Thursday, August 27, 2009

Swimming With Dolphins!

The continuing saga of my vacation...

Get comfortable, because I took so many pictures of this day, I used up my entire memory card--that's a lot!

This was hands-down the most fun day of our trip. We set out out super early in the morning to take a ferry to Tortola which is one of the Britsh Virgin Islands so we had to bring our passports and stuff.

The ferry ride was a complete freak show--it was like one of those crazy amusement park water rides with all the bouncing and splashing--but it went on for like an hour! I was holding onto Pickle and Gooser for dear life, because one big wave could have sent them right over the side. It was...exciting?

Here's Teddy and Patrick at the beginning of the ride--by the time it was over we were all soaking wet!

I also want to mention that I had ONE prescription-strength motion sickness pill left over from years ago when my friend got married on a boat. If I hadn't taken that pill I never would have survived this ferry ride--or the rest of the day.

We arrived in Tortola and after the whole passport/customs thing walked outside to meet our trusty guide for the day: Captain Friendly.

Captain Friendly lived up to his name--he is one of the friendiest and nicest guys ever! Here's Don with The Captain:

He drove us over to the dophin swimming place on his kooky bus, telling lots of cool stories about the island along the way.

We got the the "Dolphin Adventure" and got suited up in our life jackets. Don, Pickle and Gooser don't know how to swim, so Don was the photographer and Gooser and Pickle got to sit nearby while we played with the dolphins.

First, though, we listened to a dolphin lecture so we knew what to expect. Do you know where dolphin's ears are located? I do!
Then it was dolphin time! And it was SO fun. Here's Teddy getting a ride from our dolphin friends:

Patrick doing something called a "foot push" where the dolphins swim up underneath and lift you up!
Here I am kissing a dolphin:
I can't even believe I'm showing pics of myself in a bathing suit--but while I'm at it, here I am getting a dolphin ride:

Teddy dancing with a dolphin:
This dolphin looks really into his dance with Andy!

Here we are dancing and prancing with the dolphins:
Wow--that was a great experience and now I can cross one thing off my "bucket list." I think the kids will always remember those dolphins.

Here are the kids post-dolphin swim:

And Gooser and Pickle with their stuffed dolpins from the gift shop:

When we were done, Captain Friendly was waiting for us on his bus with an icy cold bottle of Coke and fresh mangoes from his tree.

Here he is cutting up a mango (Pickle devoured them):

They were, by the way, the BEST mangoes I have ever had in my life. Here's Gooser and Patrick with their Captain Friendly treats:

Captain Friendly gave us an amazing tour of the island (again THANK GOD I took the motion sickness pill--I never would have made it!) driving up up the twisty roads of the mountains for some beautiful (though dizzying!) views):
We learned a lot of interesting new things--for instance, these are called breadfruits:
Captain Friendly said they taste like bread when they're baked and like potatoes when they're boiled (you can't eat them raw though.) I would love to try one someday!

We saw so many animals as we drove around:

Lots and lots of goats:
And tons of chickens:
We stopped in the little town to look around for awhile. The streets were adorable--narrow and colorful:

I wouldn't want this job--would you?!
Then it was time for lunch. Captain Friendly drove us to this beautiful spot on the beach and we had some delicious food. This was my lunch--barbequed chicken, fried plantains and red beans and rice (also a pina colada--not pictured!).

Gooser moping--something about his stuffed dolphin...
There were also a lot of animals there which the kids were really into.
Me feeding a dog a tidbit:
There were cats too:Then we hit the beautiful white sand beach!
Pickle romping in the waves:
Gooser playing in the water:
And in the sand:
For the last leg of our tour, Captain Friendly drove us to this crazy place called the Bomba Shack.
This place is infamous for their "Full Moon Parties." Apparently, every full moon they spike their tea with hallucinogenic mushrooms. It's not legal to sell the tea, so they give it away, but charge you for the glass. They must be pretty wild parties because the place was littered with discarded bikini tops and bottoms!
Would you drink the mushroom tea? I would be too chicken!

Anyway, we took the ferry back and just ordered a pizza that night--we were way too tired to go out for dinner. It was a GREAT day that we will always remember.

We miss you Captain Friendly!!
Please join the phabulous Candid Carrie phor some Phriday phun!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Swimming and Shopping

Thank you so much for all the positive words welcoming me back after my "hiatus!" I'm trying to get back into a new routine with overseeing the new house and packing up the old house, but the kids haven't started back to school yet, so it makes for interesting (and long!) days.

So--onto the trip recap! On this this day we headed into the town called Charlotte Amalie which is pretty tortisty because it's a port for giant cruise ships, but we wanted to check it out anyway.

The roads there were so twisty and mountainous that I almost immediately felt sick in the taxi cab and had to ask the driver to pull over--embarrassing!! Luckily, he took pity on me and drove really carefully for the rest of the trip.

Here is the view from atop one of the nausea-inducing peaks--you can see a HUGE ship out there:

Another view from way up of something called the 99 Stairs--but really there are 103 stairs--go figure!

We did some shopping in a fun outdoor market but I'm not showing any pics because I'm in all of them and look gross. The kids all bought t-shirts and fun shell necklaces and I got Pickle a cute tie-dyed dress.

We stopped for lunch at a great place called Cuzzins with lots of delicious food like fried plantains, curried conch and something called fungi which is mashed-up okra and corn meal. Also--I had a mango margarita!

Some of the streets were really narrow.
Here's the gang posing bu the water--you can see that cruise ship again.
Once we got back we were all exhausted and rested in the room for awhile, by by late afternoon we were all ready for a swim. It was a really nice hour to go swimming because the days were SO almost unbearably hot. It also made for some nice light for pictures.

Here's Pickle in the baby pool:
Practicing her floating:
A cute pic of Pickle and Gooser in the pool:


And Andy:

I also managed to get a semi-decent group shot:

That evening we decided to stay at the hotel for dinner and had a fantastic meal right on the ocean. I don't know if you can see the water in the pic because it was getting pretty dark--Pickle actually fell asleep during the meal.
Towards the end of dinner some crazy-strong winds started blowing in and wolfed down the rest of the food and ran for cover--but it was all sort of exciting and fun!

More tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Very Belated Update!

I'm sorry I fell off the face of the Earth. The last time I posted was when we were on vacation and I got too overwhelmed with downloading and resizing pics and stuff so I bailed on the vacation updates.

Then, right after we returned home we finally FINALLY closed on our new house! Those of you that have been reading for awhile know what a crazy and looooong transaction this house purchase has been--so it's nothing short of a miracle that we finally got it done.

Like the whole deal from the beginning--the closing had its share of craziness. I'm totally wishing that we had a reality show deal to document all of it because we would have had some high ratings with the drama!

I'm going to have to catch up and write about it in installments, but first I'm going to finish the vacation updates--so starting tomorrow I'll pick up where I left off in St. Thomas.

Meanwhile, my life has been a whirlwind of getting the new house ready and packing up the old house. I hate how behind I am on my blog--but I'm determined to catch up!!