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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day two: No water, no luggage, no problem

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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day two: No water, no luggage, no problem

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(@ccasebolt)
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I woke up early (~6:15) to the sound of the surf from Drunk Bay. I wandered downstairs to the kitchen, and much to my surprise, discovered that we had no water. Oh well, I wasn’t planning to make coffee anyway, as I had packed it in my suitcase. So I poured some OJ and sat on the deck to jot down some notes in my travel journal. Yup, the view is as magnificent as it was yesterday!

On my to-do list for today - call USAirways to get the status of our lost luggage. At the airport we were told that it had been tracked to PHL, so it had made it that far, but they couldn’t locate it after that. Not the most confidence inspiring information I had ever received, but I’d never had luggage lost permanently, so chin up.

The guys weren’t up yet, so I decided to see what I could glean about the water situation. I headed down to the pool/office area. The pool at Concordia was closed because construction of the new restaurant kicked up dust that settled in the water and clogged the filter. I had no bathing suit, so it was a moot issue for me, but the man with the goober suit was a bit disappointed about it.

The on-site manager was puttering around the office area, so I told him that we had no water. He said the water was the reason he was there so early - none of the studios had any. Apparently there was a leak somewhere between the cistern and the studios and they had lost 40,000 gallons over the last few days (!). He had a call in for water delivery, but wasn’t sure when they would arrive (island time), so we just had to be patient. Okay, I have no clothes, no water, and had no coffee this morning, and you’re asking me to be patient??? Okay. Seriously, I really was. I was so totally happy to be there - nothing was going to change that!

When I returned to the studio the guys were up. We had some yogurt on the deck and decided that our plan of attack should be to try to contact USAirways while waiting for the water. Unfortunately, I had left my cell phone on all night and it had been roaming on this side of the island - that sound was me kicking myself. That meant the dreaded pay phone (!!!). If you are looking for employment in the VI, consider being the phone guy there. I spent a young fortune in that #^%@* phone calling 800 numbers. Isn’t the $.25 supposed to be returned after you make toll free call? It dropped into the change return a couple of times, but it seemed pretty random to me. Anyway, I made absolutely no progress in the luggage department for various reasons ranging from offices being closed, access numbers being required, and other equally frustrating circumstances. So I took pictures in the cute wooden phone booth. I’m still a happy person.

At about 9:30 the water trucks arrived! Not one, but three! I can feel the shower now! Well, not exactly now, but soon. As it turned out, the water wasn’t back on until about 11:00, but who cares when you’re in paradise?

After the pics, I went to the office to see if by chance USAirways had called about the luggage. Nope, not yet. I relayed whole frustrating telephone story to the receptionist, who was an absolute sweetheart and made several calls for me. She had much better luck (especially since her phone didn’t live on a steady diet of quarters) and was able to speak with a real-live person. She also discovered that the USAirways agent at STT had transcribed two digits in the phone number she had given me; that’s why it never worked! Didn’t I tell you she was great? Bottom line - still no new news on the bags, but the receptionist promised to call my cell phone if USAirways called back later. She was such a big help! Unfortunately in the commotion, I neglected to get her name. If anyone happens to know the name of the receptionist at Concordia (mom of an adorable 5-month-old boy), please PM me. I am planning to write a letter to thank her for her help that day and would very much like to address her by name.

Anyway, back at the studio there was still no water so we decided to hit Lily’s in Coral Bay to pick up something for lunch. In the meantime, Rod had discovered that his cell phone charger worked with my phone - things were looking up! We left my phone to charge and off to we went. I had never been to Lily’s before, and I have to say I was pleased. Wow, Coral Bay has gone upscale. Lily’s has a nice selection of groceries, some gourmet items, wine, beer, and a very nice deli. And FYI - they also have brewed gourmet coffee for take-out. I wish I had known about that this morning. We opted for lunch meat and bread for sandwiches, and some snacks and sodas.

Shortly after returning to Concordia, the water came back on (!) We showered (finally!), I put on yesterday’s shirt with my “I’m a tourist shorts” and hubby donned the goober suit. Rod and I took one look and we both shook our heads - no way will we be seen with you in that! Rod happened to have a t-shirt that matched the goober bottoms, which he insisted hubby borrow. Thankfully, the shirt mitigated the damages sufficiently enough to avoid public humiliation. Amy’s flight was due in at 1:50 and Rod wanted to meet her at the airport, so we planned to put him on the noon ferry. We had a quick lunch and set out for Cruz Bay, heads held high 🙂

Because we still had no idea when they would deliver our luggage (or if we would ever see it again for that matter) and because we knew we would have to pick it up at the ferry dock, hubby and I decided to spend the afternoon in Cruz Bay. We had been told that there was a good chance it would arrive on the same flight we had been on the day before, even if the trace they put on it didn’t provide any information. My plan was to use my freshly charged cell to call the local number after that flight landed and hopefully get some good news. This proved to be easier said than done. I called repeatedly from 2:30 on, only to be told that they had no information on our luggage. You know the feeling you get when you can tell the person you are speaking with hasn’t even bothered to check the facts before answering your question? Well, that was the feeling I got each time I called - talk about utter frustration! Until then I had shrugged the situation off for the most part, but I was now becoming agitated.

This situation called for a margarita and chips at Polli’s. We sat on the balcony overlooking Cruz Bay - and I stared at my phone, willing it to ring. It did, but it was only Rod calling to say that they were on the 3:00 from Charlotte Amalie.

After we finished our drinks, I decided to call the Silver Preferred customer service number, hoping for better service. Jessica was by far the most helpful USAirways person I had spoken to yet. I explained the situation and begged, pleaded, implored her try to find out whether our luggage had made it onto this afternoon’s flight from PHL (which, at that point, had landed on STT over two hours before). She promised she would and gave me the information I needed to call her directly. Okay, now I feel better. Travel tidbit: if you ever earn a privileged status with an airline’s FF program, keep the card even if your status lapses - you never know when those customer service numbers will come in handy.

Rod and Amy’s ferry arrived just as I was thanking Jessica for her help. We went through the introductions and walked around for a bit. We settled at Joe’s Rum Hut for a drink, and at 5:15 my phone finally rang! I was told that our three bags would be aboard the 7:00 Red Hook ferry! What a enormous relief! I called Jessica back to let her know and to thank her again for her help.

Our original plans for Miss Lucy’s would have to wait as we had to meet the ferry, so we decided to try the Lime Inn. There was a fairly decent wait for a table, so we moved along and ended up at Margarita Phil’s. The food was pretty good and the margaritas excellent. I could feel myself slipping back into relaxed island time again.

We finished up about 7:00 and headed to the dock. I waited with bated breath as the ferry pulled up at 7:20. I wanted to hug the luggage guy who brought our bags out, but instead I tipped him - well. He offered to deliver the bags all the way to the car, but I told him that wasn’t necessary. Honestly, after this ordeal I didn’t want anyone else to touch them. We loaded the car and headed back to Concordia - victorious.

After finally having the pleasure of dragging our beloved bags to the studio, we decided that since we now had bathing suits, we absolutely MUST go swimming NOW. The pool was still closed, so this would mean a hike to Salt Pond Bay. Yes it was dark, but Rod had packed two flashlights, so it was decided. We drove to the lot and hiked the trail to the beach. The trail was overrun with hermit crabs which retracted into their shells as we passed making rustling noises in the brush. No, I’m not paranoid, nothing is watching me...

When we made it to the beach, we turned the lights off and allowed our eyes to acclimate. The full moon had been only 3 nights before, so there was quite a bit of natural light. What we witnessed after that was an amazing phenomenon I still have trouble describing. At the water’s edge I noticed tiny greenish phosphorescent flashes at the point where the water washed up against the sand. I pointed them out to Amy and we both walked into the water to get a closer look. As we moved through the water, we noticed that the flashes tended to appear wherever the water was disturbed. As we pushed the water around with our hands, it sparkled like fairy dust. No, I was not drunk - not even close. Drunk with amazement maybe, but that was all. It was one of the most fascinating experiences of my life.
Side bar: these phosphorescent creatures, referred to as glow worms in Feet, Fins & 4WD, can be seen 2-3 days after a full moon - how lucky were we to time it just right?. Check out http://www.ambergriscaye.com/reefbriefs/briefs65.html for more info.

After about an hour of stunned amazement, we grudgingly decided to head back after this long, but exciting day. We mixed some painkillers and sat out on the deck enjoying the view and discussing exactly how we would describe tonight’s experience to people. “They’ll think we had too much rum” Rod decided. I’ll figure out some way to convincingly relay it. So do you guys believe me???

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 6:35 pm
(@california-girl)
Posts: 117
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Someone on the other forum recently mentioned the bioluminescence in the water. Sometimes we get it here in California, but I don't think I've ever seen it in-person. We'll be arriving on St. John next May, 2 days after the full moon, so you KNOW where I'm going that night! 🙂

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 7:08 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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It was SO cool - definitely go! Remember to pack a flashlight. If it hadn't been for Rod's forethought, we never would have been able to hike to the beach at night. I an SO glad we did.

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 7:11 pm
(@coden)
Posts: 112
Estimable Member
 

I've loved reading both of your reports so far. Sorry about all of the snafu's you encountered so early in your trip and Congrats on how you handled them. You have a lot of patience. 🙂 Can't wait for more!

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 8:43 pm
(@gobucs)
Posts: 274
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is it like seeing the green flash?

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 8:52 pm
(@coco_de_mer_usvi)
Posts: 180
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Oh case im really sorry about your luggage dilemma, I hope I never experience it. Im ready to read the next day report lol.

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 10:10 pm
 Lora
(@Lora)
Posts: 1
 

Wow I can't believe you sat in restaurants for the entire afternoon/evening and you didn't lose your cool. I think the moral to this story is "pack your swimwear in your carryon."

I've thoroughly enjoyed your reports - keep 'em coming!

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 10:19 pm
(@dntw8up)
Posts: 580
Honorable Member
 

I have to disagree with Lora as one can easily buy new swimwear. I think the "moral" of the story, if there is one, is that we always have the choice of whether or not to enjoy ourselves and in this instance ccasebolt opted for enjoyment!.

 
Posted : August 3, 2006 10:31 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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gobucs - kinda like the green flash, at least from the fascination standpoint. The glow worm thing seems to be more predictable though. I know now to plan my next trip around a full moon for more than just the party 🙂

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 6:43 am
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Lora - we spent the early part of the afternoon shopping for gifts for our kids and their grandparents who were babysitting, so we did get to cross that off the to-do list. It really wasn't a bad way to spend the day even though it wasn't exactly what we had planned. The worst part really was not knowing what was up with the bags and not being able to get any information whatsoever; I really didn't want to go through the same thing the next day. In spite of the glitch, it all worked out.

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 6:50 am
 Lora
(@Lora)
Posts: 1
 

dntw8up - true!

ccasebolt - and what a great place to sit and wait on luggage! sounds as if you made the best of things, and I'm glad everything worked out in the end. Sometimes, all the planning in the world makes no difference, because we're not the ones in control.

Looking forward to your next chapter!

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 7:51 am
(@ginger)
Posts: 447
Honorable Member
 

JUST love love love your report so far!!! more more! i am dying for more stt/stj stories!

and for the glo worms i remember when we went to the meridian club in turks and caicos(on pine cay island) they had a special excursion you could take on the 5th day after full moon to see 'lights in the water' we missed going but NOW THANKS TO YOU i know what that was!!!!
although i would have been afraid to walk in the dark to the beach at night I AM CHICKEN! LOL afraid of creatures lololol LOVE HEARING ABOUT IT THOUGH

OK I AM EDITING MY POST i just found the excursion info from the meridian club in turks(pine cay) on their website check it out ..interesting

from
http://www.meridianclub.com/index.cfm/action/showpage/page/Activities.htm

GLOW-WORMS CRUISE ~ Each lunar month, five nights after the full moon, and fifty-five minutes after sunset, an amazing phenomenon occurs in the current that ebbs from the Caicos Bank, a short boat ride from the Meridian Club. A wonderful, fifteen-minute display of underwater luminescence is caused by the mating of a worm-like sea creature called Odontosyllis Enopla.
There are other species of glow worms which spawn on a lunar cycle, but not many, nor in many places in the world. On the New England coast at Woods Hole they spawn between the full and the new moon in the summer, just after twilight. The same kind of phenomenon occurs only off the coast of British Columbia, in the Pacific near Samoa, and in the East Indies in the Bay of Batavia.
Each month at this time, our guests' favorite activity is to take a twilight catamaran ride to the area where the spawning occurs and watch this beautiful wonder of nature. It's as rare as the Meridian Club itself.

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 8:07 am
(@Krista)
Posts: 1
 

Good luck getting your luggage. I was in St Croix for 3 days or a 5 day vacation and US Airways still didn't know where our luggage was. The second to last day they finally found it, only to lose it again on the return flight to the states. Then waited another 2 days to get it back.... US Airways sucks and has some serious issues, I will never fly again. And they still haven't reimbursed me for the items I had to buy just to "survive" our vacation. We had a wonderful time in STX but US airways just about ruined it for us. I am telling everyone to never check baggage with them. How do you lose 2 peoples luggage twice in 5 days??????????

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 8:29 am
(@sitter)
Posts: 249
Reputable Member
 

We will be camping trip at Cinnamon Bay on the night of the full moon in Dec for 4 nights. You think we will experience the ~glo-worms~? That would be soo cool to see that!

case...I really enjoyed your trip report!! Sounds like you had a great time even tho your luggage was delayed! So besides putting your swimsuit & an extra set of clothes in your carry on....what other advice you got for us?

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 9:23 am
(@c-urchin)
Posts: 82
Estimable Member
 

Sitter, when I was a little girl, we used to stay in the cabins at Cinnamon Bay all the time. When you walked to the bathroom at in the middle of the night, bring a flashlight and watch for all the crabs! 😀

I remember the bay having a glow to it when the waves came up to the shore. I always thought it was called phosphoresence (spelling is way off). I remember sitting on the edge when the waves came in and picking up little pieces of sand that glowed and putting them on my fingernails and trying to walk around glowing. . . I'm wondering now if I was trying to put ~glo-worms~ on my fingers. . ????? There's also a bay that has this in Puerto Rico, it is in Boqueron (another possible spelling screw up).

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 11:16 am
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Sitter - who know, maybe you'll luck out too. Not sure whether this occurs year round or is just a summer thing. Either way check it out - WAY cool!

BTW - will you be tenting or cottaging at Cinnamon? Reason I ask is the cottages in building 10 seemed to have the nicest location - close to the beach.

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 2:58 pm
(@sitter)
Posts: 249
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I lucked out & got cottage #8 for the first 3 nights...then she says we have to move to one of the 1-6 cottages for the last night. Unless whoever booked #8 the last night doesn't show up!! Sounds OK to me....we ARE still in the Carribean!

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 4:25 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Topic starter
 

You can't get much closer to the beach than you will be in any of those cottages - and what a stunning beach it is. You will LOVE it! (Day 6 will recap our adventures there)

As far as advice goes - keep a sense of humor about you, especially if something doesn't go according to plans. And remember to be especially courteous (good morning, good afternoon, etc.), as the locals tend stick more to formalities than we're used to. It is truly amazing the way people will respond and go out of their way to help if you treat them well.

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 4:55 pm
(@east-ender)
Posts: 2023
Noble Member
 

There are a number of creatures that create bioluminescence. This is the phenomenon one sees on a dark night when water is disturbed- on a dinghy ride through a bay or even on a ferry between islands. You can also see it when pumping a marine head in the dark. Ctenophores (comb jellies) like sea walnuts are frequently the cause. It tends to be more apparent in the summer, probably because the creatures are in abundance.

The glow worm phenomenon is based on a lunar cycle and is spawning behavior of several polychaetes- segmented worms. Once you see it, you will be in awe. And yes, it is kind of like the Green Flash- no one believes you until they experience it. While the peak of the phenomenon in my home bay is one hour after the sunset on the night after the full moon, you can see it for several days before and after, year around, although somehow the August "show" always seems most glorious.

Okay, do you want to discuss the August coral spawn??

Yes, I did sleep in a Holiday Inn last night! 🙂

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 5:39 pm
(@california-girl)
Posts: 117
Estimable Member
 

Can you go in the water when it's luminescent? We have "red tides" which also glow (I think), but you're not supposed to go in the water then. Is this the same thing?

 
Posted : August 4, 2006 6:10 pm
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