Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today my dad is turning 29 for the 20th time (or maybe he's moved onto to saying he's 39 for the 10th time...not sure).
Graduation April 2010

 Fishing - one of his most favorite things to do. He's obviously good at it. That's one big carp.

 1997 - instilling his favorite activity upon his children. 

Happy 29th, 39th, and 49th birthday dad!

Love, Brad Courtney & Killer

Friday, June 24, 2011

At Long Last - OUR CRUISE! (dedicated to Jared) Days 1 - 3

We went on a cruise two and half months ago ('s taken me this long to blog about it).

First stop: Atlanta airport.
Our flight was super early Sunday morning, which meant we had to get up around 4am to make it there on time. We had stayed up late the night before and had helped Brad's parents in their yard during the day, so to say we were tired is an understatement. Apparently I didn't mention to Brad to try and not look half asleep for this picture. He was excited despite the looks of it.

We arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico around 2pm.
This is unfortunately the only picture we took in San Juan for a few reasons: 
(1) We came from perfect 60 degree early April Atlanta weather to 90 degree island weather. I was completely unprepared for the drastic temperature change. We put our bags on the boat via the boat bag loader people and went to walk around the city. I neglected to take out a pair of shorts and was therefore forced to remain in the hottest, thickest pair of jeans I own (they were great for wearing around Provo in April though); 
(2) I remained unprepared for city exploring by wearing moccasins that are really just slippers with nice warm fuzz on the inside, which quickly made for a miserable walking experience, not only did my feet hurt but the were hot and sweaty from the aforementioned warm fuzz; 
(3) We were STARVING. I think Brad may have had a banana at 4:30am, and I may have had an apple. We could have easily spent a little more time in San Juan and found a nice little local restaurant where they only speak Spanish and had a wonderful meal, but if you know us, you know we didn't do that. Why spend money on something that you could get for free? We (meaning I) finally decided we were too hot, tired, and hungry to do anything but walk back to the ship. We boarded, ate lunch, and took a nap until 10pm when we set sail.
So, back to the picture. San Juan has this awesome fortress that was built during the late 1700s that we had heard about from one of the moms in my preschool class who is a native Puerto Rican, and we decided if we didn't do anything else we had to visit it. So we did it. For like 5 minutes. And got one picture. Of just me. Not Brad. Which is sad. But I was complaining about the previously referenced things. And we decided to go back.

Before we left Puerto Rico, and after we woke up from our nap we did some exploring on the ship.
 I found this lion in the casino.

 Puerto Rico

Day 1: St. Thomas
We rented a scooter, asked where a good place to get away from tourists was, and headed out on our way. Where'd we go? The Ritz Carlton. All the beaches on St. Thomas are public, even the ones at private resorts. We did some snorkeling and tested out our new underwater camera. The first few pictures we took are really bright and washed out, but luckily Brad figured out what was wrong and fixed it so the later pictures look better.

 Brad says this is a Jaws picture.

The sand wasn't normal sand. It looked like teeny tiny pieces of bleached coral. Pretty awesome.

St. Thomas was absolutely gorgeous, and we had a blast there. What would have made it even better? If I hadn't gotten the worst sunburn in my ENTIRE LIFE. I seriously lathered on SPF 45 every hour, but to no avail. I was fried. A few days later we met a doctor at one of our excursions who told me that the No Ad brand (the kind I was using in St. Thomas) was pretty terrible. It doesn't work nearly as well as some of the other sunscreens. Turns out it probably would have been better for me to use Coppertone SPF 30 than what I had been using. Lesson learned! I threw away the crappy stuff almost immediately. Brad was smart in that he wore a long-sleeved shirt the whole day. He didn't even get red.
Day 2: Fun Day At Sea
Since it's 500 miles from St. Thomas to Barbados the ship couldn't make it there overnight, which meant we had a whole day on board the boat. Under normal circumstances (like our last cruise, for instance) I would have loved this. It would have meant I could go find a pool chair and lay out in the sun all day reading a book. Remember the sun burn? Yeah. That meant we had to stay inside all day. I woke up on the morning of day 2 in some of the worst pain ever. Like I said this was the worst sun burn in my life. I now have all the sympathy in the world for fair skinned people. Just looking at the sun through a window made me shudder in pain. It was awful. But after hours upon hours of trying to sleep but not being to lay down for fear of my skin ripping off, we just had to go do something. So we looked on the schedule and found out that there was an ice craving demonstration going on. So, we made our way up to Lido Deck (me in sweat pants, long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses) to check it out.
I have no words for this.

 Later that night we had a formal dinner and putting on a dress was pretty much excruciating, but I made it and we had a wonderful night.
 I wasn't lying about the sunburn...

 Hello GQ.

Here we are waiting for the comedy show to start. They were always packed and super popular, so we got there really early as soon as we finished dinner. The following images are how we entertained ourselves during the boring hour we had to wait.

That is our awesome camera tripod from REI. It can bend into the shape of almost anything. You can stick your camera on it and wrap it around a tree even. It comes in lots of colors too. I like ours because it looks like a bumble bee.

Day 3: Barbados
The port of Barbados is seriously the ugliest place I've ever been to. It's basically an unglorified ship yard. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures of it (probably because we didn't want ugly pictures), so you'll just have to take my word for it. So, we're walking through the port to find our bus that will take us to our catamaran so we can go swimming with the sea turtles and we stumble upon this:
At first I didn't get this poster. "Why do they have this is at the port?" I ask Brad. He quietly informs me that the majority of the locals must us HIV, so this is a warning to not have sex with anyone you meet here. Oh, fantastic. At least they're warning us, because otherwise I might have been a goner.
 Brad really really wanted this picture. If you'll remember, I still have a sunburn. I was pretty much crying the whole 10 seconds it took to take the picture. Again, under normal circumstances I would have loved laying in the sun feeling the breeze hitting my face as we glide through the water on the catamaran, but this sunburn was not normal. I most definitely did not lay out in the sun this day. Instead I hid out in the shadows on the inside of the boat.
 Look at my white white toes compared to my super tan legs. Throughout the whole trip I wore Keens, and you can definitely tell.

 There were little fishing boats like this everywhere quietly bobbing up and down as the fisherman was underneath spearfishing. I especially loved this yellow one called "Hot Rod".
Once we got out on the ocean it was a great improvement of scenery compared to the port.
 That's me touching a turtle!
 Oops. Got Brad but missed the turtle.
 There we go...if only it wasn't blurry.
 Swimming with sea turtles in Barbados was on of the neatest things we've ever done. The turtles loved being fed and didn't mind too much being touched (even though we weren't supposed to...oh well). Brad and I were able to swim right next to them under the water. They were huge! We always book our excursions separately from the cruise. We've found that it's way cheaper to do that seeing as how the cruises take 30% of the profits, meaning the locals catering to the ships raise their prices to compensate. We found a great crew on the Silver Moon Cruises Catamaran. They served unlimited rum punch (nice, I'm sure, for those partaking) and any other drink you could think of. They also cooked us lunch right there on the boat. It was delicious (and now I can officially say I've eaten flying fish...which really do fly, by the way). At one point we saw a cruise catamaran and it was PACKED. We had about 12 people on our boat and they had about 60. I can't imagine! It just further proved that booking by yourself is way better.

Days 4 through 7 are in production - don't worry Jared.

Love, Brad & Courtney