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Miracles and Friends on the High Seas

April 26, 2018

Before I dive into talking about friendships, let me just first begin with the miracle that occurred on my most recent adventure to the Caribbean Sea. I really can’t even believe it happened!  If you know me (or are starting to get to know me), you know that my life is charmed for sure. But  it comes with a LOT of mishaps and plenty of drama.  So this is really a defining moment.  Bryan  and I were looking very forward to taking our favorite sailboat,  the Star Clipper to the Caribbean where we would be meeting up with our amazing friends, Mike and Becky from Texas.  Any time you can get out of Southern Indiana at the tail end of winter to some warmer locale is a win.  Add to it, a get-away that includes great friends, beaches, and time away from work pressures and you are all set for success.  I mean this is  usually the case.  But typically for me it means problems at home, maybe a sickness, and the occasional fight with Bryan along the way.  But this time, I cannot even begin to grasp what happened to me on this trip……

 

I can actually report that there was not one single crisis prior to leaving (I mean except for the usual scramble of getting business in order for your absence, packing nightmares, and an almost missing passport). There were no adult children with problems or issues, no grandkid sicknesses, AND, wait for it... NOT ONE SINGLE FIGHT with my husband in 9 days.  For those who know me best, knows that this is a rare feat.  Not one eye-roll on my part. Not one sigh or walking 10 feet ahead of me on Bryan’s part.  Not one argument on how we should plan each day out on the trip.  I wanted to do a snorkel with Stingrays, while our friends opted to go on a boat and snorkel excursion. My husband was fine doing what I wanted instead of the friends. WHAT?

 

Okay so you have gotten the point.  It was a great trip.  So let me tell you a little about it!

 

 

St. Marten

 

 

 

We arrived late in the afternoon and literally walked through a tent for customs and baggage claim.  The airport is obliterated. There is still so much damage from hurricane Irma. It’s really so sad to see. Our taxi driver told us of how the hurricane affected his family as he took us on the short ride to the Simpson Bay Resort.  Things like this will definitely put life and its goodness in perspective.  We had a lovely evening enjoying the views, the pool and beaches before having a romantic beachside dinner at the resort.  The next morning we got up and headed poolside after checking out since we had plenty of time before boarding the ship!  I made friends with a super cool lady from Ireland named Jazzi.  My motto is to make friends wherever you go!  I find it to be one of the greatest joys of traveling!  After a lovely conversation with Jazzi, it was time to go gather our bags, get out of the bathing suits and find a cute place to have lunch before heading to the Port to get on the Star Clipper.  The win for lunch was a relaxed little bayside deck bar called Jimbo's Rock and Blue Café.  My order was probably the best burger I have ever had in my life! At this point we are ready to go meet our friends on the ship!  We literally met Mike and Becky seven years ago on a Star Clipper Winshape Cruise to Rome.  We hit it off immediately and have been on SIX vacations with them since then.  We have literally travelled the world with them and they are pretty much  "soul friends".  There are more couples that have taken these trip  as well through the years  that we get to enjoy and hang out with too.  These friendships are precious to me and they have really come about from traveling!

 

 

 

What a beautiful day to set sail! 

 

 

 

Nevus

 

After a night of sailing and enjoying the upgrade on our cabin on the Star Clipper, we dock at the Island of Nevus.  Now, for someone who would like to share as much as I can about the places we visit, my wish was to explore the island a little because I had heard it had a lot of colonial and historical sites.  Everybody else in the group of friends was anxious to hit a beach and veg out.  Of course we all want the best for each other and so everyone was so gracious to indulge me and we decided we’d maybe hit up a cab to take us around a few sites before ending at the beach.  The only problem was that it was Sunday and typical to island life most all the places were going to be closed.  So actually the friends lucked out on not having to adventure around too much with me!  We went to the closest beach that seemed to have chairs and umbrellas to accommodate our group.  It was definitely a beautiful day and the spot we chose had a fun beachside restaurant/ bar.  The best part about this day was watching the bar’s mascot puppy and monkey frolicking around the beach, the bar, our beach totes and chairs!  They literally were in little wrestling matches.  And my favorite memory was sitting around the bar singing, “We are the World” with the locals.  I made a new friend named Rusty.  Seriously, make friends everywhere you go!  It is the best thing ever.

 

My new friend from Nevus, Rusty! 

 Sunshine's Beach Bar on Nevus

 

 A Puppy and Monkey Friendship!

 

 

St. Kitts

 

We have been St. Kitts before.  It’s a beautiful island.  The last time we were here we opted to do a structure tour on the Railroad Train around the island.  And as romantic and wonderful as that sounds, it was a very SLOW going experience that you are stuck on for pretty much the entirety of the day.  So since we had “been there and done that” and we all joked about what a disaster it was, we decided not to repeat that mistake. But however, I had signed Bryan and I and  Mike and Becky up for the Essential Saint Kitts Tour.  So instead of adventuring on our own, we had to get on a tour bus to have a guide take us around the island.  I had signed us up for this because there is always a scramble to sign up for excursions and it’s good to get your name on the list.  But I forgot to cancel.  So we were obligated to go (or at least pay)! I seriously thought I might be in trouble for this mistake, but Mike and Becky were easy going and didn’t act like it was a problem.  One good thing about a structured tour is that the guides are fun and really give you lots of great information about their hometowns.  And this was definitely much better than the Train Ride Tour! My favorite stop was the British Fort, Brimstone Hill Fortress.  I could literally visualize colonial times and it seemed almost haunting.  On the last stop the guide pulls you over to a lookout point where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meets.   As I’m taking in the view a man hands me a Monkey!  I was taken by such surprise and a little delight that I must have grasped the money a little too snuggly.  And it went a little berserk and bit me! Yes, I got bit by a MONKEY!  After assessing that it didn’t break the skin and the gentleman assuring me that I’d be fine and how to hold the monkey, I did make friends with the monkey and his brother.

 

 It's always exciting getting off the Tender Boats to explore a new Island!

 

The best part of the structure tour excursions are the fun tour guides! 

 

 A stop at a beautiful Botanical Garden!

 

 This adorable Boutique Hotel was connected to the Botanical Gardens grounds.  If we had an overnight stay on this Island this would be the place I'd stay!

 

I took a picture of the hotel sign so I wouldn't forget it! I seriously would stay here if given the opportunity. 

 

 Top View of Brimstone Hill Fortress! Photos don't do the experience justice.

 

 Ending the day with my new monkey friends!

 

As you can tell by the number of pictures, we had a wonderful and eventful day in St.  Kitts.  It's definitely an island I would come a stay numerous days! 

 

 

 

 

Antigua

I was definitely excited to wake up docked at the island of Antigua.  Mostly because we had never been and also due to what we had planned for the day!  We were set to hit Stingray City later in the afternoon. We did get off the ship after breakfast and wander around the coastal town for a bit before the big adventure that afternoon. It was a quaint and cute marina town.  But the time came for us to prepare to swim with the stingrays.   The guide gave us some directive and we hop on a boat for the ride out to the point in the ocean where there was a sandbar. Whew!  I’m not the best swimmer or snorkeler, so its was a relief to me that I’d be able to stand up in waist height water to enjoy this experience.  The guides have been doing this 15 plus years in this area.  You are in the middle of the ocean and all the stingrays are in the wild and free to roam around as they choose. We however are able to be in an area that is roped and netted off for our safety.  The stingrays swarm this area due to being feed very nicely 4 times a day by this tour company and the patrons.  The guides immediately help you hold one for the photo op! Then you can walk or swim around to watch them, touch them and if you are my husband, try to hold them without help of a guide!  If you are really brave, you are allowed to feed them squid.  The stingrays suck the food up into their mouths that are on their underside.  I found the most taunting of the task being really the holding of a live squid in your hands.  You’re directed to hold the squid with your thumb tucked into your fist, so that your thumb won’t get sucked up when the stingray takes it.  I was pretty proud of my self.  Not only did I feed them, but also I actually was able to scoop one up into my arms on my own and hold it for a while.  See, I just make friends everywhere!

 

 Our morning adventures around the Marina!

 

 

My new friend the stingray! 

 

 

Iles des Saintes

 

This is the quaintest little French island and we have been here before.  Most people navigate the island by moped.  The last time we were here, someone on our ship wrecked her moped and was injured very badly.  Since we have enjoyed this island via moped before, we opted to take the safer route and just walk it!  I wore some really comfy walking sandals and decided to just be a girl boss about it. The biggest attraction is going up to the French Fort & Museum, Fort Napoleon.  It’s quite a steep walk up and I started noticing Golf Carts.  I kind of had the thought of, “why didn’t we rent a golf cart! Those things are safe!” But we made it up, enjoyed the view and conversation on the way and the fort and mountaintop view also.  On our walk down we passed by a goat on the side of the road and I asked Bryan to take a photo.  He said that was ridiculous and didn’t take a photo.  A few seconds later I kind of tripped a little and had to catch myself before a took a little tumble forward.  I laughed about how I almost just fell flat on my face and how it would have been so funny considering how I fell flat on my butt in Greece  (Check out my Greece and Dreams story to hear about that).  And Bryan responded that he was sure it would have been “his fault”. I said well, I’m not even sure how I could have blamed him for that it.  He said he was sure I would have found a way. In fact, he said he knew  I  would have said something like, “Well if you would have stopped to take a picture of the goat, I wouldn’t have tripped. “ He may have had a point. We ended the day at Ill de Saint with a little shopping and a nice lunch at a pretty little French Restaurant.

 

What a view!  

 

 We made it to the top and the Fort!

 

 Fort Napoleon

 

Soaking in all the history! 

 

 Our Lunch Stop

 

Shopping and Exploring this quaint little town! 

 

 

Martinique

 

Martinique is another French Island and its port city is pretty large and with a lot more hustle and bustle of an urban type city.  We ventured out and did a little shopping, enjoyed some beautiful churches, libraries and the city square gardens.  My favorite find was the open-air market.  There was lots of the local foods, spices, souvenirs, and jewelry to explore along with live performance artist and music as well.   

Seeing what we can find in Martinique 

 

The Market

 

 The Library

 

 

A Day at Sea

 

Well another trip is coming to a conclusion and its definitely sad.  While Bryan and I have a wonderful life and great businesses, it's sometimes hard to get back to normal.  These trips are always so fun and filled with memories and laughs and even though we are anxious to see family back home, its bittersweet to leave behind these carefree days.  A day at sea gives you that time to decompress, refocus and not be on the move and running around on adventures.  I will have to say that one of my favorite things on the Star Clippers Cruises is the Captain’s Dinner.  We have been on six of these cruises and a highlight is always the celebratory dinner.  You have no doubt made friends with the crew members as they have served you all week long.  And many of these crew members have served us on numerous cruises. They end the dinner with the entire crew singing to you, flags of the world waving in their hands, “We are the World”.  It’s the perfect conclusion to my sentiment of … Make Friends Everywhere You Go!

 

 Our Cruise Director Madelane and some of the crew!

 

 

 Goodbye sweet friends! Until next time....

 

 

All Professional Looking Photos were by Tom Mileshko of Mileshko Creative Imaging. Non-Professional photos taken by us with our iphones!

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