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With no sign of a surfboard or a spiced rum and coke in sight, Travel Editor Nick Bloom recounts the time he got caught in a not so perfect storm.


A boiling tropical island off Colombia’s Caribbean coast with three of your best friends doesn’t sound like a holiday most Bristol students would turn down. Hot sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, endless seafood, moped rental services and restless reggae nightclubs – paradise, no?

We arrived, buoyant and cheery, in the midst of a tropical storm

Our time in San Andres, a beautiful tourist hotspot a few hundred kilometres from Colombia’s northern coastline, did not go as planned. We arrived, buoyant and cheery, in the midst of a tropical storm. El “huracán” was taking no prisoners. Grey, angry skies, rain sleeting sideways, frequent bolts of lightning. Shops boarded up, hotels welcoming no more guests, electricity only available for a few hours a day. No sign of a surfboard or a spiced rum and coke anywhere.

Not quite the holiday we were expecting.

To make matters worse, we were trapped. All flights to and from the island were cancelled. After waiting for hours at the local airport for information, all we got were semi-sympathetic shrugs and a half-hearted word of advice: stay inside, don’t bother trying to call as the telephone lines are down and get to the supermarket now while they still have supplies.

How often are you stranded on a tropical island?

Loud and clear, jefe, we’ll just stay put. We went back to our hostel, twiddling our thumbs.

But, after a while, we learned to laugh. How often are you stranded on a tropical island? After two or three days of playing board games and watching films, the storm subsided and we headed home. An unforgettable experience!


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