Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Things to Come

Happened on this today and thought of a few of you (and me) who may feel like sometimes your path is awfully difficult .... Love to you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Voal Day #6

So apparently we stayed in St. Thomas for a month!! I will finish writing about this trip because honestly it is the only record that I will have of this hilarious cruise!

So we left St. Thomas and headed to our next destination. We would arrive the next morning. The ship really had to put the oar to the ocean (similar to the pedal to the metal only for a boat). See that little yellow dot on the left island? That is St. Thomas. See the little yellow dot on the middle island? That is Tortola. It takes 50 minutes to get there. I think our ship went out a ways and did circles all night long(!) and then pulled at sunrise for the dramatic entrance.So we tendered in to Tortola and went to find Egbert who was supposed to be our quick ferry driver that was to ferry us over to the other island. See the yellow dot on the left island that is where we met Egbert. He was supposed to take us over to the right island, (Virgin Gorda). It is supposed to take 30 minutes after you board the ferry. The problem came when Egbert had apparently overbooked so he convinced a friend to drive us across on his boat. Problem that we discovered a little ways into the trip across. His boat was smoking and barely limping along. I was up on the bow of the ship with B. Rad, Haley, Mitch and Dave so we didn't get sick from the smoke but others in our group were in the back having their lives shortened by breathing in toxic fumes. We were of the Happy Oblivious group.Our Idaho friends were on the boat with us as well as the nasty hoochies. The hoochies were so hungover from the previous night that they just sat and vomited into a bucket for our 90 minute ride. So the Oblivious Happy group was getting frustrated with how long this ride was taking. We especially were a bit miffed when the ferry (that we were supposed to beat by at least 30 minutes passed us!
But look at those poor friends on the back of the boat or as we call them The Vomit Watchers. I wonder how they are faring. They look like they are really satisfied with their experience. Jenn especially has her "I'm so happy" face going on here. The Happy Oblivious group did see this cool house and tried to figure out why it looked familiar. We decided it had to have been a Bond film at some point. Sadly this house was the only highlight from the ferry across to Virgin Gorda. When we docked we (our group and the Idaho friends) all decided we were not riding back with Egbert's friend so we paid him for the one way trip and told him not to look for us on the return voyage. Then we caught a taxi to the Bath's and determined that we weren't going to let the Egbert problem ruin our day. However "Egbert" is now kind of a swear word in my family. The Virgin Gorda Bath's are a National Park here in the British Virgin Islands. Here is a birds eye view. The taxi dropped us off at the little cluster of white buildings on the right side of the picture. Then we hiked down a gorgeous path. The rocks and the trees reminded me of Little Cottonwood Canyon. But then you get to the bottom of the trail and it opens up to this scene. Helllloooo! We are not in Utah anymore! So here is the map. We are at the little beach there at the top of the picture. We now are going to make our way to the crescent shaped beach at the bottom of the picture. Now in order to get there you get to go through the boulders. See all those massive brown lumps in the picture. Those are boulders. "I like that boulder. That's a nice boulder" Name that movie. My kids could, since they quote that line a lot. So after you hike through the cool boulders you get to Devil's Bay. If you look closely you can see my little stick figure laying out on the beach.
Here are some of us starting into the boulder path. Dave was a bit nervous. He suffers from claustrophobia and wasn't to sure about this part of the trail. I loved it! It was amazing. We would be in a dark tunnel and come around a corner and there was a breathtaking natural window teasing us with a gorgeous view of the brilliant blue water. They have made the hike a lot easier than bouldering up Little Cottonwood. They have made little platforms and put in ropes and ladders in harder to climb areas.
Lots of great places to take pictures.
Now since we arrived after the ferry there were a lot of people around and we got separated from each other. So I don't know the story behind all of these pictures so I will make up my own. You will have to determine which ones were true and which were not.
This picture was taken while Sara and Alli were waiting for their turn to go up a ladder and Sara starting singing primary songs pretty loudly. Alli was a bit embarrassed although I think the word "shocking" comes to mind when I look at her hair. Since we were heading to a beach and also hiking through water most of the time we were all wearing our suits. No big deal. Our group looked pretty normal. See here. Here is B. Rad wondering why he had left his Speedo on the ship! You see had just had a reminder of how dang good he would have looked had he remembered to wear it on this outing! And because he knows would have totally looked better than this. Oh yeah. I remember this story. This is where we got stuck behind a blind lady. Yep a blind lady was bouldering her way to Devil's Bay. We admired her a lot more when we were able to pass her.
You do NOT want to know what Tricia just saw here!
Brandon knows all about it!
Here is where Andrew lifted a boulder off an cute little puppy which was about to be crushed. Mom did not drop the boulder on the puppy.I think Mitch did it. He looks a little guilty here.
A couple of things about this picture. B. Rad was still mad at Egbert. Then he and Sara got in a huge yelling match so that is why he looks so ornery. I don't think he smiled for several hours. You will notice that Andrew is not with Jenn in this picture. You see Andrew had been following a very not skinny woman (no I did not take a picture) for a while and finally this lady started up a ladder and Andrew just couldn't take it anymore so he made Jenn follow the lady up the ladder instead.
Traveler trip #79 If you are a large woman AND you are wearing a swimsuit AND you are going to be climbing up ladders you should wear shorts. I feel absolutely comfortable saying this because I am a large woman and I wore shorts.
Anyway needless to say Jenn later gouged out her eyes and stopped speaking to Andrew. Andrew laughed. See, Jenn without Andrew. I think she had already gouged out her eyes here. Plus Alli avoiding the singing Sara.
Oh here is Andrew. Notice the smirk. I wonder what Sara is looking at?
Oh this is what she is looking at!

Oh my stars! It is so beautiful I can hardly believe we were actually there. We immediately got all our gear on and started snorkeling. Hey B. Rad! Have you forgiven Egbert yet? Good. Hey Sara! Lookin good! Snorkeling gear. I am pretty sure it is the most flattering thing you could ever wear.
Mom didn't snorkel. She did her water aerobics routine. She really did. I am not lying.
Anyone who thinks Mom is crazy raise their hand. Again anyone who feels that snorkeling gear is extremely flattering raise their hand. I disagree Alli. It took me a while to even recognize this person. I figured it out eventually. Here is a couple of the cool fish we saw while snorkeling in Devil's Bay.So while we were snorkeling out Idaho"friends" who have been here many times told us about a great area to snorkel. It was this area between the 2 big rocks. I say "friends" because I now suspect that they were secretly trying to do us in. They wanted us to "swim with the fishies" all right but on a more permanent basis! You see I think they wanted to get rid of us so that they could steal our tender tickets because every morning we would beat them in the tender line! I am pretty sure that was what the plot was about. Either that or they wanted to be known as the only Mormons on board. Anyway a bunch of us innocently swam out to check out this "great area"And then we almost DIED! Honestly I have never been certain that I was going to drown! What happened was these huge waves came smashing over that first big rock and came down right on top of us. Then the current would pull us out smashing us against the rocks. I can only describe it as being in a washing machine. We were all being tossed against rocks and sea urchins(!) and against each other. I was worried that not only was I going to be hurt but I was going to hurt Haley in the process. You couldn't tell which way was up and just as you would try to breathe water would smash down on you again. It was terrifying. We eventually got out and did a frantic roll call and we were all safe. We all had cuts, bruises and sea urchin wounds but we were alive. Don't I look like I almost died? I was bothered enough that I was done for the day. Although I did feel good about thwarting the Idahoans diabolical plot. Here we are coming in from our battle for life! So with that adrenaline rush the boys were ready for something truly dangerous. See this sly little grin. This is the exact moment when Andrew decided that the boys were now experienced enough to try "Free Diving"!
This is the exact moment when B. Rad giggled like a school girl, clapped his hands and said" I am in! Let's go." Here is the moment Sara heard of the plans and rolled her eyes and waved goodbye!This is the exact moment when Mom stopped her aerobics routine to ask the boys where they were going and they excitedly told her they were going to push the boundaries of snorkeling safety and swim to places heretofore undiscovered by man. Here is the moment when Mom asked B. Rad "No really what are you going to do?" and then told them all not to do anything dangerous.
Here is the exact moment that the boys said "Mom we are big boys and we can do whatever we want." and swam off while Mom said "Then I am going to tell your wives!" Just kidding I have no idea what they were doing here. For all I know B. Rad was actually asking Mom how she did that awesome aerobic move and how he could incorporate it into his P90X routine! In fact I am pretty sure that is what happened. So this Dave illustrating "Free Diving". Not to be confused with "Free Stylin" which is the cruise theme. Free Diving basically means hold your breath and dive down. Yep. Huge danger. Just ask Andrew and B. Rad who regaled us with stories about how they dove down so far their ears were bleeding and how they stayed down for 2 minutes. Here is Mitch who is approximately 50 feet down if you measure 1 ft=1 inch! Here is Dave who totally rocks as a "Free Diver"!
Here is B. Rad returning from a HUGE Free Dive. If you look very close you can see the blood running from his ears.
Meanwhile back at the beach. The wives seem pretty oblivious to the obvious danger that these men were experiencing! "Hey are those boys still out there?"
"Yea, I can see them. Good grief what are they doing? It looks like they are going under for five seconds and then surfacing in the most dramatic way imaginable." (honestly that is what it looked like.)
Here are the newlyweds. Holding hands. On the beach. While soaking in the sun. I bet you know which one of them is in heaven and which one is just extremely nice. Let me give you a hint. Here is the conversation Person #1 "Brandon? Can we please never, ever, ever leave here? We can just have my family mail me my shoes and we can just build a house with no ceiling so I can lie in the sun always." Person #2 "Ok." So who is person #1 and who is person #2. I will give you 2 seconds to decide.
Anyone want to guess? I think Mom and Alli know the answer.
So finally the boys start to decompress from their deep dives and return to shore. Here is Mitch "So did you see my awesome 20 minute dive out there" Wow I think I damaged my lungs. So here sit Dave and Mitch. Probably talking about how Andrew and B. Rad are so lame because they just like to splash a lot when they are Free Diving when really it is all about the depth, man.Andrew finally returns to shore and is showing off his legs (we call that pulling a Tricia). Actually he was showing his wounds from the near death experience (the real one not the Free Diving ones). Andrew had the worst cuts and scrapes from that episode. The guy standing on the far left is one of the Idaho friends and I am almost certain he is laughing at Andrew's wounds. We had to pack up earlier than we would have like because it was only a short stay here at Tortola.
We made quick work of helping each other pack up all the sunscreen, towels...snorkeling gear, flip flops and sunglasses. Have you ever noticed that when everyone helps everything runs smoother and quicker? Wait what is going on here?Brandon seems to be packing up all alone. What in the world is his wife doing? Why is she pulling on her hair so violently?"I can't leave here! It is beautiful! It is warm! I can show off my legs year round! I can get an even darker tan! Brandon you promised!" Oh Tricia. I am so sorry but I can tell you know nobody would have shipped you your shoes! Can't afford it.
So my claustrophobic husband decided to take the high road and climb over the boulders with our Idahoan friend. Dave is that red shirt at the top of the boulder in the middle. Here are the rest of us getting ready to leave this little piece of paradise. We hiked back on a different path. This looked less tropical and more deserty. We met Dave at the top and barely met our taxi in time to head back to the ferry! We were all exhausted! Our taxi ride was interrupted by Egbert jumping aboard and accusing us of shorting him on his fare for the ferry. (Fare for the ferry which was at best fair.) ha-ha . We had to convince him that it wasn't us and that we weren't going to pay him another dime for that horrible ride. Even Brandon got into it. Although I think Brandon was actually asleep when he yelled at Egbert. We made it to the ferry and we were all alone in our area (except the Idahoans). We signed the waiver (we decided that they really only wanted our names so if we crashed they could figure out who was on board.)
The ride was so pleasant compared to the morning ride. We all had seats and air conditioning. And there was no vomiting. Always a plus.
Mitch slept.
Jenn forgave Andrew for making her follow the scantily clad large lady up the ladder. Maybe Mitch wasn't sleeping as much as he was just avoiding the smooching going on in the back seat! Dave did a dead lady impersonation.
We tendered back to the ship.
We cleaned up and watched the sunset. Gorgeous of course.
Tricia forgave Brandon for not building her that house on the beach.
Then we stayed up way too late for how tired we all were. We played hearts on the back of the ship. We talked and laughed. and we complained that we can get ice cream and alcohol at midnight but all the water stations were shut down! Free Stylin my eye!
Oh and Mitch was furious because I stopped him from shootin the moon! AWESOME! Best night ever! He thinks I don't know how to play hearts. What does he think I do all day at home while the kids are at school?
We did make a short stop at the Bliss Lounge where only Mitch performed. He sang and danced to "Beat It" by Michael Jackson.
Everyone loved his dancing. I think the cheering helped make up for my toasting him in hearts! I hope he will forgive me.