We trundled along the smooth tarmac and I stared hopefully out of the rear minivan window at the dark clouds that engulfed the sky around us.
It was our second attempt at leaving Barbados. Yesterday a tropical storm had struck the windward islands, journeying to the south of Barbados. Despite not hitting the island directly, the storm had caused severe weather which was extreme enough for all flights in and out of Barbados to be cancelled. That included our morning flight to the island of Dominica.
Staying another night in Barbados shouldn’t have been that much of a catastrophe except we’d totally splashed out on our accommodation for this trip at The Little Arches Boutique Hotel and another night there exceeded our budget.
With only a few hours to find somewhere for the night, it had proven too challenging to find someplace new and so we’d dipped into our emergency fund to stay at The Little Arches for the extra night.
Although it was peaceful there and the staff felt like family, knowing that we were going over-budget made it impossible to truly relax. Plus, it was not guaranteed that our rearranged flight would even leave. What happened if it didn’t?
It was a nightmare not being able to plan alternative options. I had to assume the flight was going ahead. I couldn’t book somewhere for tonight both in Barbados and Dominica. Accommodation options take a deposit so even more money would be at stake.
The unknown was the worst part about the situation. Everything was completely outside of my control and I had no idea what was going to happen.
Still, I could only blame myself for this situation. I had chosen to book a Caribbean trip in the lowest of the low-season and I had to suck up that this decision had its consequences. There was indeed a reason that this was the low-season.
I exited my thoughts. There was no point going over the situation anymore.
At least the weather looked slightly better today. The palms didn’t look like they were about to topple over and I was convinced I could see a break in the clouds on the horizon. Is that blue sky over there?
Our taxi driver was, like most individuals we had come across in Barbados, extremely pleasant. He was telling us all about how he was born in Trinidad and had moved to Barbados later in life. He talked about the changes Barbados had undergone in recent years, giving views similar to what I felt. It wasn’t just me who felt Barbados had changed.
I told him about all the hassle I’d had trying to get a drone into Barbados despite even paying for a permit.
He sighed. “It is just because of the big resorts.” He sounded as angry as I was about it. “The resorts have a lot of power over the island. They get a lot of celebrities who want privacy and that’s why I think they banned the drones.”
It made sense, although that didn’t mean I approved. The big resorts provide a vital source of income for the island of Barbados and if they wanted to improve the experience of big-spenders then why not?
It still made me angry that Barbados themselves advertise their island using drone footage when no one else is allowed to use one there.
Lewis brought up the fact that we’d seen lots of walls of rocks built out to sea at each end of the beaches, including the Sandy Lane beach.
Once again, our taxi driver sighed, clearly dissatisfied with this practise. “You know that beach outside the Little Arches, Miami beach?”
“Yes.” I responded. We’d spent two evenings at that beach.
“That never existed until a few years ago.” He informed us. “But they built that lighthouse there and since then, the sand has not been able to move down the coast and the beach was created. It shouldn’t be there.”
I hadn’t expected that.
Before long, we pulled up outside Grantley Adams International Airport.
I paused for a moment, composing myself for yet another morning tackling the airport, going through security half a dozen times to pick up our drone from its prison behind the customs desk and then maybe or maybe not getting on a plane at the end of it.
I took a deep breath. You got this.
This time our run through the airport wasn’t as stressful. Perhaps because I’d already experienced it once before and had mentally prepared myself for the slog.
We sat beside the gates enjoying a ham-filled croissant, a brownie and a cup of tea – exactly the same as yesterday. I just hoped the rest of the day wouldn’t follow the same pattern as the former day.
I rested my head in my hands as I thought about the dilemma we were in once more.
The cancellation of our flight the previous day had caused issues with our onwards journey in Dominica.
Due to not having internet till I was back at the hotel a few hours after our flight was cancelled, I wasn’t able to communicate an update to both our onwards accommodation and car rental.
The accommodation had been fine but the car rental company were less than pleased. It turned out that the company had driven our rental car to the airport for us and were waiting there for hours. The tone of the email was pretty pissed off.
I felt terrible but I wasn’t sure what more I could have done. The flight from Barbados to Dominica was just one hour in length. It was delayed at first so I still thought I would get to Dominica shortly but then when I finally found out it was cancelled, I was without data and in all honesty, in a bloody huge panic about the whole thing. When I did fire off the email, they didn’t pick it up for another couple of hours.
It was just a shit situation all round and I was mega surprised that they didn’t check-up on any flight or airport statuses like every other taxis or car rental company I had used.
Anyway, as a result of waiting at the airport for hours, the rental company decided they were categorically not going to drop the car off for us today.
Instead they gave me two options. Option one was to get a taxi down to their offices and collect it and option two was have it delivered to my hotel. I replied requesting option two.
This was last night. This morning I had still not heard back from them and was growing concerned.
I watched with horror as the departures board was updated. Beside our flight were the ominous letters that spelt out ‘DELAYED’ in capitals.
I held my breath, feeling my heart begin to pound. Please don’t get cancelled.
The only difference from yesterday’s delay was that this had an estimated departure time which was just one hour later than anticipated. That, at least, was encouraging.
The few minutes which occurred after that seemed to stretch on forever. I tried to curb the knot of anxiety in my stomach. The weather was better today. Surely we would fly?
I nearly let out a cry of excitement when we were summoned to our gate. Yes, yes, yes!
Gate 10 was actually like the entrance to a whole other world. After trudging down a glass walk-way, we ended up in a hot and busy room with 3 gates. This was the Liat area where all passengers departing on a Liat flight had to go.
Outside the large glass window were several Liat planes sitting on the runway. I stared at their large propellers propped on both wings. I love propeller planes! They just feel fun.
I could have danced when our plane at last was called to board. But still, I wouldn’t count my chickens just yet. Until we’d taken off – no, until we’d landed – I had no idea if we’d even arrive in Dominica. There was still time for a surprise storm to arrive and throw everything off again.
I breathed in the warm fresh outside air as we made our way onto the runway. The loud buzz of propellers sang in our ears as a recently-landed flight made its way towards one of the other gates.
I couldn’t help but smile as I felt the warm rays of sun on my back. Yep – it was sunny! I started to feel all my worries melting away.
I clambered up the steps to our small aircraft and got comfortable beside one of the airline’s windows. Things were getting even better – I had a window seat!
I watched as the plane’s first propeller started up, spinning slowly at first before gaining momentum until it was nothing but a blur. Across the plane I heard the other propeller join in with the irate singing until we were reversing out of our spot and heading towards the runway.
I couldn’t help it. As we sat in the sky with nothing but dark ocean below us I couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe our Caribbean adventure would be plain sailing after this. That however was wishful thinking.
I could never have expected what else lay in store for us that very same day.