I just wanted to post updated directions to the bat cave. My husband and two friends who are semi-new and brand new to the island attempted to go on the hike yesterday, but as fate would have it, things didn’t go so well, hence my new category “shit happens.”
First, the driving instructions to the bat cave hike:
- Turn left at the main RUSVM gate and head towards Challengers
- Drive straight on Island Main Rd. for 5 minutes until you reach the Bloody River, which is located at a curve in the road
- At the Bloody River**, turn right (before the Bloody River there is a road to the right side)
- If you have reached Middle Island you’ve gone too far!
- Follow the road that runs parallel to the Bloody River which turns to the right and then to the left
- Park on the left hand side of the road once you reach the dead end of the road and make sure all your doors are locked!
** There will be a historical site sign marking the Bloody River
Second, you should contact RUSVM about hiking tour guides. You can ask Student Services. There are a few locals who work on campus and will insure that you are on the right trail, if the creek is overflowed, they will know how to continue with the path being covered in water, and will be there for safety if anything would happen. Also, you should make sure you are going with at least a small group of about 5 people.
Yesterday 4 of us attempted to go to the hiking trail with horrible driving directions, which mentioned nothing about the bloody river, and something about turn at the basketball court and a green fence, which were completely incorrect direction. We were driving around for about 20 minutes before we finally found the place!
After we parked the car and found the correct trail, as we were about to enter the trail, a man came out of the trees asking if we needed a tour guide for the hike, claiming that people had just started a tour just before we arrived. Noticing that there were no other cars, and the guy who approached us from the trees didn’t seem trustworthy, we told him no, but he badgered us for money for a little while.
After he finally walked away from us, we walked down to the creek, which was only about 5 feet from where the man came out of the trees, to see if it would be safe to continue what we had gone out there for. We stood at the creek discussing what we should do noting the untrustworthy man behind the trees and the overflowed creek. Both men on the trip were very uncomfortable about what had just happened, and we were skeptical that the man who had approached us form the trees would likely be going to get his friends and coming back for us. It seems a bit dramatic, but in a country you are unfamiliar with, you never know what can happen! (And note, even if you’re a 7th semester, this country is still unfamiliar to you. You did not grow up here, and most people will not have your back if they are looking for trouble.) We decided to call RUSVM security and tell them what happened, in the hopes that they would come sit at the top of the hill while we went on our short hike, but they said “okay” to the fact that we were trying to go on a hike and we were concerned for our lives; nothing became of it. We decided to go back to the car and leave.
As we walked back to the car, I noticed shiny coins on the ground outside of my driving side door. Upon reaching the passenger side door, I noticed that the door was cracked open, but still locked, so I couldn’t get in. Once I got inside the car, I noticed that my glove box was opened and vehicle paperwork was moved, my husband noticed that all our coin was taken from the ash tray where we house all our change, and upon searching the car for other things that may have been off or stolen, I found that our snorkeling backpack had been stolen from the back of my SUV. Of course it would be my gills that he would steal, which are my outlet from stress on the island.
At this time, RUSVM security officers were calling to see if everything was okay. We told them what we had found, and they were sending the RUSVM security team and the Saint Kitts police. My husband and friend suggested to check and make sure the guy didn’t steal our battery under the hood because we also couldn’t get our car to start. The battery was there, but he somehow was able to jam our shift into the lowest gear, which wouldn’t allow us to start the car. We, then, called security back because we were very uncomfortable sitting in the middle of a cane field waiting for security and the police to show up. (For the record, we waited on the hill for security for about 25 minutes after the second phone call was made, and then another 30-45 minutes for the police to show up to take a statement.)
We were told by RUSVM security that students are always told to go on the hikes around the island with a tour guide, because it can be much less safe when you’re alone without a local, especially when in small groups. After using up all my minutes on the phone with security, RUSVM wouldn’t reimburse me for using $25 worth of minutes and told me “in future emergency situations, call security and tell them to call you back, then we will pay for the call, not you. Sorry.” After leaving what was supposed to be a fun hiking trail, we realized that all the time we had spent waiting for security and the police to arrive, after having them take our statement, that they were not going to look, nor did the cop even seem to care. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won’t be getting our snorkel gear back, and this man will likely attempt this shit on other students in the future.
I made a post to the Ross University Student’s Facebook page, and you’d be surprised by the number of people who tried to write off what happened to us. “We went to the bat cave hike and the same thing happened to us, but we told him off and did the hike anyway and we were fine. Just go before 11am when he shows up” – we arrived at the bat cave at 9:45am, and this still happened to us. They also had this happen to them before and didn’t find it necessary to share with others. “I will never pay someone to be my tour guide on a hike that I’ve been on a hundred times before. Thanks Ross Security” – I wish someone would have suggested to me to find a tour guide, which could have prevented my vehicle from being ransacked, having my outlet from stress on the island stolen from the back seat of my vehicle, and the fact that I could’ve not wasted half my day because an arrogant man disrespected my property with no regard for anyone other than himself.
ALWAYS have your guard up! If something feels wrong or uncomfortable, it probably is. Just leave! I felt uncomfortable the moment the man popped out from the trees and I wanted to leave immediately, but I was thinking about my friends and all the time it took us to find the place, I didn’t want to make them leave. Had I trusted my instinct, none of this would’ve happened that day.