...or "How I spent my Summer vacation":
I scheduled a 4 hour layover in San Juan, on the way down to a most excellent cruise on a crewed 44' catamaran in The Grenadines, but it turned into a 3 day
We made the best of it by checking out the sights in Puerto Rico, like one of the forts, El Morro:
Fountain in Old San Juan:
El Yunqué N.P. (the rainforest):
Camuy River Cave Park:
Anyway, as is often the case nowadays, the original June 30th flight to San Juan on U.S. Airways was overbooked; there was another one that was supposed to get us there still having a 2 hour layover, but that was delayed, so when we finally got into the terminal it was down to 45 minutes. That should've been sufficient, but the departure board was displaying only one flight with the little "puddle jumper" airline (LIAT) that our flight to The Grenadines was on, and it wasn't the one we were scheduled for. So, we had to go out of the gate area and find the LIAT counter, at which time we had about 35 minutes remaining until our 3:30 PM flight to St. Vincent. When we booked the flight back in late April, the terms and conditions said that if we showed up with less than 30 minutes until the flight, we could be denied boarding. However, when we got up to the LIAT ticketing agent, we were informed that the policy had been changed one month prior...to 45
minutes. Of course, they never bothered to update us on the situation, and they gave our seats to a couple of people on standby. Then, the ticketing agent told us that because of some festival going on in St. Vincent, all flights were booked until Tuesday the 3rd. Not only that, but they told us we would have to buy new tickets, since the ones we'd already bought to get down there were no longer valid. I would advise anyone and everyone not to fly with LIAT, which I have concluded stands for "Lousy Island Airline Team". They have a bit of a monopoly on getting to certain islands, but there are ways around them on many of those. They haven't heard the end of this, either.
We had been in contact with the (Elite Island Yachts
) cruise folks from the very beginning of our difficulties, and they offered to let us go some other week, but I was bound and determined to get there that week. When we finally got to St. Vincent on Tuesday evening, the boat was at the other end of the Grenadines island chain, so the helpful people with the cruise company booked us into a hotel right next to their base of operations. Early the next morning, they got us back to the airport to catch an air "taxi" to Union Island, where the boat would rendezvous with us.
Coming in at Union Island by plane:
Leaving Union Island by boat:
Let me tell you, these guys really went the "extra mile" (and then some) to work with us, even though the problems we'd had were no fault of theirs.
Captain Trevor, and Carla the First Mate:
This is what the boat looked like:
A view from atop Mayreau Island, looking down on Salt Whistle Bay, where the boat was anchored at the time:
If anyone's interested, I can get you a sweet deal with Elite Island Yachts
for a cruise like the one we enjoyed, maybe
for even less than we paid.
(And we got a bargain!
Even though we only experienced half of our cruise as originally planned, it more than made up for the odyssey we dealt with getting there. Elite Island Yachts
have 3 different locations beside The Grenadines where they operate at present; The Bahamas, The British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. Also, they are planning to expand into other markets.
So, what's all this crap about Friday the 13th