Germany To Vegas Day 5 Part lll

The flight from Scotland to Iceland was a grueling three and a half hours long.  Now in my opinion no ferry pilot should have to work longer than that in single day so Marcio and I were ready for a well deserved break.  Twas not to be.  Apparently the powers that be had decided that seeing that we’d gotten the Cirrus to Iceland so early in the day and pushing on to Greenland wasn’t an option we might as well go swimming in the North Atlantic, in Iceland, in the winter.  So off we went to the Icelandic maritime survival/torture center for some training on the proper use of survival suits and rafts.  Now anyone who’s been reading my blog for over a year knows that I took this training in Reykjavik last year but my jet driving Brazilian co-pilot hasn’t, in fact in all of his overseas flights he’s never even carried a raft with him in the plane.  Probably something to do with the fact that jet aircraft are so reliable, and the fact that surviving a ditching at jet speeds is shall we say, questionable.  The training is actually very helpful.  We went over proper donning of the survival suits, solo and rescue swimming, inflating the raft and putting the canopy up, and hardest of all, getting into the raft.  Some rafts have a nylon strap under the door to help you get into the raft so of course we trained without one.  First the instructors have you swim around in the ocean for a while to get you good and tired, this doesn’t take very long because they’d taken us outside Reykjavik harbor where the three foot waves made swimming in the neoprene suits a challenge.  Then it’s time to haul your wet carcass into the raft.  Despite being 50 years old I’m still in pretty good shape so I didn’t have much trouble flopping head first into six man raft but Marcio had a little trouble.  First of all, he’s naturally a big guy, but having been an airline pilot for years didn’t help much.  His first few attempts were close but no cigar, but when the instructors allowed me to grab his harness from inside and help I managed to haul him aboard.  His lack of ability to get into the raft by himself troubled Marcio so after he recovered a bit he jumped back into the water for another attempt at getting into the raft by himself.  That time he was successful but the exercise left us with doubts as to whether he’d be able to repeat the task in heavy seas or if he was injured while ditching.  The days training ended with a simulated helicopter rescue by the instructors hauling us out of the raft with the ships hoist and rescue collars.  I was glad we got the training in but I was even more glad we drove straight from the harbor to the Blue Lagoon natural hot springs to recover.  And yes they do serve adult beverages in the hot springs, thanks for asking.



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