St. Vincent and the Grenadines

July 27

With regret we are forced to come home; and with more regret we fly US Airways again.
Map of July 27th's travels

It was finally time to go home. I got up to take my last pictures of the sunrise, and then we started packing. Soon after we got up and about, we discovered that we had a visitor. Another bird had flown in through the open door, probably to see if we left any food lying around (we hadn't). We opened the sliding glass door next to the bird and it flew away, like we soon would.

The first leg of the trip was by cart. After checking out and settling our bar bill, one of the resort carts came by to take our luggage to the large jetty in Petit St. Vincent harbor. On the jetty, they loaded our luggage into the smaller of the two resort boats and we climbed on board.

This little fellow came into our cottage

The next leg of the trip was by boat. We were the only guests leaving that morning so we had the boat to ourselves (except for the resort manager who drove the boat and a member of the staff who was there to assist). The boat took us from Petit St. Vincent to Clifton on the southeast end of Union Island. On the way, we passed between Mopion and PSV where the captain pointed out a turtle in the water, which we didn't see. He also pointed out a dingy hung up in the coral heads around Mopion with some stupid tourists trying to get the dingy free (1).

The next leg of the trip was by trolley. At Clifton, Petit St. Vincent maintains a spot at the main dock where they parked the boat. Waiting for us was our third vehicle for the trip home, a trolley, like they use in amusement parks. We said goodbye to our host and boarded the trolley. The trolley took us through the town of Clifton to the airport on Union Island.

Once in the airport, we pass through customs (one guy sitting at a desk checking our documents) and through security (one bored lady who passed our bags through the X-ray machine but never really looked at the image), and sat down in the terminal. There were three other couples waiting for the same flight, all on their way home from Palm Island, another one of the exclusive resorts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. PSV had everything pretty well timed so we didn't have very long to wait for the plane.

Palm Island, PSV and Petit Martinique from air

The next three legs of our trip were by plane. The plane from Union Island to Barbados was one of those small island hoppers. Union Island was just one stop on its itinerary, so the plane was mostly full before we got on. Unlike US airports, there was very little fanfare. The plane landed, pulled up outside the terminal, we stepped outside and boarded the plane and it took off again. The plane wasn't on the ground for more than 15 minutes.

On the flight to Barbados, we took some nice (considering the conditions) pictures of Petit St. Vincent and then the Tobago Cays, from the air. The flight itself wasn't very long, and before we knew it we were back in Barbados.

We arrived too early. We knew that we would have a couple of hours before our flight back to the United States, but when we got to the Barbados airport, the US Airways counter was closed. They didn't open until noon and it was 20 minutes before noon. So we got in line. You had to be there to see it; there was this long line at the US Airways counter with people waiting to check in. Behind the counter were the US Airways workers, but since they were not required to open the counter until noon, they didn't. We just all stood around and waited.

Finally we got checked in. The flight left around 4:30pm. After we checked in, we went upstairs to the restaurant and had some lunch. Then, we went over to the club. Petit St. Vincent, being the high class resort that it is, arranges an afternoon membership in the airport executive club for all its departing passengers. So after lunch, we checked into the club.

Part of the reef at Tobago Cays, from the air

The club was great. Free food and drink, news programs on the television (we had seen no newspaper, or listened to any radio or television since we left home two weeks earlier), and comfortable chairs to relax in. We stayed at the executive club until it was nearly time for our flight. Then we went through customs and boarded the plane.

Up to now, everything was going smoothly but as soon as US Airways got involved, things went downhill fast. The flight was scheduled to get into Philadelphia by 8:30pm, and then leave for Boston at 10:30pm. But there was bad weather in Philadelphia (or so they said) and the flight was delayed. We were delayed taking off and then we circled in the air for a while before we landed in Philadelphia, very late.

Now you can't blame US Airways for the weather delays, but you can blame them for what happened next. Keep in mid that we arrived at Philadelphia late, too late to catch our flight to Boston, but there was a delayed flight to Boston available. First we went through US customs, which included picking up our baggage (which did make it to Philadelphia). When we got out of customs and there was supposed to be a UA Airways representative to let us know where to go. Well there wasn't. There was a place to stick your bags, but no one was using it. Instead, there was a US Airways counter with a long line. We finally found a US Airways representative and asked what we needed to do. Did we miss our flight to Boston? Was there another flight? What gate? Where do we check out bags? Should we be standing in this long line? They were clueless. I mean these people work for the airline, they should know how to move passengers through their hub.

Eventually one of US Airways representatives (not the first one we found) told us that the flight to Boston was delayed and we could still make it. We were in terminal A, we had to run to terminal B to catch the flight. So we stuck our bags on the conveyer belt and ran. We carefully followed all the signs to terminal B, until we were stopped by a closed steel grate.

Yes, it was late. And because it was late, much of the airport was shut down, including the passage between terminal A and B. How were we supposed to make our connection? After much yelling, we attracted the attention of another US Airways representative who opened up a passage and found a security agent to check our bags so we could go to the other terminal. We finally made it to the gate, and we were in time for a very delayed flight home.

The last leg of the trip was by cab. We finally got back to Boston hours and hours later than scheduled, but without our bags. The same US Airways efficiency used to speed their customers through their hub in Philadelphia was obviously applied to our luggage as well. Oh well. We stood in the long line at the baggage counter to fill out the claim forms and caught a cab home.

The next night (night mind you), we got a call from the baggage service. They had our bags and were on the way over. So I waited. And waited, and waited. The bags finally showed up the same way the plane did -- very, very late (almost midnight in this case). But they showed up.

Except for the flight home (and the flight there), it was a wonderful vacation. I hope you enjoyed reading all about our trip, and I hope to see you in the Caribbean sometime soon. The next page has the introduction to the photo galleries; be sure to check out all the pictures we took, not just the limited set we used to illustrate the journal. And be sure to read the other Gould Home travel journals as well.

- Joel and Daphne Gould

Why we liked Petit St. Vincent best

When I asked Daphne which section of the trip she liked best, she said the stay on Petit St. Vincent. It's not because the food was the best (close, but Petit Byahaut was better), or the snorkeling (it wasn't), and although it was nice to have electrical power in our room, that wasn't it either. The thing that made PSV so nice was that it was so relaxing, because of its lack of stress.

Daphne admires the view from our PSV suite

Petit Byahaut was wonderful, and we would go back there with no reservations (ok, maybe we would reserve a room in advance). But our time on Petit Byahaut was not completely stress-free. Some of it was our own fault, after all we did schedule a bunch of activities for our time on St. Vincent. But some of it was just the environment (like the fact that nothing ever dried in the humid tropic air).

Fortitude was also wonderful, and I would love to spend more time on that sailboat. But we were confined to a small space for a long period of time with no real place to stretch out. And it was hard to get a good night sleep with all the noises of the boat and mast.

But Petit St. Vincent was almost perfect. Ok, there were the laundry problems. And it is a little expensive (don't ask). And there were no fresh mangos. But once we were in the privacy of our cottage, all the stresses of the world just seems to melt away. And isn't that the most important feature of a vacation?

Now don't get me wrong. Our whole vacation was very well planned (ok, there was that bit about showing up in Bequia on Sunday). And, I think that I would have gotten bored if we spend the whole two weeks on Petit St. Vincent, or even one whole week. But if we were forced to pick one part of the whole trip that was the most relaxing, it would have to be Petit St. Vincent.

Footnote 1: Human contact with the coral kills it and it is stupid idiots like those boaters pushing their dingy who will eventually kill off all the accessible coral, spoiling it for the rest of us.

 Back to July 26   Go to Galleries 
Introduction | July 14th (travel day) | July 15th (Falls of Baleine) | July 16th (Petit Byahaut) | July 17th (La Soufriere hike)
July 18th (sail to Bequia) | July 19th (Union Island) | July 20th (Sandy Island) | July 21th (Tobago Cays) | July 22th (Petit Tobac)
July 23th (arrive at PSV) | July 24th (West Side Beach) | July 25th (Atlantic Beach) | July 26th (Mopion) | July 27th (travel day)
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Text and images © Copyright 2004 Daphne and Joel Gould. All Rights Reserved.
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