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Princess IV Boat Accident Between La Ceiba and Utila, Honduras

I swear I wasn’t driving.

But I doubt the Princess IV will do the trip between La Ceiba and Utila any time soon.

After a few days of watching the sunset, swimming with the fishes and eating baleadas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we took the 2:00 p.m. boat back to La Ceiba, on the mainland.

The Princess IV, the ferry that does the trip twice daily, is pretty much the only way out of the island. The Utila Express, the alternative, didn’t run that week.

The boat wasn’t too full and I spent half of the trip inside, and the other half outside, at the back of the boat, snapping a couple of shots and enjoying the breeze. We were going fast, much faster than on the trip to Utila a few days ago.

But what do I know about boats, really…

As we entered La Ceiba’s harbour, I stepped back inside the boat to see Feng and to grab my backpack. The boat came alongside the quay, like a car doing parallel parking, and one of the guys jumped on the shore to grab the rope and presumably tie it to the docking ring.

At first, I didn’t understand what was going on. Two guys on the quay started running after the boat, still going very fast, and I briefly feared someone had fell from the boat.

The boat suddenly scrapped the quay. “Fuck,” I thought. “We are going too fast. That’s not how we are supposed to park.”

Two seconds later, the captain yelled to back off and all the passengers moved quickly to the back of the boat. That’s when we rammed full speed into the boat docked in front of us.

The impact was pretty strong and a lot of people fell but no one seemed to be hurt. For a second, we all froze, still shook up. “Get out!” the captain yelled. It didn’t need to be said twice. We grabbed our bags, jumped onto the quay and surveyed the boat for damage.

The princess IV is a huge catamaran, one of these boats with twin hulls connected by a deck. Both hulls were broken and were floating in the water. The side of the boat was also badly scratched but that’s probably a minor cosmetic issue. The engine also felt very hot when we evacuated the boat—not sure it survived the ordeal.

We were fine and after all, the boat had made it to La Ceiba.

In the taxi—really, more a collectivo than a taxi since the driver managed to fit four passengers, a ladder protruding from the trunk and our backpacks—we joked about the accident. One of the passengers said the boat was brand new, that the captain had bought in a month ago. And apparently, the captain tried to reverse but he couldn’t. “Like the Titanic,” I pipped in Spanish, “just without the iceberg.” We all laughed about it.

But I’m glad we made it to La Ceiba and I feel sorry for all the backpackers going to the island or stuck there!

P.S.: Feng has just noticed it’s Friday the 13!

Night at the Pier in Utila
Leaving Utiila
ODing on Baleadas, the National Dish
Entering La Ceiba Right Before the Crash
Entering La Ceiba Right Before the Crash
Right After the Crash (see the broken hull and the boat we rammed into?)
After the Accident
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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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