St. Thomas was our second island stop - and when we docked it was raining......hard. We actually had an excursion planned, so I personally was pretty bummed about it. We were supposed to meet our tour guides at 845am, but the cruise line changed our time (without notifying us......p.s. I am calling to complain) to 12:30 instead so we actually had to just kill some time around the port.,
We headed to meet our excursion anyway - we were snorkeling so we decided if we got rained on it wasn't a big deal - we were getting in the water anyway!
Our excursion was called "Captain Nautica" snorkel tours. We were on a little boat with two guides (Amber & Molly) who were absolutely amazing. Completely blew away any other snorkel tour we've ever done.
We zipped out of the harbor and to our first snorkel spot called "Turtle Cove" - leaving the rain behind us!
Turtle cove is true to its name - we saw sea turtles almost immediately! They actually anchored the boat right over the top of where they were hanging out and eating.
Most of Turtle Cove was pretty quiet in terms of fish life, but it was pretty cool to see turtles. We pretty much just swam around and attempted to get used to the GoPro.
Prepare yourselves.....here come tons of photos. SNORKELING IS AMAZING.
I can't even decide which photos to post - maybe I'm just in a bit of a GoPro-snorkeling-photo-obsession phase, but seriously....how awesome are these?!
The second dive site we went to was in a cove around the other side of the island from Turtle Cove, and there was a "shipwreck". Apparently back in the '70's the coast guard attempted to catch some people smuggling drugs - but the smugglers decided to burn/sink their barge rather than be caught.....so we got to dive around the site of the wreck. It was actually really cool.
On our way over to the second dive spot Amber and Molly fed us all some delicious snacks: pineapple, cantaloupe, and shrimp cocktail. They said if we wanted we could keep the fruit rinds and feed them to the fish at the next spot.
Dave put the rinds in his shorts pocket and then jumped into the water - and proceeded to be chased by and entire school of fish! They were crazy! He didn't even dare reach into his pocket and get rid of the fruit because they were so crazy about following him.
(It was hilarious to watch!) I'm pretty sure he's scarred for life, though. Never again will he swim with food of any kind.
This wreck is now part of a project attempting to encourage new reef growth in the area, and it's just now starting to actually take hold and grow.
And now for my very favorite photos from the entire snorkel trip!
We definitely had an amazing time in St. Thomas. Our excursion time getting changed threw our plans off, but overall it was so much fun!
If you go to St. Thomas, do yourself a favor and book a snorkel trip with Captain Nautica, and request Molly and Amber - you will have a fantastic time.
Until next time -
Why take a cruise to the Caribbean? The islands, of course! We stopped at four during our trip - first of which was Puerto Rico. Honestly, I wasn't excited about it.....I really didn't know what to expect from the island, and they said not to go for the beaches since it was extremely windy - so we just headed into town.
Most of the shops were closed when we first headed into town so that option wasn't available, but we saw a fort from the pier - so we made a beeline for it!
It was SO HOT. Seriously. Like 100
The fort was pretty cool, minus being so freaking hot out.......so inside was basically a sweatbox. We wandered around a little bit, but as soon as we saw a doorway we headed right down to the water.
There was an amazing breeze by the water, so we hung out there for quite awhile
Exploring the fort was really cool - not really a place we'd go back to again, though, I think we saw most of it on the first visit. The heat got to us pretty quickly, so we headed straight into town to try and find the place piña coladas were invented.
The old part of San Juan was actually pretty interesting - pretty in places - ugly in places. We had a pretty decent walk from the fort down into the city so by the time we actually made it we didn't hang around in the streets very much.
The birthplace of the piña colada was a great little place called Barrachina, and it was the perfect escape for the crazy heat.
After our fantastic lunch at Barrachina we headed straight over to a delicious chocolate restaurant and got dessert (not that we needed it). Casa Cortes was so good.....we just wished we hadn't already filled ourselves up on chicken wraps and piña coladas.
Delicious. Seriously. If you ever travel to San Juan I would absolutely recommend going to Casa Cortes & Barrachina, it's worth the walk and the prices are actually very reasonable.
We were in San Juan from 8am until 4:30pm, so we had to make sure and be "all-aboard" the ship by 4pm at the VERY latest (trust me, some people pushed it). Sailing out of the harbor was even prettier than sailing in, but unfortunately these photos will never do it justice.
A couple of blogs ago I told you all about the cruise I was getting ready for - well, I just got back! It was AMAZINGGGGGG....not that it's really possible for a 10 day Caribbean vacation not to be.....
We sailed out of Manhattan Pier, NYC, which was an experience in itself. Driving down into Manhattan was actually pretty simple - as was the check in process at the terminal....once we made it in. Getting turned around and across four lanes of New York City traffic at 11 in the morning after we missed our turn initially, however, not easy.
We were booked in a mini-suite, which is (as the name says) miniature. It was bigger than the room we (the twins) had on our last cruise however, so we actually had room to unpack and put our clothes in the closet or drawers! As boring as it sounds this was actually really exciting to us - we brought tons of dresses! (Well.....the girls and I did..)
Sailing out of the city past Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty was really pretty awesome. I'd seen the Statue of Liberty before, but not from the water, definitely a different experience.
We spent over half of our cruise at sea - but unfortunately our photos are sub-par so I don't have too many of them. We only brought our cellphones (which we couldn't use, of course, so they were there solely for cameras and alarms) and our GoPro for water shots, so the indoor photos didn't come out very well.
For some reason Dave was blurry in EVERY photo.....we took about 100 and none came out
The days were gorgeous, nights absolutely stunning. If you've never cruised before, it's an amazing experience, if just for the views across the open ocean.
Norwegian Cruise Lines does a fabulous job of putting together an entertainment schedule for "At Sea" days, and we took full advantage of it. We ate SO MUCH FOOD, and went to as many of the shows & game shows as we possibly could. Since they do what they call "Freestyle Cruising", we didn't have a set dinner time, but instead got to choose what time we went to dinner, and also where and whether we wanted to dress up! (We did, almost every night. Best excuse ever to get fancy!)
Don't judge our photo quality here please....we're still learning! :)
The crew on the boat was absolutely amazing. We made 'friends' with several specific crew members, who always went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and to make sure we were having a great time. One of our favorites was our room steward, Mario. He was a genie (seriously, we never saw him go in our room but it was always perfect, beds made, turndown service, etc) plus he made us super cute towel animals!
The only thing we didn't like about the cruise was the fact that the people (the other passengers, not the crew) were some of the rudest, and most unfriendly people I've ever experienced. Please excuse my unfiltered honesty here, but we were horrified (for lack of a better description). I have no idea why they were so awful, but now I understand why people from other countries say Americans are rude - the majority of the passengers had ZERO manners, and didn't care a single bit about anyone else in their vicinity. Disgusting. Because we were so turned off by the people we spent a good portion of our time at sea on our (amazing) balcony.
After cruising in a room with a balcony I don't think I could ever do anything else. It's perfect. You can get away from the rest of the passengers and escape to your own little paradise to watch the gorgeous ocean views.
^ they were REALLY excited to get into port - the was the day we cruised into St. Maarten.
Fall in Maine doesn't last very long...and since this is our last one living in the state we're really trying to enjoy it!
We were supposed to hike Katahdin, but unfortunately (due to my extreme over-scheduling problem) we never had a chance. Hopefully next year we'll be able to make a trip back to Maine to do Katahdin, but either way I promised Megan that we'd do SOMETHING for a hike this weekend instead.
Dave happened to have an inspection out in Jonesport on Saturday, so we drove right past Tunk Mountain, where a friend of mine had actually told me to hike earlier in the year. Perfect reminder!
The drive out to the trailhead itself was gorgeous, reason #1 to come back and hike Tunk!
I love to hike...but I hate hiking while sick. So unfortunately they all had to hike VERY SLOWLY and wait for me as I huffed and puffed and tried to keep up. Thankfully the weather was absolutely perfect, so I wasn't overheating!
was NOT okay with us walking past his tree! He started cheeping and screeching at us so much that we were a little afraid he was going to jump down on us!
Halfway up this section of the trail we took a little break (I was dying again) and had a minor mishap.....Dave pushed (with his foot while resting it during our break) a very large granite block onto my toe.....so at this point I was ready to be done hiking.
Dave found the trail. We were not at the top. We actually weren't even close. (as much as this sounds like I was hating life I actually really enjoyed this hike.....I just felt whiny) :)
Even halfway the view was amazing...the leaves are JUST starting to turn, so we had tons of great color, and the sky was absolutely gorgeous.
Best part of the whole hike - the fissure.
Megan thought we were looking for a Fisher. The fuzzy creature. Click the link, I know you want to.
Elysia thought we were looking for a fisher......man. I don't think I need an example for this one.
Here's what it actually was:
A giant crack in the rock. A FISSURE. Ha.
Tunk Mountain is a fantastic hike - if you're thinking about trying it I'd suggest going in about a week and a half (approximately October 14th, 2015) for peak leaf viewing. BTW that date is a total guess so if you go and the leaves aren't perfectly changed don't blame me. :)
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.