For over 6 months now Caye Caulker and our surrounding waters have been aware of Belize’s first ultra light plane as on calm afternoons we cannot but help notice it buzzing around our island, seemingly just above our heads!! The plane is amphibious ie can move on water and in the air (oh very James Bond I hear you cry) and indeed it has become quite a spectacle for us locals.
The plane’s owner and Captain is Walter Martin, a resident here in Caye Caulker, who moved here with his wife Christine (both of Bavarian decent) from Canada. Walter, a self proclaimed Bush Man, found his small heaven here in Caye Caulker where the warmth of the sun and the simplicity of life can be combined in one sweet spot – Caye Caulker. Walter has been flying for over 7 years has been through loop holes in order to obtain the correct licenses/ insurances in order to make his flying here very much above board, at this stage is merely enjoying his hobby/ passion at a ‘Go Slow’ pace.
Walter had extended the invitation to join him on one of his ‘runs’ sometime ago but sheer terror ensured that I neatly avoided the question. It was when our own Ragga Empress set off sailing down the reef and Walter stumbled upon her and her sheer beauty from the air brought the question up again, this time to take pictures of our newest addition.
So yesterday morning, at Ragga Empress left her Caye Caulker dock and the weather conditions were perfect I was strapped in, headphones on and de-robed of anything that could ‘fly off’ me and off we went. Please understand,as the engine roared my heart missed a beat, adrenaline was pumping and I was so excited I almost peed my pants!!!! What if I fell out of the aircraft, what if the engine failed – all of this went running through my head!
Once in the air, all my fears dispelled as the wind whipped through my hair and the beauty of the the island and the ocean lay in front of me. I was immediately taken back with what is very much familiar surroundings ie my home, my island, looking totally different. It is truly fascinating to see how roads interlock, seeing friends houses and the shape of their properties clearly and without obstruction from other buildings. It is wonderful to see our ocean filled with so many stingrays, eagle rays, manatees and dolphins – we have one huge aquarium on our doorstep and surprisingly you can see it so much clearer from the air!!
It was indeed a spiritual experience, where one could meditate as you watch the world beneath you. It is so very humbling to look at the world this way as you feel so very small as you look at a vast expanse of territory. Walter commented ‘I don’t do drugs or even drink much alcohol, this is my drug, this is where I come to escape’ – and I totally understood what he meant and I share his enthusiasm – I just now need to learn to fly a plane!!???!!!
In my few hours that I was gone I am happy to say that I have a collection of wonderful photos as a keep sake – I would like to share a number of them with you so that you can start to imagine what an amazing experience my ultra light flight was. Thank you Walter – anytime you need a wing man/ woman – I will be there!!!!