Range Tracking

PINWR Helicopter Ops

Back when I was a volunteer at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (PINWR) I was fortunate to be invited to watch the expansion of Pelican Island via use of a helicopter flying bucket loads of dirt out to the island. Pelican Island has always been small, roughly 5.5 acres when it first became a bird sanctuary back in 1903. And after years of erosion, most likely caused by a hundred years of boat wakes gnawing at the shoreline, the island dwindled down to a little over 2 acres. This operation back in January of 2006 successfully expanded the size of Pelican Island assisted by the subsequent placement of native plants to stabilize and grow the island a bit over the intervening years. Plus the addition of a wave break has also helped.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_1
The first four photos show Jungle Trail closed off to keep people from entering the Refuge, whether by U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel as seen in the upper left photo or by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department as seen at bottom right. At upper right, an unidentified man looks on as PINWR Assistant Manager Takako Hashimoto gives Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik a good luck hug. Both the Assistant Manager and the Refuge Manager have moved on to other things in the years since. At bottom left, waiting with Takako for the fun to begin.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_2
The helicopter sets a bucket down near a giant dirt pile created by the excavation of fresh water ponds throughout the Refuge.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_3
Earth movers get a load of dirt ready to put in the bucket.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_4
A bulldozer with a load of dirt nears the bucket. The rush of wind from the hovering helicopter throws a cloud of dirt into the air .
pinwr_helicopter_060110_5
Into the bucket the dirt goes.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_6
The helicopter hovers overhead while waiting for the bucket to be filled.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_7
The bucket itself seemed almost a living thing enjoying its time in the air as it was towed around by the helicopter.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_8
The helicopter in flight with the bucket.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_9
Don’t remember when this happened but it looks like the helicopter and its companion passed overhead. Watch for falling dirt!
pinwr_helicopter_060110_10
Another shot of the helicopter in flight with the dirt bucket.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_11
Some hero shots of the helicopter in action.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_12
PINWR Manager Paul Tritaik, at left, with the unidentified man wait ready to supervise the dirt’s dispersal onto Pelican Island once the helicopter arrives.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_13
The helicopter with the dirt bucket hanging below on a long cable dwarfs the two men in the water.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_14
A load of dirt drops onto Pelican Island.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_15
More dirt falls from the sky.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_16
A dramatic dirt drop.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_17
Watching as the bucket runs dry.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_18
Another load, another dirt pile appears on Pelican Island.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_19
A distant view of Pelican Island and the helicopter operations.
pinwr_helicopter_060110_20
An even wider view showing the Indian River Lagoon and the full extent of Pelican Island under cloudy skies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: