Priests from several diocese, including Yakima, Portland, Santa Fe, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Sacramento, Seattle, and Salt Lake City attended the alumni gathering at Mount Angel. Here a couple priests chat during a break. Left is Father Brooks Beaulaurier, Diocese of Yakima and Transitional Deacon David Severson, Seminarian, Diocese of Helena on the right.

Fr. Robert Fath, from the Diocese of Fairbanks, was one of three Alaskan priests who attended the seminar.

Dr. Elaine Park, Father Robert Siler (Diocese of Yakima), and Father Christian Liesy (Monastery of Christ in the Desert) listen to the lecture.

Father Donald Senior from Chicago was keynote speaker.

Fr. Tom Lilly soaks up the information that he will eventually put to use at Saint Elizabeth Anne Seton in Anchorage, Alaska.

Father Paul Peri gets a word in edgewise.

The seminar ended with seminary professors leading a panel discussion. From left to right is Dr. Cummings, Dr. Elaine Park, and Father Rory Pitskick.

Here is a list of the Alumni who attended.

Have a prayerful Lent and a wonderful Triduum and Easter.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baptism: Grace Amelia March 13, 2011

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor of Holy Rosary Mission in Alaska

The first Sunday of Lent, Grace Amelia Swift was baptized at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Dillingham, Alaska. Her big sister, Maddison Nichole, was baptized three years earlier on March 22, 2008. Grace Amelia was born February 22, 2011.

Yolanda Gage holds Grace before the baptism while the parents and God Parents s set up for Mass and the potluck afterward.

After the Homily, Grace is baptized. Walter Reynolds and Brian Venua altar serve while Grace is held over the baptismal font by her mother Laticia.

Walter lights the baptismal candle from the Easter candle and hands it to the God Parent, Chelsea Gross. Maddison, Grace's sister, is standing between Laticia and and God Parent Chelsea.

During the Ephphetha these words are said to Grace While her ears and mouth are touched, “May the Lord Jesus touch your ears to receive His word and your mouth to proclaim His faith.”

Before allowing the congregation to put the sign of the cross on Grace's forehead, Laticia gets a special “mom” blessing.

It is always a great honor for a priest to bring new people into the faith. I feel a strong spiritual connection with every infant I baptize. This was a great day for the community of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Dillingham, Alaska.