I don’t know if I’ve said this enough but we are fortunate that James deployed to GTMO. We definitely have it easier than most families who’s service members deploy. One of the perks is that we were able to visit him for two weeks in April. It took a lot of coordinating -getting permission through all the channels, getting a reservation on the military flight -but we managed and we were able to schedule it about halfway through his deployment, so that was a nice way to break up the time.
As I alluded to above, getting to GTMO itself was a bit of a journey. Evie and I had to get to the Norfolk Naval Base to catch a military flight to GTMO (we had to fly straight into the base and we couldn’t leave), so flight availability was a limiting factor. Because it was Space-A (space available) and the flight left around 6:30am, we had to get there for a 4am check-in (except we needed to get there earlier just to make sure our names were on the list). James also flew out of Norfolk, so I knew out of his experience that staying at the Inn on base would have been more of a pain that it was worth, so I scheduled our flights so we just stayed in the terminal. There were no direct flights from BOS to Norfolk, so we had a layover at LaGuardia, and our BOS flight was around dinner, so we just ate at Logan. We got to Norfolk around midnight, got checked in, and I got Evie settled in an out of the way area so she actually got a few hours of sleep. I did not. However, Evie was a trooper. It was truly amazing how well she did on barely any sleep and a lot of traveling. We talked through all of the different steps we had to go through to get to James and we talked about each one we finished, and I think that helped -that and especially the fact that the end result was seeing James.
Once we were on GTMO, James still had to work, but was able to have slightly shorter days. Evie and I walked to various areas, including a few playgrounds and the marina and other water areas to find fish. Once James finished his work day, he got Evie so they could hang out and I could work on my paper for a couple hours, then we met up for dinner and hanging out before Evie’s bedtime.
James’ work group had a get together on Easter at the GTMO lighthouse/museum, which was nice. I climbed up to the top of the lighthouse, but the very top wasn’t open so I couldn’t get very good picture -or airflow (very hot), so I didn’t last long up there.
Toward the end of our trip, we chartered a boat and James showed us the sights and we “fished” and “swam.” The first place we went to was up the river a little ways -that’s the area where the water looks really muddy.
We also went to Hospital Cay, where an old hospital was located. I don’t know the history of Hospital Cay; my understanding is that there were numerous iterations of its use as an area for a hospital (rather than outpost or whatever other strategic area). Now people just go there to hang out and have picnics, rather than for quarantine of yellow fever and the like.