This post raps up my cruise in our 3rd of 4 ports--Cozumel. Our 4th port was the Bahamas. And it was great and all but pretty much we just laid on a beach. There wasn't much to take photos of except our cruise ship.
Cozumel was fun and full of culture. We did my favorite of our 3 excursions--swimming with dolphins!
Dolphins are such amazing creatures. It was awesome to get to interact with them up close and personal. Our group of 10 was led by one trainer and we swam with two dolphins. We were on a platform waist deep in the pool and I could reach out and touch the dolphins, they were that close. We took turns swimming out and doing various hand signals to ask the dolphins to do various activities. I got a kiss, hand shake and did a belly swim. Here's a photo of the hand shake:
SO cute huh? The belly ride was awesome. I held onto the dolphin's fins while she swam upside-down with me on her belly. They are so fast and powerful. After everyone had their turn we spread out in the water and the dolphins swam in between us while we got to touch them. Really cool.
After all that excitement we were ready for lunch and by this time in our cruise, I was definitely ready for some good Mexican food! So yummy.
Then we walked around the streets and marketplaces in Cozumel taking photos. Here's some of the shots I liked:
I know, Jessica Claire does the lock thing but I couldn't help it--I loved the color and all the rusty stuff:
I saw this guy on the street holding a cool orange iguana and before I could take a photo of him with it, he put it on Amy's shoulders and asked me for money for taking the photo. It was worth it for this:
I loved that the horses pulling carriages were wearing sombreros:
On the way back to the cruise ship after a fun-filled day:
As we pulled out of the port, this was the amazing view from our balcony:
Grand Cayman was the 2nd port on our West Caribbean cruise and Amy and I decided to see it by bike--don't we look cute in our helmets? Grand Cayman is a British colony and is relatively flat with no rivers. Therefore it has no fresh water--an interesting fact I learned. But it did have gorgeous beaches and we really enjoyed riding around and seeing how people lived. It kinda reminded me of Florida.
Anyhow, I didn't take as many photos as I did on Jamaica but here are a few. Here's Amy excited to get going:
The bikes for our tour all lined up. Of course I chose a red one :).
Along our route we stopped at a few points of interest, the first of which was a turtle farm. Because sea turtles are endangered and hunted for their shells, this farm was started to breed them, let some go back into the wild, keep some for education, and unfortunately consume some. They were so cute.
Their markings are such works of art:
We even got to hold one of the little guys:
Next we hopped back on our bikes and went to hell. I did not know previously that hell was located on Grand Cayman, but I guess it is:
The story is that these rock formations were spotted by an early explorer and he exclaimed that the spot looked like what he imagined hell would, and the name stuck.
Here's our faithful guide:
And what I can only assume is the gates of hell:
Along the way we also stopped at a yummy bakery and sampled some rum cake that the island is famous for.
Finally we ended up on the 7 mile beach where we swam in this gorgeous water:
And that's the closest photo of me in a bathing suit that you're going to see :).
Jamaica was our first stop on the fabulous cruise I just got back from. I've heard mixed reviews on Jamaica but I had a great experience for the short time I was there. This was the view from our balcony as we came into port:
Amy and I decided to do a river tubing excursion. We jumped in a taxi van and took a long, kinda crazy drive to the White River. Here's a shot of us driving on the wrong side of the road:
As we drove up the mountain the roads got much more narrow and we were passing other vehicles with only inches to spare. This guy made us back up to find an area wide enough to pass in:
The river was absolutely gorgeous. This was the starting point:
Of course, we couldn't take our cameras on the river which was a bummer since it was breath-taking but the tour provided these snapshots for a price. Here's a couple I liked of Amy:
None of the ones of me turned out nearly as good. This is the best they got:
And no, I didn't tip over, thank goodness! It was a bit chilly :).
After we got out of the river I had some time to wander around and take some scenic shots.
Love the colors of this one:
Next we had lunch at the:
The menu included cow head but I went with a chicken sandwich that turned out to be kinda gross.
I also got a great fruit smoothie from this nice lady:
And Amy got the "Deluxe pizza":
A random cool tree:
Next we had our taxi driver take us to Dunn's River Falls, a 600 foot waterfall that many cruise-goers decided to hike as their excursion. We just looked at it and took photos of other people hiking it:
Our taxi driver went by the name "Hi Ho Silver" and was full-service. Not only did he take us to the falls but he gave us a tour and took our photo.
More shots of the falls:
Here's Silver--definitely the best taxi driver I've ever had--very entertaining:
Finally, after leaving the falls, Silver took us to a great look-out point for some photos:
And then dropped us off for some shopping. I got these final few shots on our way back to the ship:
The only thing that's rough about cruising, in my opinion, is that you don't have enough time in any one place. I wish I had a little more time to soak in the culture in Jamaica, but for the one day we spent there, it was amazing.
Jamie Hammond, my wonderful assistant of 2 1/2 years, is relocating to northern California. Her husband got a great job up there and I'm excited for her but very depressed for me. I just got the final word today (I was previously in denial about the possibility) and they're out of here next week. So everything is happening pretty fast and I don't have nearly the time I need to adjust to the idea.
I found Jamie through a community college photography class in Sept. of 2005 when she knew next to nothing about photography but was eager to learn. I interviewed her over lunch and just felt like things would work. The qualities I look for in an employee that are far more valuable to me than experience or talent are great character, a teachable spirit, and loyalty. If these qualities are there, the rest can be taught. Since then, Jamie has 2nd shot the majority of my weddings with me and does the bulk of my color correction and editing work. She has a great sarcastic humor, an adorable family (with #3 on the way!), has grown to be an amazing photographer, and has been a joy to be around. I consider her a friend and she will be greatly missed!
I just got back yesterday from the best vacation EVER--a 7 day cruise around the West Caribbean. It was A-MAZ-Ing! I had previously never been on a cruise before but had heard good things so I decided to put it on my 101 in 1001 list last February. And it definitely exceeded my expectations. I was a little worried I'd be sea sick the whole time but I didn't have any problems. The ship was HUGE and you could feel the movement but it wasn't enough to make me nauseous. So that was good.
I went with my friend Amy, who was one of my roommates in college. She lives in CA but we've kept in touch and she visits me about once a year. We were talking and decided we should vacation together since both of us have a ton of married friends (we love you all!) but are about each other's only single friends left. Amy is super-sweet and giggles constantly and was the perfect travel companion--letting me win ever game of cards we played :). Here she is waving goodbye as we "thrusted off," as the Italian Captain said, from the FL coast:
The whole cruise world really blows my mind. We had 2600 passengers and like 1100 crew on our ship. And it was quite the well-oiled machine. I felt so pampered and spoiled the whole time--the service and food were amazing. And I loved the diverse crew from all over the world. Everyone you talked to had a fun accent.
Our cruise ported in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and the Bahamas. I'm going to post more later from each of these stops, but for now I'll share some fun shots of the ship. Here it is docked at Jamaica. You can see the tiny people boarding at the bottom:
Here's a tiny boat guiding us into shore:
We splurged and stayed in a mini-suite with a balcony. Here's our bedroom:
The living room area:
The balcony which I spent a lot of time on--it was so cool to wake up to a view like this everyday--watching the water pass by:
And I knew you would all be curious--here's a shot of the bathroom:
Our entire time on the ship was spent in the jacuzzi, laying out on the deck, eating, sleeping, eating some more, reading, napping, exploring the ship, watching shows and just relaxing. I read two books and had a couple spa appointments as well. We even made it to the gym a couple times. Now that I'm home I'm wondering where the menu for the day is and when someone is going to take my order :). I was so spoiled!
I'm ready for my world cruise--anyone want to join me?
That's it for now but in the days to come I'll be sharing more about our fun port days and the excursions we took--stay tuned!