Mir  Expedition Update - yk 
updated 3/26/2001  Wellington, NZ
BOLA (means good health) :

*March 17 2001 Saturday - Flew in Auckland mid-day. Had a chance to star-gaze 30,000 ft in the air. Saw familar Canis Major- Puppis-Vela - Southern Cross.

* March 18 Sunday - Despite hotel lights , milky way is clearly seen just outside my hotel room on the first floor. Went out near the beach and star gaze for 1/2 hr. Crux - coal shack? clearly visible as a circular black-out. Tight bright knot of Eta-Carina. Not far from Canoupus is the LMC - as large as 4/5 of a fist. Cloud came in around 2.30am.

*March 19 Monday - There are still no final words on where the deorbit will take place - we are prepared for a 21 - 22 or even later.  Meet the rest of the team-members ( from US, Russians, 1 Canadian, Uk press people and myself to represent the Asia -Pacific.) Daily 10 am briefing is conducted daily for latest update plans etc.

Its SUN, SEA, gorgeous sunset here.... What a break from work routine. Looks like I am going to spend more than a few days here ( vs planned) due to the uncertainty of re-entry date..

* March 20 - See MIR for the last time (6:45 pm) as it appeared briefly through the clouds. Sky was cloudy and we manage to see it on the sandy beach.  We had the Prime Minister of Fiji and his cabinet minister there! Its a beach party!

* March 22 - ( T-1 day) We will fly to Tonga May 23 re-fuelled , wait for the 'GO' signal to fly the two small turbo-prop air craft to position ourselves ( hopefully) to view the early part of the break up of Mir.  Our Russian friends are eager to report to Mission
Control on first sighting of break up of the positions ( alt, elevation, aircraft positions).

* March 23 - A 20 hrs ordeal  - Get up 6am. After a quick breakfast we hopped into a bus ferrying us to Suva - the Capital. On the way we encountered heavy rain ( not too diff from our Singaporean afternoon thunderstorm). Traffic get delayed by a funeral procession.  On arrival on Suva airport we scrambled on board the two small aircraft. You can feel electric atmosphere. 
We flew to Tongo in cloudy weather... is this going to affect our visibility....

For the rest of the build up the incredible - expectation and the events surrounding the no-show on the craft I was on .. please be patience I am putting up a dedicated chrononlogy travel report after my NZ trip.

I stilled have yet to go over my loss of my digital camera where over 90% of my stills shots were there.  Hopefully my memory and my daily records of the events will still help me to come up with an interesting report.