The day we left Tortola was a "bumper" cruise day with pre-Christmas cruises offloading almost 6,000 cruise passengers on the island at different points during the day.
On Sandra's advice we went to the airport at 10:00 a.m. even though our flight wasn't until 14:00 ish to check in our bags. Unfortunately the computers were down and that meant everyone had to be checked in manually and this appeared to take about 15 mins per passenger! Planes had been cancelled as the night before had seen very strong winds and torrential rain caused by the outer edge of tropical storm Olga. This had descended onto Puerto Rico, and meant that to complicate matters further, planes weren't taking off or landing.
After Ron had gone through to customs to identify and open his bag for them (oops, left the batteries in the torch!) and come back into "departures" we decided to walk the few mins from the airport to Trellis Garden Bay (again a recommendation from Sandra), where we sat and enjoyed Mahi Mahi and Flying Fish sandwiches and cool drinks, until it was time to wander back.
There are no departure boards, you have to listen out for announcements so we went on through to the departure gate (the other side of sliding door!) and there discovered that our flight was delayed for an unknown amount of time... we were glad we had eaten some lunch.
Eventually, our plane took off after waiting for a few people to run across the tarmac and take up the last few seats on the plane - the flight after ours had been cancelled and they decided who to take on our flight on the flip of a coin! A bit of a bumpy flight through the edge of the storm, we arrived in Puerto Rico at the time our flight was leaving for Miami!
Worse news was to follow when after walking for absolutely miles (no quick dash for your flight here) we finally made it to US immigration and the baggage hall, where we realised that one of our bags was had been broken into (Ron's) and one was missing (Heidi's AGAIN) and that no-one in PR was remotely interested. We had been booked onto a late flight to Miami, and on arrival had to queue to report the broken bag and the missing bag to American Airlines, who were again fairly uninterested.
All this meant that we didn't arrive at our hotel in Miami until gone 11:00 p.m. where we had a pizza delivered close to midnight instead of enjoying the Cuban meal we had planned to. Thank goodness for Hampton Inn's and their excellent desk staff that can come up with a take away menu (that delivers) even in the middle of the night!
Lesson learned: When travelling to the BVI pack your clothes etc. into a bag that you can take with you on the plane, even if that means checking it at the steps to the aircraft! Pack your liquids and gels into a small handbaggage sized bag and check THAT through, if you really can't live without a particular brand of shampoo, suntan lotion or whatever. Less chance that a small bag will be offloaded, although it may still get broken into of course. Carry on board your camera, ipod, phone and any other electrical equipment, and anything valuable.