Friday, March 23, 2012

Sports Day

One thing I love about the GAP, the school that Jackson goes to 3 mornings a week, are the fun recitals and sports days they put on.  It gets me so excited to become a soccer/basketball/football/swimming/anything mom.  This sports day was great because Jackson is old enough to enjoy the run and all of the cheering going on around him.  What a wonderful feeling it is to have him run straight to my arms, jump up and hug me, smiling with all of the pride he feels at doing so well.  They also let the parents compete and I did the potato sack race.  Not my finest moment.  Anyway.  Enjoy the photos from the day that brought me so much joy.



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When someone says it will be dangerous...LISTEN!

On the other hand, if we had listened, we would not have had one of my most memorable adventures ever. all began with three girls and a decision to surprise their husbands for their upcoming birthdays.  We planned a trip to the island of Carriacou with an excursion to the Tobago Cays.

First was the lovely trip on the ferry to Carriacou, where everyone threw-up except for me and Dustin...we just made jokes at their expense while watching their misery.  We are really good friends.

Peter trying to keep Amber standing after slipping all over the deck.

                                   Michelle getting drenched for the 20th time.
Me being graceful as usual.

 When we arrived on the small island the first thing we did was check into our hotel rooms at only $35 US a night.  The hotel is called Kim's Plaza and I really liked it.  It is simple but clean and had A/C and a fridge to keep our snacks cold.  For the price it was more than worth the money.  The hotel is also only a 5 min walk from where the ferry docks which helped us save money on taxis.

After checking in we needed food and, for those with recently emptied stomachs, we needed food fast.  So we asked the owner of the hotel where to go and he directed us to Sea View, once again being only a walk away.  I really enjoyed the food there as it was delicious chicken or fish surrounded by 4 or 5 local sides.  Then, stomachs filled and settled, we set out to have our first adventure.

While walking back to our hotel we ran into a Verdon, a taxi driver who aspires to be a one stop shop in Carriacou.  He told us he could set up our trips to Sandy Beach and the Cays and the prices he quoted were what we expected so we jumped into his truck and headed off.  Little did we realize that he took a cut of any trip he booked.  This didn't really change our price at all, but we would plan trips on our own in the future to avoid cutting the cost to the actual boat driver.  Anyway, Verdon took us to Off The Hook where we found Curtis to take us to Sandy Island.   Curtis is a quiet man but he is also currently my hero. But you will have to read on to find out why.

Sandy Island is a tiny strip of sand just a 5 minute boat ride from shore and I loved it.  It was simple but beautiful and we felt like we were all alone on our own private island.  The girls ended us chatting on the beach and the boys got in some good snorkeling, especially Dustin who you have to pull out of the water.  He prefers to go without fins because he enjoys swimming.

Stone sculptures made by past visitors from the beautiful rocks around the island.

After our sun soaked afternoon on Sandy Island we needed some more grub and luckily Verdon remembered a new restaurant that had opened that was perfect.  It is called La Playa and was only a 5 min walk from our hotel and located right on the beach.  We had burgers, cokes in glass bottles, and listened to a small steel drum band.  We even all split a few ice creams to celebrate Peter's birthday.  After diner we went back to our rooms, put on our PJs and then sat together in the  Hinckley's room to sing Happy Birthday to Peter and eat the delicious cake that Amber brought with her.  It was a great end to a great day.

Me and my fisherman.

The next morning we all went to the dock to meet up with Curtis once again to take a boat to the Tobago Cays.  This is where things started going bad.  The day before Curtis had told us that the weather wasn't very nice for a 45 boat trip to the Cays.  When told this information we just rallied and said we didn't care how uncomfortable, we were determined to make it to the Cays.  We didn't change our minds when he drove his small, wooden fishing boat along side the dock.  We didn't say anything when we spent 10 minutes crossing very choppy water that was only a prelude to the open ocean.  It was only when we saw Union Island ahead, the half way point, that we all started second guessing our decision.  We had started off our journey with yelps of joy and laughter at ever bump and jostle and slowly the boat had grown quieter and the excitement turned more to fear, me even asking Curtis if he had ever flipped a boat before.  The answer wasn't comforting.  Rob and Dustin were sitting up front and they clung to the front of the boat with blistering hands as their rear ends pounded away at the wooden planks they were sitting on.  Michelle and I were in the middle our arms and hands going numb from trying to hold on to our seats and the sides of the boat, Michelle getting soaked with stinging salt water with each bump.  Amber and Peter sat in the back, Amber still positive that Peter almost flew out of the boat.  And it was Amber that asked in the middle of our journey, in the middle of the white topped ocean, if we could turn around.  She braved a few more minutes for us to get to Union Island and then declared that she was done.  And it wasn't long before we all followed...with the exception of my adrenaline junkie friend Michelle who looked longingly towards the distant Cays as we all refused to go on.

The day wasn't a bust though as Curtis took us to the nearby Palm Island.  Palm Island is exclusively for guests of its beautiful resort, but we snuck on and enjoyed the luxurious beaches, snorkeling, and especially the safety away from the fishing boat.   However, it wasn't long before we would have to get back on the boat to go home.

The boat ride home to me was just as bad.  However, Dustin and Rob sat up front discussing pathology, the waves were much easier on us going back, and Amber rangled up a life jacket.  But for me, it was awful.  You see, I am a head case.  The previous trip I had been filled with enough excitement and optimism to get me through.  But on this trip all that was replaced with fear and my head got the best of me.  It also didn't help that right after loading ourselves onto the boat the waves got the best of us and I felt far too close to tipping over.  At one point in the trip home I told our driver, "I am really scared Curtis", saying his name in the way you might tell it to a kidnapper to humanize the situation.  I wanted him to want to get me home safely...yes, I was that looney.  But, of course, we made it safely back, where I told Curtis I loved him.  He was an excellent captain.  While a man of few words, I would definitely recommend him during better weather :)

Dustin found this star fish and 3 sand dollars right before catching the ferry home.


This is very similar to the boat that we took.

Needless to say, we made it back home, safe and sound, with an amazing adventure story to tell.   Scary or not, it was all a blast and I couldn't have shared it with better people.  I want to let the Greers and Hinckleys know that I absolutely adore them and loved spending time with all of them.