Back on da boat!
Well, we finally made it, we’re back on da boat. While there can be bits of drama associated with each, the differences between air travel and that which occurs via a sailboat are as vast as the oceans themselves. While it might sometimes be frustrating to deal with island officials who are running on their own ‘jus now‘ or ‘mañana‘ timetable, it is nowhere near as stressful as the ‘hurry-up-and-wait‘ drill which is the order of the day when flying. Are we glad that we travelled to California? Without question! Being able to reconnect with our daughter and hold our granddaughter in our arms is worth all the travel hassles in the world. Our boat is our home though so we’re, of course, happy to be back on board her.
As I indicated in yesterday’s post, returning home was not without its challenges though. Engine problems forced the cancellation of our first flight out of Los Angeles, in a bit of a dramatic fashion. With only an hour to make our connection in Miami, we knew that even a five minute delay in LA was likely to cause us to miss our next flight. Having our plane return from the runway to the terminal was a death blow to our originally scheduled itinerary. As it turns out, because there is only two flights out of Miami to St. Maarten and we were to be on the latter of the two, it also guaranteed that we’d be spending the night in either LA or Miami. We opted for Miami.
American Airlines dealt with the upset, I assume, as best they could. They offered to cover hotel rooms and provide meal vouchers for those who were ‘disconnected‘ (that’s a new airline word that I learned). Of course, getting that organized involved more standing in line than we all really appreciated. Funny story about that… as Rebecca and I knew that we had no connection to catch and had nowhere in particular that we had to be, we were pretty chilled out about the whole situation. This was not the case for everyone though. We heard of one poor guy who was set to leave on a cruise ship where he had a job as an entertainer. The plane problem was apparently going to cause him to miss the ship’s departure. Oops. As you might imagine, because of situations like that, some people were getting a bit stressed. As we waited in line in the service room to confirm our new flight times, one particular lady was getting a tad animated because there was only one agent behind the counter and she figured that there should be some additional help. Did they send more people to assist? Ultimately yes, but before another service agent arrived, three armed police ended up on the scene! It was a bit funny because the little five-foot-nothing woman was not freaking out that much.
Once we made it to Miami, where we would be spending the night, we were unfortunately still not through with the dreaded line ups. In order to claim our hotel vouchers, we were directed to yet another service counter where, because of the large number of people in front of us, we would have had to spend at least an hour or two before we would make it to an agent. Would have, if we hadn’t been helped by our new friend!
While running from line to line in Miami, trying to get our vouchers, I struck up a conversation with a St. Maarten resident named John who was on the same flight out of LA. John was in the same situation as us but, rather than spending time in another line, he was willing to spend the $50.00 to get a 24 pass to American’s Admiral’s Club. As we don’t typically hang in those circles, I wasn’t really aware of what that was all about but with that membership, he was able to walk right up to a line-free counter to get the next day’s boarding passes and his hotel and meal vouchers. He didn’t do just that though, he sorted out all of ours too! Doesn’t that rock? John owns a company here in St. Maarten called Tijon which produces custom fragrances, and also has another newer store in San Diego. Check out his site, he is a cool guy and really did us a good turn.
You know that hotel I mentioned staying in? The last time I spent a night in a hotel room was when Rebecca and I visited the Toronto boat show, before we owned a boat! How’s that for crazy? The room was filled with so many foreign objects, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.
Look at these crazy appliances. You don’t see things like this on our boat!
The flight from MIA to SXM was uneventful, just as one would wish their air travel to be. When we arrived back on the island, feeling much more at home than we did in the big cities, we hopped in a cab to take us directly to Barnacles, our favorite watering hole where our friend Larry was already waiting to shuttle us back to our boat. As we knew they would be because they were under the watchful eye of Larry and Jan, ZTC and our cat Samantha were both in great shape. It’s nice to have friends, isn’t it!
Speaking of friends, we had only a short amount of time on our boat before we were off and running. Our buddy David, once again, offered up his internet modem for us so we ran off to connect with him. It’s David we have to thank for this timely post. We had also received word that our Bahamas buddies Jeff and Cassandra were in the neighborhood so we set off in the dark to go find them. When we last saw them they were working as captain and first mate on board a 70′ power yacht in Georgetown. They have since upgraded their gig and are now acting in the same capacity for a new owner with a newer, nicer yacht, an 80′ Ocean Alexander. If you’ve never been on a yacht like this, it’s difficult to describe the opulence. Trust me though, it is amazing.
Luxury dining room? Yes, this is on a yacht!
Not only did we get to hook up with Jeff and Cassandra, we found out that Alvin,
another friend from the Bahamas, is also here in SXM!
Jeff and Cassandra were our teammates in the 2011 Georgetown Cruising Regatta’s Coconut Challenge. Although we haven’t been back to confirm this, I suspect that our complete dominance in that event is a story still told around Georgetown campfires. Seriously though, we had promised that when we next met, we would turn over to them the custom coconut trophy from that event that we’ve been carrying with us since we left Georgetown. Now in their hands, we hope they cherish the trophy as much as we have and let it reside in a place of honor on board their yacht!
Circa 2011. I know, nice hair.
Passing the torch.