On day two of our trip, we crossed by boat to the mainland, drove an hour by van to a wildlife preserve, got into another boat and cruised up New River to take in the flora and fauna, sighting turtles, crocs, epiphytes, and a number of “life birds,” then spent the afternoon walking among the Mayan temples at Lamanai. It rained on and off all day, and on the drive back to the dock a monsoon poured down. By the time we got to the skiff that was to return us to San Pedro, the skies had cleared, so we climbed aboard for the hour long trip across open sea.
There were fourteen of us on the small boat heading back to the island. Fifteen minutes in, forked lightening split the glowering clouds. The moon came out, a soft nimbus in the sudden darkness. Drizzle. The lightening moved closer. Rain. Waves getting tall. Finally our captain Eric signaled for rescue by a larger boat in the distance, which ignored our lights flashing out an SOS at first, the sturdier vessel fast disappearing, until a call to the big boss on the mainland made them circle back to get us as the storm rolled in.
We climbed from our small fair-weather boat onto the large covered one, rain stinging our faces, the sea rocking under us, footfalls slippery, the transfer across dark water terrifying. But then we were inside the workhorse water taxi built to withstand such squalls. The wake was fearsome. Most of us were soaked and chilled right through. But we pulled in to the island an hour later, safe in the end, and with a new adventure in our pockets, a moonlit rescue on the open sea, a tale that now becomes part of our story, forever and ever, amen. Thank you, Eric, for keeping us safe and knowing when and how to bail. We were relieved to learn you and your brave little skiff put in safely, too.