As it appears in the Marianas Variety AND the Saipan Tribune (Thur, March 16, 2023)
Alex Dunn, former United Airlines pilot of 32 years and one-time pilot of the lone, operational B-29 used by the Commemorative Air Force for traveling air shows, recently visited Saipan for DiscoverSaipan.com‘s World War II Pilgrimage tour. Dunn is seen here with John S. Castro-Mames, project coordinator of the Seafaring Traditions Program in Susupe along with author/guide Walt F.J. Goodridge.(Photo: Tyler Warwick)
The Saturday, March 4, 2023 cruise ship arrival here on Saipan was canceled due to high winds which made the docking a safety issue. Here, however, is a Tripadvisor review from one of the day’s “almost-customers,” Roger Cook:
I began corresponding with Walt in August 2022 in advance of a planned cruise stop in March 2023. Walt responded immediately and an engaging dialog ensued with Walt proposing a fascinating full day group tour of the island. We continued to email regularly over the next several months as the group grew to nearly 40 members.
On the morning of our arrival, as the ship steamed toward the entrance to Saipan harbor, the Captain announced that weather would prohibit us from making the port call. We were greatly disappointed. We had been looking forward to meeting Walt and touring Saipan with him.
Gracious, as always, before the day was out, Walt had already refunded half of the group their fees and was working on the balance. I would urge anyone planning to visit Saipan to contact Walt, an honest man who offers good value with a delightful manner. I may never get to Saipan, but I will treasure the experience of working with Walt forever.
Hey Roger! Even though we never got to meet, it was great having you as my one-man, pre-cruise, tour marketing department and as my onboard contact as the docking situation evolved that morning.
We needed to rent one of the vans from the evening before, but–as this was not my first time at this rodeo–my team and I waited at the airport rental agency before signing out the other vans while we waited for your email about the captain’s decision. A few other passengers on the ship emailed me as word of the cancellation spread, but we didn’t call it a bust until we got YOUR email!
Cruise ship arrival days are a rarity here on our little island, so I do hope you get to swing by this corner of the planet in some other way. There’s a lot of history and mystery to see and experience here on Saipan, Tinian and Rota!
Thanks for the review!
Walt (“The Jamaican on Saipan!”)
P.S. Thanks as well for your amazing generosity in helping defray the costs. FYI: For this and any business service I offer, I like to charge only for results. So, even though I did, in fact, incur expenses in the lead-up for the day, I don’t believe the potential customers should be penalized if they don’t receive any of the results they anticipated–particularly if the reasons are not under their control. It probably won’t endear me to my competition, but that’s my policy and I’m sticking to it!
P.P.S. On the bright side, I gave away all the boxes of Chicken Kelaguen wraps from Herman’s Modern Bakery (a sample of local Chamorro cuisine that was to be a surprise for the group) to gas station attendants, strangers and friends as I tied up the day’s loose ends. So a few (non vegan) folks got free snacks from the day’s outcome!