What is unique when flying corporate and private aircraft for companies and individuals is the airports you get to fly into, places you visit, and the people you meet. When my boss told me he wanted to take his family to an island named Canouan, I honestly had to find it on a map. I had never heard of this small island that is only 3 miles long. It is one of the islands that is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Just north of Venezuela, I knew it would be stretching the legs of our Astra Jet at being close to 2,200 nautical miles from our home airport in the U.S.
After a month of researching and planning, we set off for this small island. We took off full of fuel and headed southeast over Florida and down over the island chains that make up the Caribbean. We encountered some big thunderstorms over Puerto Rico that required a little deviation to miss and after around 4 hours, we lined up for the runway that looked like it had been built out into the water - similar to how I would assume an aircraft carrier looks with all the water surrounding it. The far end of the runway was nestled between two large hills, and the runway looked to be half the length of the island. We landed and were greeted by the local handling agent and customs inspectors. They were professional and after sending our passengers on their way, we made friends with the handler and asked what there was to do while we were there. “Relax and enjoy your time here” is how she responded in her island accent. There is only one hotel on the island not part of the exclusive resort where our passengers were staying. The Tamarind Hotel is beautiful and on the north bay side of the island. While staying there, we quickly made friends with the staff, and it seemed as if everyone on the island seemed to know each other. With a population of 1,700 total on the island, we quickly understood why everyone knew everyone.
While I could talk of how great it was to spend the days snorkeling and hanging out on the beach of the beautiful island, the best part of the trip were the local islanders we made friends with. My copilot and I were treated like family and invited to beach Bar-BQs and even to dinner at one family’s house where they made local dishes for us to try. These people didn’t have much in terms of material things, but I believe they enjoyed getting to know us as much as we got to know them. After the week was over, we left to head back to the United States, but made many friends we would keep in touch with and see again on our return trips. What a month beforehand had been a foreign island to me, was now part of my aviation adventures. Something that I would have never experienced had it not been for the magic of aviation and one more example how it brings people from all over the world together.