Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Cruise!!!!

I have been trying to document our cruise. I think I am about half way through. I need to post these and I will try to do the rest later. It didn't post the way I wanted it to, and I don't know how to fix it. To read from the beginning, scroll down.


After I missed out on the scavenger hunt, there was no way I was going to miss out on cricut bingo. WE all gathered in the Hudson Room just a few minutes before we pulled into Puerto Rico. My one goal on the trip was to see dolphins or whales. My friend had told me that on a recent trip, she saw dolphins close to Puerto Rico. Well, one of the guys in the Hudson Room looked out the window and said,"Hey, are those fins?" or something like that. I think I about knocked over tables trying to get to the windows. They were sailboats! Bingo was pretty fun, but I didn't win anything. We pulled into the bay while playing bingo. It was beautiful! There is a fort right on the edge of the bay. I wish we would have had our camera.
After bingo we ran up to the Lido deck (the buffet) and grabed some rolls and cheese to take with us and then hurried to meet at our excursion. We originally didn't sign up for an excursion, but decided that morning that we would pay the money and go on an ATV ride through the rain forest. Oh my goodness! I am so glad we did! There were quite a few from our group that were on the same excursion and it was super fun. First we took about an hour bus ride. I guess that I should have expected this, but it was very americanized. We saw a few Best Buys, Payless Shoes and even a Taco Maker.
We arrived at the little resort and got our helmets on and received instruction.

Brandon and I were a bit slow to snag our four-wheeler, so we ended up with a crappy one and in the back of the pack. But off we went into the rain forest.... about 300 yards later ours stalled. We finally got someone's attention and got it started back up. Brandon was so interested in the scenery that sometimes I don't think he was watching where he was driving.
We stopped at a river. One of the guides dove in. Two cricut people gave it a try a little later. They used rocks to make face paint and painted our faces.... well mine, Brandon was to chicken.
When we went to leave the river area, our ATV was done. The check engine light was on. It took one of the guides quite awhile to get it where it would run. Thank heavens it seemed to work ok after that. By the time we got back to the resort, there was another group ready to jump on the ATVs. I hope that our four wheeler was taken out of fleet. We hung out in a little restaurant and got a coke zero, aka heaven, we ended up getting some chips and salsa because we were starving. We thought that there was no time for a meal. I think, though, the restaurant waits until the group is back to feed the bus driver. We all sat and watched the bus drivers eat a full meal! On the way back, we talked to a guy who has been working in the cruise industry for 8 years. He told us about getting hit by a huricane with something like 50 foot waves. He said one second you would be laying down and the next you would be sittling up. He had alot of great stories, like people coming aboard the ship as passengers and leaving as cargo!
We wandered around Old San Juan for a little while and ate diner at a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant. It was ok, but the company was fun. There were five couples who worked for Provo Craft who had gone on the ATV tour. What a great group! they were so fun to be with. Here are some pics from Old San Juan.

Statue of Columbus

the restaurant we ate at


Our first port was Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos. It is a tiny little island. The population practically doubled by our ship docking. The water is so blue! We walked around in the little shopping center for a little while and then it was time to go on our excursion. Brandon and I decided on power snokeling. I am not a huge fan of being in water with fish. By power snokeling, I figured if I needed to get somewhere fast, I was better off having something helping pull me through the water. On the way to the snorkle place, we were able to see some sights of the island. The coolest thing was the capsle that John Glen returned from space from. It landed about two miles out to sea from Grand Turk and is so tiny!!! I have no idea how he fit in it, talk about uncomfortable!!!

Once we got to the place we were snokleing at, I became very nervous. Brandon and I both thought that we were snorkleing from the beach. I was ok with that, but the thought of jumping into the ocean from a boat and in water deeper than can stand in, is a different story. I quickly noticed the boat, and Brandon asked if we were going out further in the boat. The instructor gave us the answer that I was dreading!

The instructor said that we would be going out to some orange bouys and jumping out of the boat in water that was about 18 feet deep. I freeked! I grabbed Brandon's hand and looked at him like "I can't do this!". The instructor kept saying it doesn't matter if it is 5 feet or 100 feet deep, we would be at the top. I disagreed! Then we were going to swim to where the water turns dark blue. It is called the wall and drops to 7,000 feet. I almost hyper-ventalated right there. Then he added "we will see berecudas. Just leave them alone." I nearly passed out and litterally almost backed out, but I was brave... well brave for me! Did I mention that Brandon and I were the youngest ones on the excursion... by alot! There was one other lady who was scared, and I didn't want to be more chicken than her!
Once we got out there, I did pretty good. In fact, I was one of the last ones back on the boat. Having the little torpedo thing to pull us through the water was fun. The guide showed Brandon and I a sting ray that was below us in the sand, which was way more than 18 feet by the way! It was pretty cool and I don't think we would have found it on our own. I stayed well to the side of the wall, even if I was supposed to follow. Once back on the boat, others commented on how well I did. I guess I didn't hide me fear well at all!
After we returned to the beach, one of the guides pulled the meat of one of the conches he grabbed off the ocean floor. He then started cutting slices off for people to try.... I passed, but Brandon gave it a go. He said it wasn't bad. Meanwhile, i grabbed a cup of fruit punch and started drinking. I turned to Brandon and mentioned that it was really good and wondered what kind of fruit it was. Guava, I thought. Brandon almost gasped and said "Juli, that's rum punch!" Apparently, on the boat ride back, I was so proud of myself and catching my breath that I missed the part where they said it was rum punch, but that if we didn't want the alcohol, they would get us just fruit punch. OOOPPPPS! I stopped drinking my rum punch and asked for the non-alcoholic version. Pretty funny!
On the way back, we drove around the island more and saw how hurricane Ike damaged the island. Grand turk reminded Brandon of Zimbabwe, alot, except instead of zebras and elephants wandering around , there were donkeys... strange.

It was my first time in another country. I wondered what the missionary efforts were like. Driving by the cemeteries made me think of family history and geneology. It was very cool, but I am glad to live where I do! However, I would definitely like to go back.... soon!
Brandon and I ate dinner at a shared table of about 8 people we didn't know. One was a little old lady that had moved to the US when she was fairly young. She still spoke with a heavy accent and spoke ALOT! It was kind of funny. She spends most of her time cruising. She figures that it is not much more expensive that what she would be doing anyway, and she gets to see the world. We left dinner quickly, to get to the cricut scavenger hunt. Well, the had changed the time and we didn't get the message. I was totally bummed. I really enjoy a little competition!
Overall, it was an amazing day!