Day 24- Grand Caymans Roundup

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Grand Cayman Islands

On the third day of our cruise, we were at our second port of call in the Grand Cayman Islands. Like Key West, we had no plan here except to hopefully find a spot to go snorkeling. So we woke up in the morning bright and early, pack our snorkel gear, a couple of waterproof cameras and set off on our way to go ashore. The Caymans were different than any other port, because of the shallowness of the water, we had to tender. Which meant we had to take a boat from the cruise ship to the dock.

When we got on the boat, we made sure to get seats that were along the edge. We were already taking in the view of the islands and the blue water but it wasn’t until we pulled away from the ship that we looked down and we saw how clear the water was. We were all truly fascinated by the insane beauty of it all.  If we had spent the rest of that day on that boat zipping across the water, I would have been happy.

But we had to get off the boat at the dock, with no inkling of where we were going, someone said “lets go right”. It was the best decision that we made that entire day. Now, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, certain events happen so that you end up at a certain location. Someone decided to go to the right and thats how we ended up off the tourist track with the best unplanned day ever.

When we turned right, we took a stroll around the curve of the water on the port stopping atvarious places before stumbling along a restaurant. The restaurant/bar was called Paradise and boy did it live up to it’s name. Paradise had its own little beach and an inlet into the water overlooking our cruise ship in the distance.

After some investigation, we learned that Paradise allows people to swim and snorkel in the water that is in front of their place. We thought, SCORE! We couldn’t have been any luckier. But it got better and better as we got the edge of the rocks along the water and started to peer in.

In the water were fish that were HUGE! We learned that they were Tarpon and the man from the restaurant were training them.

They had to be at least three feet long and there was loads of them. We were now a little nervous to be entering the water but the man insured us that the tarpon are docile creatures and they don’t have teeth. We rented flippers from the Paradise restaurant for $6, very reasonable considering we had all of our other gear already.So,we made our way towards the water, with still a bit of caution. In short, it was AMAZING!

We looked under water, surrounded by tarpon and little tiger fish, giving us a wonderful experience into their underwater world. The tarpon looked huge with out goggles, their eyes and mouths would give your heart a surprise when first looking under the water. The man came out of the restaurant and would feed the tarpon with chicken. Giving us the opportunity to try and touch the tarpon while they were distracted. The man would throw the chicken far out and the tarpon would go chasing it in the same sense that dolphins would in a show. It was really quite something to see.

After the amazingness of the tarpon fish started to wear off on us, we started to swim further out into the depths of the water. The further out we swam, the more exotic sea life we began to see. It was completely unreal. There was a huge reef filled with life. You could see the fingers of the reef going out in every direction, all of them home to one creature or another. We spent at least two hours in that water and it was the best thing that we could have done. It is an experience that I am never going to forget and wish to repeat one day.

I highly recommend the Grand Caymans as a port to consider visiting if taking a cruise. Whether you want to take our spontaneous route or want to do something a bit more planned, the Caymans are exquisitely beautiful to admire.

Tomorrow: Catching up on Jamaica

~Caoilfhionn

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Day 21- Babysitting and Catching up

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While I am writing this blog for my own entertainment, I shall apologize to the internet world for slacking with my entries. I only intended to miss a few days but apparently my summer randomness started to pick up a bit.

So I am going to use this blog to catch up on the Cruise I went on 2 weeks ago. I traveled with three of my best friends. It was a 6 night, 7 day cruise on the Carnival Valor. We hit the ports of Key west, Grand Caymans and Jamaica. Specifically, I am going to do Key west today.

Key West 

We only had a short day in Key West so we decided to not book any shore excursions and just do our own thing. Jesse had never been in the Keys before so we wanted to just stroll the streets and look around.

We took a walk down Duval street headed towards the southernmost point, taking in the sights around us. Looking in the windows of the galleries and shops, making mental notes of what we wanted to go into on our way back down.  We amused at the chickens walking around on the sidewalks, the different bars and restaurants with quirky names. It was very relaxing.

We walked down till we got to the southernmost point, I was happy to take a picture there because any other time I have just driven past it. It is a picture I will definitely cherish as a touristy as it might be. From the southernmost point, we took notice of the navy base that  would obviously be the true southernmost point of the U.S. we were at the civilian southernmost point.

 

On our way back down Duval street, we stopped inside the The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, it was truly a sight to behold. I have always been fond of butterflies but this was awesome. The butterflies were  exquisitely beautiful and unique. The colors were mesmerizing and its hard to believe that butterflies like this truly exist. It would definitely be a wonder to see these butterflies out in the wild somewhere, it could be a scene out of a movie.

My favorite was a picture of a blue butterfly. I thought that it was absolutely beautiful.

Afterwards, we did what any group of people in their early twenties would do. We went to a bar and had drinks at noon. It was a blast, we let loose and it is definitely a day that will not be forgotten anytime soon. We made our way back to the boat, rather clumsily I might add, and were all set to head off to our next port of call, Grand Caymans.  

Tomorrow: Catching up on Grand Caymans 🙂

~Caoilfhionn

Day 3- Packing and a Supermoon

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    Today I packed, or in other words, today my closet exploded all over my room. Today I found clothes that I had no idea even belonged to me. My suitcase was beginning to look like I was going away for life instead of just a week on a cruise boat. Thats right, I’m going on a cruise!!!!! A week long cruise to the Western Caribbean….the absolute true beginning of my summer. Plenty of randomness and craziness to ensue on board. 🙂 I can’t believe that it is finally here. My body still does not believe it, I keep thinking that I have another day…sitting here at midnight thinking I have all the time in the world and I have to be up by 6. But I guess I do have a week long cruise to relax on 😉

We are going to be hitting Key West, Cayman Islands and Jamaica during our week. I am going to somehow keep a journal about my week so that I can update this when I get home. So it will all be thrown together into one 🙂 Not to think highly of myself, but I think I deserve this cruise. I have worked hard and succeeded all the way with my endeavors and I think I deserve a little bit of a reward. 🙂

Today was also the occurrence of the Super moon. It was so pretty! It marked the closest and brightest the moon is going to be for the next year. I missed the moon rising in the east but I took the kids I was babysitting tonight out to see it and they thought it was the coolest thing. It was a little cloudy early in the night but when I went out at 11:34 to see it at it’s brightest, it was a clear night sky. In the east you were able to see the bright moon and clearly see the features on it. Towards the west, you were able to pick out the stronger constellations, like the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper. It was truly a sight to see and I am glad that I stayed up to see a natural phenomenon.

So today was a good day of preparation and seeing science at work.  I cannot wait for morning and all that this week is going to bring.

Tomorrow: CRUISE!

-Caoilfhionn 🙂

Day 2- Dreams

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Today, I had the distinct pleasure to attend a friend’s graduation at the university of south Florida. I am currently in the car on my way back down to Fort Myers reflecting on the days events.
I was super happy to watch Alex walk across the stage to receive her bachelor of science degree that she has worked so incredibly hard for. It made me think of my impending graduation in December to receive my bachelors in science for elementary education. Throughout the beginning of the ceremony, they introduced people who were getting their doctorate degrees.
I used to think that I would never want to go past my masters but after today, I am beginning to think about going all the way. Why not? Today I was imagining what it would feel like to go across that stage and receive my doctorate, a feeling of accomplishment that only so many people go for. I think it would be awesome. I think it is going to be a new long term goal for me.

So what did I learn today on my second day of summer? That apparently I haven’t figured out all my dreams yet. Which I’m okay with 🙂

Side note: we just did three u-turns at an exit and stopped off on the shoulder to switch off drivers. and we just started singing “don’t you cry no more” in the car out of no where. Lol Most interesting car ride ever.

Tomorrow: packing for cruise 🙂

-Caoilfhionn 🙂

Aside

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Today is my first official day of summer vacation. To be exact, it was my first official day of summer after my last semester of college classes before my student teaching internship. I took my last ever college final yesterday and I also passed my last state exam to become a teacher on Tuesday. I DESERVE this summer break. 91 days to do what ever the hell I want.

So what was I doing today, you ask? I was doing volunteer work at my college for service learning hours that I have already completed twice over. No need to tell me that I’m crazy, trust me, I know. When I volunteered to do this I thought, “Sure, why not. I’m not going to be doing anything”. But when I woke up this morning, my body thinking that it was finally going to be relieved of stress and be filled with relaxation, nothing was exactly what I wanted to be doing. Now, I am sitting here at 11:30 at night, my body aching and just asking for a giant deep tissue massage to get rid of the giant knots in my shoulders from being hunched over a laptop for four months.

Now, while I am full of complaints because I’m tired and cranky, I did actually enjoy doing the volunteer work. We were doing work for Charity for Change. A wonderful organization that works within schools to promote giving back to students. Students are taught what it means to give back to people through academic work. Through the website, students answer math questions to raise money and give back to the community. For every questions that they answer correctly, the students earn pennies that goes towards a certain charity. Charities like Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald, and etc work with Charity for Change to show students what it means to give back. Most of the schools that participate in Charity for Change are schools that receive help themselves so it becomes a full circle. I greatly suggest that people take a trip over to the website: charityforchange.org and check it out. It is a phenomenal idea and has so many benefits that support everyone.

So while my first official day off of summer I was working, I learned a lot and am happy that I volunteered in the first place. But even so, I can’t wait for the next 90 days of summer.

Tomorrow: Tampa 🙂

~Caoilfhionn

Day 1- Charity for Change