A World of Unique Character and Natural Beauty

Island Spirit Flies High

November 8, 2012      Author : Kate Hotchkiss Taylor    Category: Community, Environment      0 Comment(s)

The doctor’s appointment is important because my son has mild scoliosis, side-to -side curvature of the spine common in adolescence. Time for a checkup and hopefully an “okay, go ahead” on a sports schedule that includes ocean rowing with six other crew. Problem is, my 14 year old and I are on North Haven island, the car is on another island, and we need to drive inland to Hallowell to see “Dr. Scott” (first name), a dedicated physician we first met years ago via the M/V Sunbeam’s Telemedicine service. Days like this I wonder why we live on Maine islands where logistics are often inconvenient, especially now that we are forced to navigate between two isles so our boys can attend high school.

Chief Pilot Roger Wolverton with Island Spirit - - Photo by Kate Hotchkiss Taylor

To bring Caleb to see Scott at 2:45 PM I start by jumping on my bike at 7:30 AM with equipment hanging off my shoulders and in the panniers – I bring work with me wherever I go. I bicycle mostly uphill to the grass runway where Penobscot Island Air's (PIA) Cessna 206 – the Island Spirit - is parked. Since I am biking with a computer, and am about to experience aerial views, I am grateful for no rain and minimal cloud cover. After a few minutes PIA Chief Pilot Roger Wolverton arrives by van from delivering mail to the town post office. We now get to fly to Deer Isle, a bridged island east of our un-bridged one.

The flight is exquisite! I happily watch the morning

A lobster boat heads out among Penobscot Bay islands. - - Photo by Kate Hotchkiss Taylor

sunlight dance along the water and over islands bright with foliage and rich with evergreens. Lobster boats sparkle in those silvery seas, leaving triangular trails in their wake beyond rocky, amber coasts. In that instant I am reminded why flying so inspires artists Eric Hopkins and Peter Ralston. And I am glad for needing to get from point A to point B quickly, so that pieces of today’s transportation puzzle fit together.
Too soon we bank left and land at the Stonington Municipal Airport – a paved airstrip! I could stay up there for hours and am disappointed the best part of the day is over.

Early morning approach to Stonington Municipal Airport runway "two-five" on Deer Isle- - Photo by Kate Hotchkiss Taylor

Pilot Wolverton takes my bike out of the aircraft’s luggage compartment, puts on the front wheel, snaps my picture, and then takes off - quite literally.

For twelve months of the year Penobscot Island Air pilots fly mail, groceries, packages, people, pets, livestock, office equipment, bikes, and more to Maine islands. – Photo by Kate Hotchkiss Taylor

As I bicycle to Isle au Haut Boat Services’ dock - my husband had left the car there before boarding the mail boat to the island - I am still floating from the upliftingly beautiful ride over Penobscot Bay. I love biking. I love flying. I love the sea and its islands, especially in Maine. What could be better than enjoying these unique lands from above, and then biking along their picturesque roads and trails? If I had more free time I would fly to various Maine islands and bike to my heart’s content!

Putting vacation day fantasies aside, I shove

Island Spirit flies high. – Photo by Kate Hotchkiss Taylor

my two-wheeler in the back of our boring Ford Explorer, drive a couple hours to Rockland, meet my son at the ferry terminal, and drive another hour for the scoliosis checkup. There we learn his spine is still within acceptable measurements and - even better news - that it is “moving in the right direction.” Doc Scott smiles and tells Caleb, “Rowing is great for your back!”

We drive back to Rockland through rush hour traffic and road maintenance, making the North Haven Ferry with barely a minute to spare. Eleven hours of travel for an eleven-minute appointment. I would be annoyed about such a time sucking experience except that I love my son, I love this doctor who even makes house calls during his own island biking excursions, and I love heavenly gorgeous plane rides over Maine islands.

--Photo by Roger Wolverton

Kate is a photographer, writer, and global business consultant living on North Haven with her husband and two sons.


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