Chapter 9: Getaway Day

Published: October 6th 2017
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Chapter 9: Getaway Day

I am up early while my love slumbers on. The coffee pot comes to life as do I at this quietest time of the day. I do love early morning with no sounds: No TV, radio, traffic; nothing but ambient noise similar to what might have been decades or even longer ago. There is no escaping the hum of the refrigerator or the low rumble of the circulating HVAC fan but those things are less here because there are fewer of those devices nearby. Cayo Espanto is at its best in the earliest part of the day.

There is the sound of this morning’s ripples on the shore, palm fronds rubbing against each other in the breeze and, most pronounced, the morning birds announcing the news of the day to their fellows.

Last night, around midnight, the silence was decimated by the cacophony of thunder which was close enough that I could feel it. B4? Slept through it all. Here, she can find the rest that eludes her when she is closer to the responsibilities that accrue to the CEO side of her.

So it is for us on this final morning at Cayo Espanto that we are both doing what we want to do and need to do, separate from one another, but only temporarily, as she dozes and I am awake, albeit barely.

There is a thunderstorm far to our east this morning with ominous grey skies on the far horizon. Closer to us the weather is fine. We experience this phenomenon quite often in Florida where our place on the water experiences one climate while quite another exists either far inland or far out over the sea. So, here, it is unremarkable—if you are used to it. We are.

My love awakes and joins me for coffee and her chance to analyze via internet her corporate sales numbers telling me that she had a decent day yesterday having achieved satisfactory average unit retails but that “We have some risks at the end of the month.” An email to members of one of the boards of directors she occupies arrives and requires a thoughtful critique and wise input. This is the stuff of falling head over heels for a CEO. Others demand her time as do I but I don’t resent it. Her mind and her accomplishments are two of the primary things that drew me to her in the first place. I fire up the Bluetooth and put on soothing background music as we transition from one day part to another, each in our own distinctly different fashion.

At 7:00, the first departure from San Pedro Town airport passes over us. At 7:06 the employee shuttle passes in front of Casa Brisa. Our fruit will arrive within a half-hour and our final breakfast order will be taken. The sun has come alive, the heat from its rays transforming our veranda from pleasantly cool and refreshing to warm but not yet hot. As I said, this is my favorite time of the day. I am a voyeur watching others assume their responsibilities as I happily shirk my own.

At 7:11, the briefest of showers—perhaps only 30 seconds long—passes even as the sun shines brightly. Perhaps there is somewhere nearby a rainbow. It is too much trouble to get up from my perch to see. To the far east of us the sky has now darkened to a threatening degree and I am happy to be here and not there as a rapidly moving north to south disturbance would make for uncomfortable existence upon the sea.

B4, referencing our departure three hours from now, utters an undeniable truth: “Let’s hope it’s not like that while we’re in the boat.” It was one thing to be soaked on arrival at Casa Brisa where we could escape soaking wet clothes. It is quite another thing to be soaked on arrival at the airport where we could only wallow in wetness. Remember this: there is no covered transportation over the waters from Cayo Espanto to San Pedro Town—only a Frog Tog exists to make you think you might be dry on the other side of your boat ride…and that, my friend, from experience, is folly.

After breakfast, we are presented with an evaluation form and a leather bound “guest comments book.” We agree that I will tell the truth on the evaluation form and Beryl will sugar coat the book. We both do.

As our final bill is presented, to their credit, Cayo Espanto management comps our one bottle of prosecco and our four bottles of sauvignon blanc, about a $175 value. “Due to your inconvenience,” Carlos says. Well done.

Thankfully, it appears that our return journey across the waters to San Pedro Airport will be a sunny and dry one. For those remaining here, however, Tropical Storm Nate approaches. The National Hurricane Center ( forecasts that Nate will pass by at 8:00 tomorrow morning about 100 miles east. Twenty-four hours after that, Nate, which has already taken twenty-two lives in neighboring Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, is expected to become a hurricane passing over Cozumel and headed for a New Orleans landfall forty-eight hours or so from now.

At precisely ten, the shuttle boat appears from waterside and what appears to be the entire customer-facing staff of Cayo Espanto appears from landside. We will now be given the lineup which had been scheduled for our arrival. One assumes that the torrential rain at that moment coupled with the scowling visages of B4 and yours truly delayed this ritual and rightly so. In lieu of a welcome drink we were handed an insulated tote bag which, we are told, contains lunch. Again, well done.

Carlos will escort us across the waters, into our taxi, through our exchange of one piece of checked luggage with the Maya man and a perfunctory check in with the Maya lady who manages the counter. Our names checked off, I am handed two cardboard boarding passes and told to relax for a bit—but not too long—because we are to depart early IF the other two booked passengers arrive in time for that to occur.

Momentarily a young Chinese couple appear, check in, sit down and then we are all whisked out the door, down the ramp and into the single-engine, ten-passenger plus one-crew Cessna C208B EX Caravan for our quick 160-knot, 2,400-foot altitude hop to Belize City. Maya doesn’t seem to believe in or use co-pilots so I think good thoughts about our solo pilot’s health as we roar down the runway, rotate and bank hard right almost over Cayo Espanto for Belize City.

The only remarkable thing about arriving there, other than the fact that we are 45 minutes early, is that there are two military cargo jets haphazardly parked on a tiny taxiway. One marked “Royal Air Force” is offloading a helicopter and the other marked “Luftwaffe” is doing not much of anything.

Security is as you might expect: our Cayo Espanto insulated tote bag water bottles are confiscated and my tiny fingernail scissors—which have accompanied me to dozens of foreign lands—are inspected and reluctantly allowed back in my possession for the trip to the good old U.S.A.

Southwest 1007 is also early in departing even given the fact that the local Belizean passengers seem to have no familiarity or regard for Southwest’s A-B-C 1-30, 31-60 lineup formalities. There are more B’s in front of me than at any hive but the staff shoos them away and soon B4 and I are lined up on the tarmac for the walk up the boarding stairs to the entry door of the 737-700 that awaits to bring us home. There are no jetways here.

As we, on the stairs, wait for those who precede us to choose their seat and stow their carry-on bag, it begins, once again, to rain.


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