The traffic was less than usual for Cayman’s capital, Georgetown, which was a relief. Our route was only a few kilometres as the airport was just behind the main urban area. I paid the taxi driver, hauled my case out of the trunk, and headed to the check in desks. As I almost ran inside I noticed that a couple of workmen were boarding up the large panes of glass next to me. There was no queue at check in, so I placed the suitcase on the scales and was checked in easily – no seat preference available; I was to have the last empty seat on the plane. As I stuffed my passport and boarding pass into my shirt pocket, I noticed the check in staff close the check in, shut down the computers, turn off the lights and make their way ready to go home.
Passport Control and Security at Cayman was equally as quick and once through I noted again that the machines were being shut down behind me and the staff packing up. The airport behind me was as quiet as anything, the small departure lounge in front of me jam packed with people. I found a couple of conference delegates; all from the Deep South of USA which is why they were happy to head to Atlanta. We chatted; I bought some rum, and we boarded the plane. I was right at the back so not only was I the last person to check in at the airport, and the last through security, but almost the last to go up the steps and get into the plane. Every other plane had been cleared from the apron, the small ones may have been stashed away in some hangar, but even Cayman Airways had parked their planes in Miami, not at home. This was literally the last plane out before the hurricane struck.
I could just see out of my window across my fellow traveller, and saw more boards being put up on the glass of the departure lounge. I saw some palm trees next to me bending about 45 degrees in the wind, the clouds above were a lot thicker than they had been.
As the stewards prepared the cabin, the captain chatted to us in his southern drawl and easy going language, warning us that the initial ascent might be “just a little bit bumpy”. We taxied to the end of the runway and I caught a last glimpse of the wind flapping at the trees.