Don't Throw Your Life Away - Battling Marine Debris from Alaska to Panama


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Before we go any further, today October 19th is my kid's birthday. Jenson is 6 now. He's had birthdays in Florida, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and now Prince Edward Island. I'm so lucky to be his human and I know he appreciates all the sticks he gets to find on so many of the world's beaches. Here's to many more. Here's to being present.










Yeah, he's pretty happy, and that makes me happy.


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This little critter with the yesterday's future vibe was another late German scramble. It's called the Heinkel He 162 and it was designed and built in 90 days. Part of it was made out of wood, it could be assembled by semi-skilled laborers, and due to the heavy Allied bombing late in the war, production was often moved underground. Many of these funky little jet fighters were built in an old gypsum mine. We don't know how many, but very few saw any real action, the writing was very much on the wall by the time it flew.


And now for something Canadian. One of Canada's big contributions to the war effort was training pilots. Even before the U.S. joined the fray, some American pilots went up north to train so they could do something while the country waited for a bigger reason to start fighting. England was busy in the late 30s and early 40s, so the might of the empire was called in to train new personell around the globe. Canada was a huge part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan because of its huge spaces, relative safety from attack, and good flow of resources and was the site of training for 131,500 air personnel.


I'll make part of this easy, it's a Lockheed Model 10 Electra. What important aviation event happened involving one of these?


This was the hot ticket airliner of the time that the Electra was intended to compete against, and I don't think I had ever seen one before. Boeing 247.


Now here's something interesting. It's the prototype Bombardier Challenger which I bring up for two reasons. See their logo? It traces its roots directly to the Auto-Neige I showed you in Flin Flon. The sprocket drive for the snowmobiles. See how I connected bits of the trip together?


Anyway, I bring it up also so you remember it when I get to a story later about a Canadian Prime Minister. Later when I say "remember that Challenger?" This is what I meant.


Canada never operated Harriers, but I'm not complaining. I saw one fly with my dad once at an airshow in Ft. Lauderdale and it was one of the loudest things I've ever witnessed.


Oops forgot about these beauties. And they all have adventurous stories attached. We like adventure here, don't we?

First the gorgeous Curtiss Seagull. This happens to be the actual aircraft that Alexander Hamilton Rice flew in on his expedition up the Amazon, the first of any kind of airplane to fly in that part of the world. You guys and your roads....


This Curtiss HS-2L is representative of what would have flown out of the world's first bush plane operation, the St. Maurice Forest Protective Association out of Quebec. Work included aerial reconnaissance, spotting bush fires, and mapping. Canada has a great early history with the airplane due to its vast unchartedness, oh look that's not a word. You know, it's bigitude.


And this cutie, the de Havilland Fox Moth, was in the print I got from Gary at the lodge where we got the Beaver ride in Missinipe. Yep, pilot in the bubble, passengers in the nose right behind the engine.



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And let's give the huge credit where it's due to Canada for the Canadarm that went in the shuttle, and the even more impressive Canadarm 2 which helped build the ISS and continues to crawl around it doing spacey things.


We're about to go into the museum's overflow hangar which isn't part of the normal display, but if you give them a few more dollars, they'll take you inside. Before we do though, I was walking around and out of the corner of my eye I caught a familiar shape and actually gasped. So I have a crush on the Starfighter. Could be worse.



More of that and the chunk of plane above it later. They have a Mustang and no room to display it. Oh well, it's still here.


Aaaaannnnd I touched something that went into space. From Discovery.


Okay, remember that Challenger?

Well, Trudeau Sr. had a Jetstar. This one. Nothing wrong with that, fine craft. Elvis had one, too. Designed by the same guy who designed the Starfighter. Anyway, the next PM, Mulroney questioned why Canada was flying its top officials in an American plane. Surely they should be flying a Canadian plane. Well it just so happened that there was a new Canadian biz jet coming called the Challenger built by good old Bombardier. So retire the Jetstar and fly the Challenger right? Well not quite so simple. The first prototype flew in '78, and by 1980 one had already killed a test pilot in a deep stall. Not good news when you want to put the country's most important man on board. When they first got the Challenger it was quite a step, and it was fun to photograph the PM getting into his shiny new local plane and flying off to do diplomacy. But was it safe? It's not fully rated yet. Killing the PM would be bad...Maybe we should wait until it's been proven they thought, I mean the Jetstar still works right? No, we can work with this until it's been properly tested. The story goes that when the cameras were turned away after getting their shot, they left for the runway, but away from the crowds the swapped into old bird and flew both to their destination. People on the ground thinking the PM was in the Challenger. When they landed, they reversed the switch and the proud dignitaries exited the new plane again. Clever.


More of the secret not so secret hangar. The good kind of Mosquito and a mystery cockpit that I helped our tour guide identify later. They get new stuff frequently enough, sometimes the guys doing the tour don't know exactly what's been stuffed in there. I'll give you a little while to see if you know what it is, too.



Lots of points for this maybe 50 if you can guess what type of aircraft this is, the funky experimental looking thing. Never mind that it never really worked, but any ideas of how it was intended to try? Hint: the outer portions of the upper wings are missing.


I liked this one because it was such an early example of a variable pitch prop, I had no idea it was such an old innovation. Obviously it was sought after as soon as people realized a prop optimized for one condition wouldn't be ideal for another.



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I wish they had the space to display the Sea Fury properly.


These wingtips go with the torn off cockpit from before. Since the planes don't exist anymore, you probably only ever saw one in pictures. Yeah, those are just the wingtips. What Canadian wonder plane was scrapped by its own government?




After the overflow tour was over I went back into the main building and eventually saw my guide walking through and called him over. "Remember that cockpit you weren't sure of? It's a Vampire."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, look at the one you already have."

So he went and found one of the other folks who know more about new additions and put them on the case of which squadron would have painted a green dragon on a de Havilland Vampire. Feels good to have contributed to a hunt for information on airplane bits stuffed in the other hangar. Maybe I should have been an aviation museum curator....


More F-104 for you


And even though I shared new history with museum staff about the F-104 that they didn't know about, I learned something as well. Starfighter pilots wore spurs. Sort of. Their boots were attached to cables that ran under the seat and when the eject handle between the legs was pulled, the first thing it did was yank the feet back from the pedals to the seat so that when the rockets kicked in, the pilot didn't lose the lower half of his legs on the way out. Early Starfighters had ejection seats that worked firing down. Why at the ground? To avoid concerns of being killed by the T-tail if shot up. Of course, ejecting down, didn't work all that well at lower altitudes for obvious reasons.


Ok, the big plane in bits was the Avro Arrow, a very advanced, all Canadian high speed interceptor. They made 6, but unfortunately its role was deemed not as important with the improvement in missile technology, but rather than used as a test bed, or just retired to museums, they were all ordered destroyed, along with the blueprints. This and the wingtips are all that survived of number 6. And what did they do after? Buy a bunch of slower F-101 Voodoos from us at a cost of more than the Arrow project they literally scrapped.


Speaking of missiles, this was a long range nuclear tipped surface to air missile called the Bomarc that was one of the other things envisioned to replace the mighty Arrow.


Alright Travis, say bye to your Starfighter and get back to your trip.


If you're in Ottawa and like this sort of thing, visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. And pay the extra for the other hangar.
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Ottawa also has lots of dog parks that look like this


Does this bother anyone else, or just me? I can see not wanting to take it back to the store, that's why the cart drops in the parking lot even exist, but this? Come on.


So now we're in Quebec, and while Ottawa was fairly bilingual, I was soon to realize that I might as well be in France.


It was very pretty though, so the language barrier didn't bother me so much at first.





And yet, there are things that were starting to bug me. The biggest one that would continue all the way through the province and really into NB too, was the drivers here tailgate like it's their job. That got old real quick. And then there was this. But Travis, you say, that's fine, separating trash and recyclables is good.


And I thought the same thing, but I was skeptical.


Oh well



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Oh, and somewhere along the long way I took from Ottawa to Montreal i wandered into some wildlife reserve that I thought would be wild and interesting. It wasn't. All I got was stopped over halfway in by a couple guys in a truck either giving the international sign language for "if you're not a hunter, you need to turn around and leave" or "if you don't want to get shot, you need to turn around and leave". Either way I became turn around and leave and found another way. I have no pictures of this. What I do have is lovely photos of the waterfall at Parc Des Chutes De La Petite Riviere Bostonnais near La Tuque.







We were heading for Lac St. Jean which was lovely, and of course I couldn't understand what anyone was saying.


You don't need to speak French to know that this is a pretty great spot to have a sleep though.



Red Zebra

Nice pics and good on ya for picking up. My wife and I usually bring small trash bags to pick up trash when doing day hikes. We just do it (pick up trash) without comment or getting worked-up so it doesn't distract from the intent/beauty of our outing.


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It was time to head towards the St. Lawrence and rather than go around it back to Quebec City, we found a boat. No, not this Mig-23.


Mhm, seems right. A, B, C, 4, 5, 6, 7 just like in the States


There we go, that's a boat




I had also gotten myself a few more books, and this message from Buzz Aldrin was a good one to remember. I've certainly had my moments, but his all seem to have had more serious consequences. Like leaving his air brake on leaving an engagement in his F-86 Sabre over Korea when he already had a low fuel issue, and accidentally knocking the plastic switch off the Master Engine Arm fuse on the LEM on the moon while he and Neil tried to stow their gear and sleep before leaving the moon so it couldn't be activated. Without a fix, they stay on the moon. Solution? Plastic pen pushed into the fuse to get it in place and complete the circuit.


Meanwhile, in what was starting to feel more and more like a maritime environment, I found this



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Nice pics and good on ya for picking up. My wife and I usually bring small trash bags to pick up trash when doing day hikes. We just do it (pick up trash) without comment or getting worked-up so it doesn't distract from the intent/beauty of our outing.
Thank you, yeah it doesn't take much to start to make a little impact, but we have a long way to go to try to reverse it.


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And what a ride it was. Foggy in the morning, but this is a 16 hour trip. Plenty of time to watch the world go by. And I loved it. The islands around here aren't dramatic, in fact to me their similarity to each other and the persistent pacing of the trip accompanied by the thrum of the big engines made it feel almost as if this was the world and it was being rendered ahead of us, and dissolved behind. A world being uploaded just for us, brand new. Untouched naturally and accompanied by occasional announcements about points of interest as we sweep past. No tiny windows as on a plane, no diverted attention as when in a car. Just passing through the world.

amazing imagery here. This is such a brilliant description, so evocative

That's as far as I've gotten in the thread, obviously. looking forward to catching up


Tail-End Charlie
So what's the deal with that little experimental sorta kinda wannabe biplane? Inquiring minds want to know.


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Famous event? Lockheed Electra?

We have a winner, but I've stumped you on the next one.

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
So what's the deal with that little experimental sorta kinda wannabe biplane? Inquiring minds want to know.
So, this thing is an ornithopter. There's an engine behind the seat that makes the middle wing section go up and down. It connects to the upper missing wings with those cables and pulleys and it.....flaps. This particular one did in fact flap, but it didn't fly. It bounced its way down a kilometer of runway and never really took to the air. Ornithopters are a hard nut to crack. There's a long history of trying to make them work. Small scale has better results with them, human piloted, or even better human powered are very difficult to make work.


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On land, on the water, below the water? I've tried to show you everything I can, but for the next part, just pretend we're under water. The HMCS Onandaga is an Oberon-class attack sumbarine launched in 1965. She's 295 feet long, diesel-electric powered. It was a difficult road after service to end up here on display in this condition, and apparently the only sub open to the public in Canada? Apparently. Let's go inside.



Let's see you swap this into Goose, Tim.




Now, quite by accident I seem to have done something rather interesting. When I reached the part of the sub where the periscopes were, and who doesn't want to look through a periscope?...I took a look through the attack scope which was apparently pointed at the adjacent lighthouse. But what else was there? The Jeep. How cool is it to have a photo of the Jeep through the attack periscope of a cold war-era sub?


I'm going to have to rewatch Down Periscope. And maybe McHale's Navy, too. Maybe.





This is where they would fire torpedoes if they wanted to sink a ship. Or I guess another submarine. But for more on sinking ships, tune in later when we talk about a famous shipwreck in the St. Lawrence.