Wednesday, April 3, 2013
0945, April 3, 30,000 feet over Arkansas
Back in the air en route to Denver from Atlanta, screaming babies in the back of the plane and drink carts bumping our elbows, it is hard to believe we started out in tropical waters yesterday morning. The whole day yesterday was "hurry up and wait". We were up by 6:00, and off our mooring half an hour later, heading back across Sir Francis Drake Channel for Road Town. The wind was still strong, and as we got bounced and rocked by the big waves, we realized what great protection Kelly Cove had offered us for the previous two nights.
It was tempting to crank up the sails, as the wind was a solid 20+ knots on our beam, but we were on a tight schedule to make sure we got the ten a.m. ferry out of Road Town, so we bit the bullet and just powered our way back to the charter base. Once in, it was a quick matter to fuel up the boat (only $130.00 worth of fuel for the whole 10 days – gotta love wind power!), and unload all our gear. It was a bit strange to just turn over Catywampus, who had been our home for 10 days, to a total stranger, and watch him drive her away to dock waiting for the next group of tourists to take her out. We had all become more attached than we realized.
We didn't have much time to dwell on it though, because the taxi was there right away, and we were off to the Road Town fast ferry, only a few minutes from the charter base.
Before long, we were on the big power catamaran, headed for St. Thomas. Not the cleanest or most pleasant trip, but at least it was nonstop, and we only had an hour to sweat in the hot compartment (with no working AC), and breathe the diesel fumes blowing in from the back of the boat.
When we pulled in to Charlotte Amalie, we had the bad luck to land right behind another ferry unloading its own cargo of sunburnt tourists. Since we had to clear immigration at the ferry terminal, we were obliged to sit and wait on our ferry for another hour, at the dock, then stand in line for another hour after that to get through the backlog. We had left plenty of time to catch our flight, but were starting to get a little nervous, not knowing how long the whole process would take. A nice family ahead of us were due to catch a flight to Switzerland, and despite begging their way to the front of the line, we later caught up with them at the airport, where they had missed their flight, and were making alternate arrangements. You really can't rush anything in the islands.
Eventually, after satisfying the needs of homeland security, we made it through, and hopped in another taxi to the airport. There, we got to wait in more lines for customs and airport security. This time, the process was more efficient, and we made it through with a few minutes to spare prior to boarding our plane. So much for the two hour buffer we thought we had given ourselves.
After that, it was a comfortable flight to Atlanta, and the kids all enjoyed the inflight TVs Delta supplies, so the 3 ½ hours went by quickly. It is amazing how big a difference something like that makes. We are on United today, and there is no equivalent entertainment, so we are having to work a bit harder to keep the kids entertained. They are really good on the planes, but as the hours tick by, they get restless, and need to be reminded not to be too disruptive to the people around them.
Back in Atlanta, we took the convenient free train back to the Springhill Suites, and dropped our bags off in our room. Having been there 10 days previously paid off with a few tricks we had learned on our last stay. It turns out you can actually take the luggage carts from the airport all the way to the hotel, so we took advantage and pushed our bags all the way to our rooms, then decided just to keep the carts in our room overnight, and took our bags back on them this morning. We had a lot of sailing gear with us, and our bags were heavy, so it was a big help. Especially given that I am still dragging around a significant portion of sea urchin in my left foot, so it is not the most comfortable thing to be walking long distances with heavy bags.
We popped back to the airport for dinner, and treated ourselves to Oreo Brownie Sundaes at Burger King for dessert, to celebrate our success at making it off the boat in one piece.
Today, we were up early (5:45 Atlanta time; losing 3 hours today with the time change is going to hit us hard tonight!). We were quickly back to the airport for a smooth check in to today's flights. We are now on the way to Denver, where hopefully we'll have enough time for lunch, then will head off to Spokane, and finally home!