I am back in the US now so I thought I’d wrap up the trip with one last post. We had to have our check in bags ready by 7 AM, one last breakfast then meet the boat by 9 AM. It’s just a short a boat trip to the bus then off to the airport. Unlike last year, we stayed in the main terminal before going through the security line. The airport is very small and it can get quite crowded by the gate area if you have more than one flight leaving.
We boarded then plane but did not move for a while. The pilot finally announced they were having problems starting one of the main engines. After a few more unsuccessful tries, he informed us they are waiting on a special tool to manually start the engine. I am sure it was something expensive and sophisticated but I had this vision of the crank that used to start the original automobiles. I was expecting to see some poor mechanic standing by the engine trying to crank over the turbine by hand and yelling at the pilot if he had the clutch in or not. Anyhow, it took almost two hours but eventually the engine was started and we made our back to Atlanta.
Due to the delay, we had to really hurry to clear customs and make it to our connecting flight. I was literally the last person on the place with less than 3 minutes to spare before the plane was scheduled to take off. While I was happy we made our flight, I did not have time to stop and get something to eat. As we were rushing to our gate, I passed about 5 different restaurants at the airport that seemed to be all calling my name. Also, I had to gate check my carry on baggage. I was not too thrilled about this as it had my more important diving equipment inside and my electronics but thankfully, it made it OK.
Flight home was uneventful. As is normal now, you only get the single bag of peanuts and any extra food has to be purchased. It seemed like a Pringles day for me so that is what I decided to snack on. Of course, they were overpriced but they did the job. My friend has some breakfast bars he was happy to share so that helped as well.
Once we landed in the US, we were able to clear customs and pick up our bags in a fairly quick fashion. Nothing compared to the hours it took us last year when we came through the Miami airport. I told my friend that with future flights, we should do our best to come through Atlanta again. It was quite a different experience. We made a quick stop at McDonald’s and then made it home shortly after midnight. I was happy to spend the night in my own bed and not sleeping on the airport floor as we did last time.
The next day was spent catching up with the kids, unpacking and washing all my Scuba gear. Some of it got a nice warm bath in a fresh water rinse. The wet suit and swim gear got a double wash with Listerine and Wool-lite. As crazy as that combination sounds, it really does work. The wet suit and shirts came out of the washer smelling a whole lot better than they did before they went in. This is one of the few times where it is OK if I do my own laundry!
All in the all, the trip this year was as spectacular and enjoyable as it was last time. The biggest difference was our physical condition. We all felt remarkable well and did not have any noticeable side affects at all. My ears feel “heavy” but there is no discomfort or pain. About the worst thing that happened to me were slivers from the shark drive and my arms and legs are peppered with tiny bug bites. It looks like I took a couple of barrels of rock salt to all my limbs. Those minor issues aside, I feel in pretty good shape for 23 dives in one week. This is another huge difference from our trip last time. I’m not sure if it is because we are more experienced or reserved or it is just coincidence. Either way, we were all relived to not have suffered as we did before.
This trip has also confirmed we are dedicated divers and will be planning on at least one major trip per year. We have only been back one day and we are already making plans for next year. As much as we enjoy CoCo View, we are going to branch out and try somewhere different. No definitive plans yet as it depends on who will be joining us and their preferences. In the mean time, we are looking to expand on more dive trips within our local area. Something like a long weekend where we can get some dives in without it costing a lot of money. Needless to say, this will not be the last entry I’ll post with regards to our dive trips.