The party started at Heathrow. Now normally I am used to heading over to the airport, sipping a coffee and a Danish while reading the paper and waiting to board, then settling down for hours of movie watching and eating from plastic trays. Rarely do I have more than a fleeting conversation with any of my flying neighbours, infrequently I might travel with a colleague. But this time there was a contingent of about twenty people from UK institutions that were all travelling on the plane, as well as the Crown Dependencies of Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey (the makeup of UK territories is quite complex) as well as several from Gibraltar and the South Atlantic who were connecting through London . British Airways only fly every couple of days to Cayman Islands and this was the one which most closely coincided with the conference. So it really was no big surprise to start seeing familiar faces as I headed to the gate.
Once on board there was a party atmosphere; I wondered what the effect we had on the other 100 or so passengers either heading with us to Cayman or going on to Turks and Caicos where the flight was scheduled to head off to once we had been dumped off. I suppose it was a bit like a polite version of a rugby team or stag weekend group.
It meant that before we even reached the hotel we had gelled as a group. Once there we met the Caribbean delegates and a couple of others from other parts of the world , and we were ready to start the party. Oh, and conduct some serious conversation about conservation to boot.