“There was a wreck on the island airstrip tonight!”
“An incoming plane hit a cow. On the runway.”
D’uh! Of course it was on the runway! This became a running joke. As did references to Honduran hamburger…
We had a grand time Friday night, yukking it up over a cow that had wandered onto the island airstrip. Fortunately, no one was injured. Except the cow. Which was seriously dead. Possibly serious damage to my liver, as well…
Our final night in Utila, and we were enjoying a barbecue poolside. Followed by a nekkid pool party. Well… for some of us…
at the dive shop, the daily sightings board…
As we collected in the lounge the next morning, grabbing breakfast before hopping the pick up trucks that would take us to the airstrip, we realized that perhaps something was amiss.
This is a tiny island. Eight miles long. Three miles wide. It has one airstrip. There was a dead cow, and a plane that had no landing gear on it. There is no tow truck. There were no wheels on the plane.
Our charter flight to the island
But no one whined…
We needed the charter flights to get back to the San Pedro Sula airport – on the mainland – to catch our commercial flights home. At noon.
But no one complained…. It was pretty clear that there wasn’t much we were going to be able to do about it.
The plane was not moving itself. The charter flights taking us to the mainland could not get in because of a cow.
Turns out, it was a feral cow. Seems no one on the island wanted to claim ownership. Someone was responsible for fixing that plane, and the cow apparently didn’t have insurance.
So we waited. And we had more coffee. The resort owner took his backhoe out to the airstrip in an attempt to clear the wrecked plane.
Nope. Not gonna happen.
It was then that “Plan B” was unveiled. Always have a “Plan B”, folks! We were grouped and loaded – luggage and all – onto the small dive boats! To Roatan! Another Honduran island, with airports! The charter flights would meet us there!
One of the “escape” boats, loaded and ready
Two hours, over rather rough seas. Pissing rain. A few green passengers, me included. Racing through swarms of butterflies – migrating through the nasty weather!
Waterspout in progress. Never touched water.
Comparisons to “The Amazing Race”. With no complaints…
We were met at the docks by transportation – two church buses, prepared to haul us and our luggage to the airport, where the charter flights awaited. Watching the clock? We all knew it was almost a lost cause.
What would Jesus drive?
Have i mentioned that the commercial flights from the Honduran mainland only go on Saturday and Thursday? We pretty much had one shot at getting home, and it was becoming clear that it wasn’t going to happen.
Travel representatives – hired by the resort owner to get us out – met the buses, and explained “Plan C”. Turns out, it’s also a good idea to have a “Plan C”. With no time to get back to San Pedro Sula, we would be re-booked on commercial flights from Roatan.
This was not trivial. There were thirty of us. As the flights only go on Saturday and Thursday, they were close to filled. No way in hell there were thirty empty seats.
So we waited. They just put us all on standby. Some through Houston, a couple through Dallas. And about twenty-two of us standby to Atlanta. It looked grim.
But there were no complaints…
We cheered when the last guy got on the plane!
It is true that you can tell a lot about a person by how he or she reacts to lost luggage, rainy days and travel disruptions. i will tell you that dive people are fabulous!
Had sent an e-mail to my son, explaining my predicament, and the fact that it was likely i wouldn’t be home as planned.
daisyfae: We got stuck because of a cow-plane collision. On the runway. May not make our flights to Atlanta today. Will keep you posted.
The Boy: Assumed it was on the runway. Unless they have flying cows down there.