Your Holiday Disaster

'Twas on the good ship 'Linda Girl' that Anna Balaguer's Caribbean adventure took a turn for the worse

It Was a Caribbean cruise - or as close to one as a couple of backpackers like Rob and I were ever going to get. We rejected the possibility of a 15-minute flight from the Honduran mainland to the island of Utila, and opted instead for the four-hour trip on the Linda Girl, a little cargo vessel carrying provisions and building materials to the islanders.

"Have they never heard of a Plimsoll line?" said Rob as we stepped on deck. We climbed over crates of Coke, settled on a pile of sandbags, and leaned against our backpacks. The islanders, back from mainland shopping sprees, greeted each other in their strange pidgin English, with traces of 100-year-old Scottish. The blond, freckled, captain shouted orders in a bizarre pidgin/Spanish mix, and we were off, accompanied by a refreshing breeze.

Half an hour later, we were out of the bay, and the swell was growing. The boat was alarmingly low-lying, and very soon waves were sending water pouring back and forth across the deck. Then the islanders, a seafaring people, began vomiting, and bringing rosaries out of their pockets. The captain shouted orders to the crew in his unintelligible English. Everyone was soaked to the skin, and each new wave brought fresh shrieks and weeping, before we all settled back into nervous silence.

Then there was a shout from the engine room. It was flooded! No sooner had the pump been brought up, than the engine stalled, and there was no longer any control of the boat. When the pump wouldn't work, the male passengers were told to start off-loading the cargo. Rob was the first on his feet, hurling as many sandbags into the sea as he was able.

Meanwhile, I was shaking uncontrollably and a member of the crew was fitting a toddler's life-jacket on to the youngest passenger. A hitherto oddly calm backpacker asked for the other life-jackets, and when it emerged that there were none, she burst into hysterical sobbing. I've never seen anyone lose their composure so fast. Her panic made me forget my own fear, and I found myself hugging this stranger, trying to convince both of us that we'd survive this ordeal.

"When we go in the water, first thing - take your boots off!" ordered Rob, and my worldly possessions now meant nothing to me.

Eventually, the pump started working and the captain skillfully steered us through four unending hours of fear and nausea, until we finally reached the calm bay of Utila.

We staggered off the Linda Girl, looking for the standby medical team.

"Rough trip?", grinned a lad handing us an advertisement for his hotel.

"We nearly sank," I whimpered.

"Already? She only went down last month, but they managed to raise her," he replied.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...