February 25, 2012 @ 2:21am
Soooo it's been over a month since I last wrote. That thing about time going fast? Greatly underestimated. Also all this free time I though I was going to have at night? Overestimated. I've been keeping very busy at nights but still loving it.
In the past month I've had Mom and Dad onboard for a cruise, seen my birthday come and go, and gone on a few excursions. In short that past month has provided me with some of my best days onboard.
Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad came onboard on Feb 11th for our Key West, Cozumel, Isla de Roatan, and Montego Bay cruise. On the first day I went out and met them at the terminal just after they arrived. After being away from any semblance of home for such a long time it was almost surreal to have them walking around Fort Lauderdale and then on my ship and in the ports that have come to be my home for the past few months.
Our best days were in Cozumel and Isla de Roatan. In Cozumel we went on a reef snorkelling excursion then to a beach club that lasted most of the day. The scenery for the snorkelling was beautiful and we were in the water for a little over an hour as we swam along with the reef until the point it hit a drop off. The sea life wasn't overly spectacular but I think that's also in part because I've become spoiled with all the snorkelling I've done since coming down here. The highlights were a good sized sting ray and then a 2-3 foot long parrot fish.
The real hero of the cruise tho was Isla de Roatan. Firstly it was nice for me because since we've been tendering there for most of the season I've hardly been able to get ashore. But because I had my parents onboard I was able to take the tender off early with them instead of having to wait around until all the passengers had cleared. We hadn't booked a excursion and just planned on finding something fun to do locally. After talking to one of the tour operators we found out about a private island will full services that was 30mins away. We paired up with a couple from England and taxied out to "French Key". Once we arrived we had to take a short ferry over to the island where we were welcomed by the owner and brought on a tour of his private zoo.
The zoo included a few varieties of monkeys and all different kinds of parrots and birds. We actually got to go into one of the monkey cages and one of them ended up taking a real liking to dad before he climbed up me and took a seat on the back of my neck. This was the closet I've ever been to our banana eating relatives and I was blown away. His hands were so soft and he even had little fingernails just like us. When he walked over to me I put my hand down and he grabbed onto my pointer finger. I lifted his incredibly lightweight body up with ease and then he climbed up to his perch on the back of my neck. He was so light I hardly would have known he was there if it wasn't from his surprisingly strong body heat.
After this we simply spent the day laying out in the sun, snorkelling, and jumping into the crystal clear water off of their 2nd story bar. The most incredible thing in all this was that there was hardly a soul there. Here we had a paradise to ourselves for $25 a head while the rest of the 4 ships that were there that day all crammed into the tourist central that is West Bay. It was a killer find and I'm hoping to be able to get back when we return again on my last cruise before heading home.
Having mom and dad onboard was great but it was also nice to see them go. By spending so much time with them I lost a lot of sleep that cruise and as a result was pretty groggy for most of it and am still feeling the effects. That said it was great to see them and even better to get to share my experience with them.
In addition to the excision in Cozumel I did with my parents I've been on two excursions in the US Virgin Islands.
The first took me to Megan's Bay on the north side of St Thomas. Megan's Bay is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and it was easy to see why. Before heading down to the beach we stopped off at a look off above it and got to take it all in. I put a picture up on my Facebook already but I'll try to add one here as well because words just don't do it justice.
The water was warm and sandy all the way out. There wasn't much in the way of snorkelling however the water was loaded with thousands of small fish which brought in the birds. As people were swimming there were pelicans and other birds circling above before diving full speed into the water after the fish. It was a regular occurrence to have the birds some within a few feet of you. After a light lunch I spent the rest of the day laying on the beach reading until it was time to return to the ship.
The real star of the my time onboard however was the 2nd excursion I took in the USVI. We boarded a catamaran and headed for the island of St John. It's just a short distance from St Thomas and has a population of only 5,000 people. The trip over was beautiful as the sun was out in full force. The guides were great and oddly enough one of them even lived in Halifax for a few months; small world.
While we were getting our safety talk after we arrived at St John a sea turtle popped up right next to the boat. I was pretty pumped about this because a sea turtle is one of the things I really wanted to see but hadn't been fortunate enough to do so yet.
When the talk was over I hopped in and headed to the area where we had seen the turtle. I didn't see the turtle but what I did see was nothing to scoff at. I came across what's called a spotted eagle ray. This thing looks like a manta ray and moves through the water so gracefully. When I found it, it was moving along the bottom looking for food but after it realized I was there it moved up and swam off. It was so graceful the way it flew through the water. I've seen a lot animals in the wild but this one was one of the most beautiful.
After this I moved over to the area where the reef was which was loaded with fish urchins and coral as far as you could see. Some of the colours in the fish were so bright they seemed almost fake. I had seen a lot of these fish before but while swimming along I looked over to my left and saw a barracuda floating a bit below the surface just watching me. I took a picture and moved on. The last thing I wanted to do is upset anything that has teeth.
Time was almost up so I figured I'd go check the deep area again and see if the turtle had returned. When I got there the turtle was still nowhere to be found but I did come across a good sized sting ray and managed to get some great pictures. I was able to swing along side of it for a while too which was pretty cool.
Having resigned to the fact that I had missed out on the turtles I started to swim back to the ship. I was about 50' from the ship when I saw them. Sitting on the bottom about 25' down were 4 sea turtles. I swam down to see them and as I did on of them left the bottom and headed for the surface. I saw with it and as it went up for a breath so did I. I swam with it a little longer before having to return to the ship.
I got out of the water all smiles and knowing that I could safely return home feeling officially fulfilled with my time down south.
Birthday / Disembark
My birthday onboard was pretty lame. We weren't in port and I work nights so there wasn't much to do. I slept for most of the day then went out today in Nassau for beers and beach with Nombuso and the girls. I'll make up for the lake of celebration when I get home. ;)
Speaking of which I will be officially disembarking on March 17. It's been updated in the system and they've asked where I want my plane ticket to.
Getting home is going to be amazing. As I'm sure you're aware March 17th is St Patrick's day so I'll come home to a big party. After a few days rest Hey Rosetta! is playing on the 22nd and then on the 27th I leave for Cuba for a week with Squinty, Anthony and Dolan. Simply put, March is going to be an awesome month.
All I have left onboard are two short rock charters then we do Eastern and Western Caribbean one more time each. I'm going to try to get on as many excursions as possible and really just enjoy the time I have left here.
I can't believe I'll be home in 20 days…. Look out Halifax, here I come.