As the sun began to rise on the morning of June 2, 1937, so, too, did the wheels of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E. At 6:50 a.m. the beautiful silver plane began its 750 mile journey over the Caribbean Sea towards South America.
"We're always pushing through," Amelia writes, "hurrying on our long way, trying to get to some other place instead of enjoying the place we'd already got to. A situation, alas, about which there was no use complaining. I'd made my schedule and had to abide by it. After all, this was not a voyage of sight-seeing."
After take-off the Electra climbed to roughly 8,000 feet where it flew for most of the four and a half hour flight. "From the time we crossed the green mountains of Puerto Rico until we sighted the Island of Margarita to starboard we saw nothing but the tops of clouds and blue sea below. A line in my log-book: 'The little clouds spread far. They looked like white scrambled eggs.'" Finally the first glimpse of South America presented itself in a hazy form. As the travelers drew closer they began to see densely wooded mountains and wide, open valleys of plains and jungles. "A muddy river wound through the mountain pass we followed, a reddish-brown snake crawling among tight-packed greenery."
At 10:52 a.m. Venezuelan time the Electra touched down on the paved runway at Caripito and taxied to the well-equipped hangar which at the time was jointly operated by Pan Am and the Standard Oil Company.
The St. Louis Dispatch, Wednesday, June 2, 1937
Amelia and Fred were met by Don Andres Rolando, President of the state of Monagas, and Don Ramiro Rendiles, Secretary-General, both of whom were accompanied by their wives. Originally intending to only refuel and push on weather forecasts of strong headwinds and heavy rains forced the fliers to stay the night in Caripito with favorable weather conditions promised the following day.
While the refueling of the Electra was being taken care off, Earhart and Noonan were treated to a luncheon in the airport hangar. "An elaborate and delicious meal it was, running the gastronomic gamut from grape juice to beefsteak and fruitcake. Our host was Henry E. Linam, general manager of the Standard Oil Company of Venezuela, at whose home we stayed."
Amelia and Fred
The Electra, NR16020, being pushed into the hangar at Caripito
AE helping with the refueling process
Amelia, her Electra, and the barrels of gas intended for her aircraft
AE with her camera
Amelia and Fred, with his back to the camera, at their luncheon engagement