Summer Vacation 2011 – Plane Spotting at Maho Beach

You’ve probably seen the YouTube videos. Pretty dramatic. Huge jets [seemingly] descending upon the masses of people on the beach. It is, in fact, that dramatic. And Truls decided that he needed to make his own video and have our own photos of these events particularly since we’ve been to Maho Beach a few times before.

Truls was prepared. He’d checked the list of airline arrivals for the next few days, looking for future arrivals of the largest airplanes. A 747 would be the best – huge jet, short airstrip, multitudes of onlookers at the beach, deep descent just above the fence . His GoPro video camera was mounted on his new, lightweight monopod, ready to capture every moment of the descents…and the [Canon] 50D, of course.

Last time we hit this bar/cafe, it was pouring rain and the decks were packed with people trying to find shelter between descents. This time, though it poured earlier in the day, we lucked out with a break in the weather.

We shared a table with another couple and set in to wait…as we ordered lunch. We caught the Air France AirBus just as we sat down. We knew the next airplane would be small. We didn’t bother getting into position to catch it…and we kicked ourselves. It was a DHL Express plane coming in rather low. Other people saw that as well and it seemed the entire crowd stood up to watch a lot closer. It looked like it barely cleared the fence around the airfield, mere feet in fact. I believe the pilot knew he was putting on a show…but I wouldn’t have wanted to be one of the recipients of any package onboard if he’d miscalculated.

We settled in for the show. Plane spotting is a popular pastime at this cafe. Truls raised the monopod and took some footage above the umbrellas at our cafe (and our girls playing around). He grabbed his 50D and planted himself near the road. I found some space at the edge of the deck at the cafe. We had no desire to get blasted by the hot jet air as the huge jets landed – which has happened to people too close to the action on the beach and at the fence. From our vantage points, we knew we could get the shots we wanted.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.


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