Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cruisin': St. Maarten Part TWO

Like St. Thomas, our afternoon on St. Maarten was spent at the beach.  This beach was located right where we ported, so taking a water taxi got us there in no time.  This beach was a stark contrast to our experience in St. Thomas.  The water was still beautiful in color but was more murky.  And there wasn't a fish in sight.  Shane still snorkeled a bit and I swam a little (loved the warmth of the water) but we mostly just relaxed on the beach.  


 This picture below makes me smile.  Real life folks!

 We loved our time on both islands.  Yep.  I would go back to either.
Meanwhile, back at the ship.....
Stay tuned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cruisin: St. Maarten, Part ONE

 Our next stop was to St. Maarten.  This is what we saw when we first got in to port.  It was a little overcast but still beautiful.  This island is the smallest to be shared by two countries.  Half of it is Dutch and the other half is French.  We got off the ship bright and early and headed to a place called Loterie Farms to zip-line.  This was something I'd never done before and was super excited about it.  And I think we had the perfect place.  It. Was. Awesome!  One of my favorites from the whole trip.  It was exhilarating and exciting physically, but it was the location and ambiance that made it so great.
This was on our way.
The grounds were just beautiful!  It was like a mini-spa--plus zip lining---plus cafe.  I just loved it.
 The gang (minus Jeremy/photographer) waiting to go!  We took a taxi on our own rather than taking the excursion through the cruise line.  I think it was the right way to do it.  We beat the giant group up there and basically got to go through it all as our own little group.

 Banana Tree!!!!!!! we are up in the trees!!!  Shane lead the way.  It wasn't just zip-line but more like a zip-line + ropes course.  We went from tree to tree to tree through different obstacles. (P.S. we weren't supposed to have cameras with us.  They had a place to leave them until the end.  I snuck mine in my pocket and lived a little on the edge to catch some pictures.  Such a rule breaker.  I'm so glad we got these!)
 I can't get over our surroundings.  So, so cool!

 Yes it was beautiful.  But it was also CRAZY hot, humid, and sticky.  We were dripping by the end....and maybe also at the beginning!
  Right before we took this picture, a mango fell down from one of the trees.  Sweet local gal let us take the goodness. 
I really, really enjoyed this activity.  A lot.  Highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

St. Thomas: Part TWO

After spending our morning shopping, we decided we needed to have some quality one-on-one time with the ocean.  We hopped back on our taxi and headed on our way to Sapphire Beach, while Tom, Annette, Phil, and Brooke made their way to St. John.  Sapphire was on the other end of the island.  The whole island is about 13 miles wide.  It took us a good 20-25 minutes.  And holy crazy roads!  Super narrow and seriously like a roller coaster...up and down and up and down...and steep!!!  We all just kept exchanging questionable looks and laughed the whole way.  I'm so glad we were able to drive across the whole island and get a feel for it all.  I know I've already said it too many times but it was just incredibly gorgeous.  I loved the drive to the beach.  We chose Sapphire for its snorkeling.  The reef came all the way up to the shore.  And the water was just crystal clear.  Amazingly clear.  And blue.  And warm.  And beautiful.  I want to go back.  Now.  If you know me, you know I'm not exactly what you would call..."one with the ocean."  We don't always see eye to eye.  The idea of invading a whole other world that is not really my own, not to mention the possible lack of oxygen, is just enough to bring on the panic!  Oh...and the last time I embraced the ocean and spent time with the "puppy dogs of the sea" still giving me anxiety.  Traumatic.  Enough said.  Now is the time that you should feel super impressed with the fact that I, Amy Jo, actually snorkeled.  I even reached out and held my husband's hand while doing it.  How romantical.  It was.  We so looked awesome.  Even though I was literally saying in my out...and in...and out.  Before we got all romantic, Shane sat with me in the shallow shore while I just practiced breathing.  Could snorkel masks feel more awkward?!  Then I ventured to bend over and put my face in the water.  Thinking about it makes me laugh.  But I did it.  And it was worth it.  It was literally like "Finding Nemo" down there!!!!  Like I watched the movie...LIVE.  Except for the sharks.  And creepy little Darla.  But Dori was definitely there.  It really was great.  I'm so glad I did it.  And with Shane holding my hand, it really couldn't have been any better.  Now, for some pictures.    


Right above the shore was a sand volleyball area.  We partook.

These guys played with us...
 Like I said earlier, A&T and P&B headed to St. John, a small island just off of St. Thomas, for the afternoon.  This post would just not be complete without sharing these pictures.  They look fake...straight out of a magazine.  They give a better idea at beauty we were surrounded by.  Just incredible!  Wish we would have had time to do it all.  That's why I'm going back. :)

After we got back to the ship, we made one last shop stop.  And met him.  Not quite like Captain Jack Sparrow.

I really liked our taxi driver on St. Thomas...who stayed with us all day.  He was a man probably in his 60s and gave us a good taste of life on the island.  We talked family, religion, and politics.  It was crazy to talk politics with him.  I had to be reminded of the fact that they were also a part of the U.S. and were being affected by the same politics as in the States.  It definitely provided a different perspective.  He ended up driving us past the LDS Chapel there in St. Thomas.  He was a good and kind man.  Interacting with him and other locals enriched my time in St. Thomas.  Good, GOOD day.