We arrived at Grotto Bay Beach Resort on Sunday night and after settling in, we headed over to my mother's place to check out the new boat. This is sort of funny, because all this time she's talked about this boat and I don't know what I was expecting but it was not... "So, what do you think of my boat?", "Which one is it? The one next to the big one?", "No dear- it is the big one.". Holy carp. It's quite a boat. I think Yacht is a more correct term for a boat of that size, but let's not get technical. We dropped our big kids off w/ mom and headed back to the hotel with B-ridge. So, the room was large enough to put her crib on one end, pull the doors out on the entertainment center and ta-da, a room to ourselves. After we put her to bed, we sat out on the veranda and listened to the tree frogs. They are so loud they'll deafen you, but no tropical island is complete without tree frogs. We took turns making trips to the bar for Swizzles and it did not suck. After B was asleep, we slunk into the room, and... I won't bore you with every detail. Let me remind you that this is a G rated blog. But, I will share some of the highlights of the trip...
On Monday we went out on the Fantasea owned Bottom Peeper. It's a glass bottom boat that will take you 4 miles out over the reefs so you can snorkel over TWO ship wrecks. They supplied us with fins, masks, snorkels (?) and told us where to find the best views of reefs, fish and ship wrecks. After a stern lecture on NEVER TOUCH THE CORAL REEFS we were set loose. Frankly, who would WANT to touch a coral reef? The coral can cut, burn or sting you. The colors were amazing. Unfortunately, the photos I took with my "underwater Kodak $8 disposable camera" don't do it justice. The ship wrecks we explored were The Montana, a confederate blockade runner (sank 1863) & The Constellation (sank 1943). The best thing about the glass bottom tour was that if you didn't want to snorkel, you could still see all the fish, reefs, etc, w/o even getting wet. B loved it, and learned a new word- Fish. If you're B, and you want to identify a fish, it's best done at the top of your lungs. "FISH!!!"
Snorkeling on the open ocean is really quite different from beach snorkeling. When you're snorkeling off a beach, you can often spot a sandy area and stand up if you need a break. Over the Montana and Constellation, it was 15+ feet of water. I have never been more grateful to be in such great shape as I was on that trip.For one thing, I wore my BIKINI. Yea, I know, that's insanity since there were ~shhh~ other people around, but seriously, I saw plenty of women wearing bikinis with more squish than me... Back to the subject at hand. As we're all paddling around I noticed that many of the swimmers kept having to return to the boat to rest. I, however, was having a great time and never got winded. I snorkeled for a full 30 minutes before returning to the boat, where I picked up Gregory and carried him on my back (in 15 feet of ocean current) for another 10 minutes. He wanted to see the grouper. The grouper in question was easily 60 pounds. The photo of the grouper didn't really come out at all. :( I guess what I'm saying is, while it was great to look semi-decent in the alleged bathing suit, the great reward of Stroller Strides was actually being able to enjoy the water sport of the day.
Tuesday & Wednesday we explored the island from Moms boat. The kids took turns driving the boat. B learned a new word, "boat", and if you're B and you're going to share your new word, it's best done at the top of your lungs, "BOAT!!!" We swam, played, & sunbathed for a bit.
On Thursday we went to the aquarium *FISH!, and Tobacco Bay. IF you're going to go to BDA, and you're not going to see Horseshoe Bay while you're there, you must (MUST) go to Tobacco bay. It is amazing. The rock formations are breathtaking, and the coral reefs are awesome, the water is shallow and best yet, the fish have no fear. A fish swam right up and tapped my mask with his "nose". Hmmm. Just take my word for it- It was cooler than it sounds. I swam G & C around on me for a while while we took in the reefs. My kids are strong swimmers, but the logistics of mask, breathing apparatus, fins, etc plus swimming kind of screws them up- so we used the "carry on the back" technique with great success. I would like to imagine they'll remember that forever. Or, at least until next next Thursday.
And, as if the whole trip didn't "not suck" enough, I actually lost a pound while on vacation!
*If you're going to BDA, I highly recommend Fantasea owned glass bottom boats.