Mexico …

Cozumel, Mexico! This is such a crazy busy Port of Call for cruise ships! Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island, nestled 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cozumel measures 28 miles long and 10 miles wide and is renowned for it’s dazzling white sandy beaches and the clarity of the “multi-hued” azure Caribbean ocean. The climate is subtropical and the people native to Cozumel are of Mayan descent.

We have been to this Port of Call 4 times!!!

Today’s excursion was to rent scooters and tour the island!!

The wind was crazy today!! Many of the natural beaches were closed due to the high surf. It was beautiful though!!

What a wonderful day exploring and swimming in the warm water.

Tonight as we were sailing the winds were pretty crazy again. This is the first cruise we’ve done that there has been lots of rain and high winds…gale force winds …

 

Cayman Islands

Ahoy!

We’re on Island time! Cayman Island’s, Grand Cayman for the day at the Port of George Town. product_arh10810_image_1

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Grand Cayman is the largest of the three main islands, has an area of 76 square miles and is approximately 22 miles long with an average width of 4 miles. It’s most striking feature is the shallow, reef protected lagoon, the North Sound which has an area of 35 square miles. Perfect for those who enjoy diving and snorkelling. The island is low-lying, with the highest point about 60 feet above sea level.Visitors from all over the world flock to the Cayman Islands for the beaches with stretches of soft white sand and turquoise water, the diving, and the shopping! It’s international luxury brand reputation has earned the island is nickname ” Brand Cayman”

This morning we were up bright and early BEFORE sunrise! David walked the track ( a quick 5k) and we had a quick breakfast to be ready for when our tender # was called. We did not dock at the pier in Grand Cayman, it is too shallow, so we had to take tender boats back and forth.

Our excursion today was an Overview of Gand Cayman. The Island is under British rule and there is a residing Governor on the island. We passed the Governor’s home, seven mile beach where the water is 82 degrees all year round, the oldest home on the island, stopped in “hell” one of 5 districts on the island BUT the most popular because of the black limestone formations that people consider a picture of what hell would look like… We passed the oldest homestead on the island 105 years, stopped at a rum cake factory, and my highlight…the turtle farm!!!

Cotton plant with cotton stainer bugs

I LOVE visiting this turtle farm!!!

After our tour we had a few hours to walk around Georgetown, have some lunch ( the MOST expensive lunch ever ) and Holly tried snorkelling for the first time because if you are gonna try to snorkel, the Cayman Islands is the perfect place!

We even sent a post card to David’s Mom & Dad…hope they get it in time before they come home for the summer.

Turtle soup ( David had fish & chips)

Talking to the locals 

Tonight we enjoyed a little bit of China on the ship. We dinned in the Lotus restaurant. The Chinese food was delicious. The evening show was acrobats, they were amazing and reminded me of the shows we went to when we lived in China. You’ll notice I have no pictures of any of the evening entertainment. Photos were not permitted.

 

Jamaica mon’

Smile mon! that’s right we’re in Jamaica for the day!

Jamaica is our first port of call. Ocho Rios is Spanish for “eight rivers”. The name “Ocho Rios” is a misnomer because there are not eight rivers here. It is most likely a British corruption of the original “Las Chorreas” or “the waterfalls”, the name given because of the nearby Dunn’s River Falls.  Ocho Rios is in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. Scuba diving and other water sports are offered in the area.

Limestone, molasses, sugar and coffee are the key exports in Jamaica.

Docking at James Bond pier named after the 1962 James Bond movie  Dr. No

Dunn’s River Falls Waterfall and Beach

A “MUST HAVE” while in Jamaica is Jerk Chicken with festival ( the little fried donut) and bammy (made from cassava root)

The birds were so much fun to interact with at Dolphin Cove. Macaws, lovebirds, parrots, an owl…were all very friendly and liked the attention. This way to the Iguana!

Meet Charlie! Charlie II that is. The first Charlie, the one I held last time we were in Jamaica passed away. This Charlie was a sweetie though. I love Iguanas, they are just so interesting!

David was REALLY brave and held the snake. NOT me though…I am terrified of snakes!!
We had an amazing day in Jamaica…now to set sail!

David purchased a bamboo shirt…he’s looking a bit tropical for our dinner tonight.

Goodbye from Jamaica ( and Charlie)

Cruising’ 

 

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A cruising vacation! Ahh…

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Heading out on the Norwegian Pearl this morning. This is our fifth cruise and the 4th time for us on this particular ship. It just feels like home ❤ The Norwegian Pearl just finished a 2 weeks refresh at dry dock in Miami. There are lots of new updated features and we are the first aboard to check it out. How exciting!!

Here is the itinerary…

And here are some pics…

We arrived bright and early at the Port of Miami and checked in and got our stateroom cards. We had to wait until 12:00 to embark. First stop the Great Outdoors for a bit of food. It was overcast and windy with intermittent rain, so the pools and furniture were tied down. After discovering a mechanical problem during rechecks and requiring a part, we were delayed in our sail away. We were scheduled for 4pm, the first ship to leave, BUT ended up being the last ship to finally leave port. Two Norwegian, Two Royal Caribbean, and a Disney Cruise ship all went ahead of us. There’s so much to do on a ship, and David finally had someone to play a game of chess as we watched the other ships leave port. Since it was rainy and not great for being outside to watch the sail away, we had a lovely dinner ( complete with LOTS of desserts), and enjoyed some great Classical music.

We ended our day being rocked asleep in our cozy refurbished stateroomBon Voyage!

And so it begins…

 

HELLO Mom & Dad 

A couple days in Miami before our cruise means it’s opportunity to visit Mom & Dad Goode. They have been spending their winters in Cortez, Bradenton Beach area of Florida for the past few years.

We headed to the coast through the Everglades on the Tamiami highway. We saw lots of alligators and interesting birds but because we were short on time we didn’t stop for pictures. We decided to meet halfway on the west coast of Florida in a quaint little town called Matlacha (pronounced “mat-la-SHAY”)

Matlacha is one of five communities on Pine Island in the Cape Coral area.  It is an “Old Florida” fishing village, home to many brightly colored art galleries, island boutiques, seafood restaurants, and traditional Floridian cottages. We ate at a wonderful spot the “Blue Dog” The shrimp tacos and key lime pie were delish! We spent the afternoon browsing the shops and catching up with Mom & Dad.

After a bit more food we headed back to Miami to get a good night’s sleep!

Winter Vacay time 

Today is the beginning of our Winter Vacay!

Bright and early, up at 3am

and off to the airport for a 6:40 flight to Toronto

AND

and Toronto to Miami.

I love vacation time but Winter vacations are the VERY BEST!!! It’s the escape from snow and cold to sun and sand that REALLY makes me HAPPY!!!!!

 




Glenn & Holly ( David’s older brother and wife) are with us this vacay. We are looking forward to a great time! Goodnight from Miami!

 

 

FAT Tuesday 😂

FAT Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday aka…Pancake Day is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. So…the date is determined by Easter. Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.

This year Pancake Day is February 28th and for dinner tonight guess what we’ll enjoy?

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My phone must realize it’s soon time for vacation, it has been posting this message off and on all day! 😂

It’s time for a Haircut!!!!

In Chinese culture, the dragon is an auspicious animal that dominates clouds and rains. On the 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month is thought to be the day that dragon awakes and raises its head according to the Chinese folk legend. So the day is called Dragon Heads-raising Day. And there is a poplar Chinese idiom “二月二, 龙抬头” (èr yuè èr, lóng táitóu) which means ‘On the second day of the second lunar month, dragon raises its head’. After the day, spring is coming and there will be more and more rains. People think these credits go to the dragon.

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Today…February 27th is BLUE DRAGON Festival, not to be confused with Dragonboat Festival!

Also known as the Eryueer Festival(二月二), The Blue Dragon Festival, also known as the Zhonghe Festival or Longtaitou Festival, is a holiday closely tied to China’s ancient agrarian culture. It’s a traditional holiday meant to welcome the earliest tentative signs of spring and is held on the second day of the second month of the Chinese calendar.

Longtaitou literally translates to “dragon raising its head,” a reference to the animal believed to preside over all creatures and, importantly, control the rains. Farmers celebrate the Blue Dragon Festival to ensure favorable rainfall and plowing conditions for a strong harvest season.

Longtaitou Festival is celebrated in various ways, most of which are still identical to those practiced in the ancient times, including eating Chinese pancakes (春饼) and noodles. Haha, tomorrow it’s pancake day here in Canada!

It’s time to clean the house and get a haircut! Similar to housecleaning ( sweeping away Chinese New Year’s luck and good fortune if cleaning is done in the 1st lunar month), it’s considered bad luck to cut your hair during the 1st lunar month. Cutting your hair on the Blue Dragon Festival aligns yourself with the dragon’s dignity and power. Dragon is highly esteemed for its dignity and power for good. It is thought to be auspicious to cut hair on the Dragon Heads-raising Day. Luck and opportunities will always knock on your door in the year. So, on that day, barbershops’ businesses are prospering and full of customers. Time to get a haircut!!!! Hint, hint David!!! lol

And…Eat Dragon Foods…Dumplings are called the “dragon’s ears,” pancakes are the “dragon’s scales” and noodles are the “dragon’s beard,” to express hopes for rain and a good harvest.

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I just LOVE all the culture, special days and festivals in China!

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Spring is coming…time to get a haircut!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s HOME!!!

James, our youngest son is home from his Spring Break Vacay!

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We picked him up from the airport this afternoon. He was a little tired, yet pumped from his past week’s adventure!

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Last Friday night we saw him off at the airport and his adventures began…img_6445

James took lots of wonderful pictures and I can’t wait to see them all. Here are some of the pics he shared while he was away, just to stay in touch and I’ll share them with you because they are fantastic!

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MALAGA, SPAINimg_6497 img_6498 img_6505

GIBRALTAR


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AND my favourite ( on my bucket list now) CHEFCHAOUEN, MOROCCO, AFRICA16938862_10154777400246858_899182724571522951_n img_6621 img_6622

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One of the joys of travel is meeting new people. James and a new friend enjoy exploring CHAOUEN.img_6645

RABAT, MOROCCO

I’m so happy he had a wonderful vacation. I am so thankful he is home safe!!! I think it’s wonderful that he takes AWESOME photos that I can enjoy with him. I love the fact that adventure runs in our family and that we share this love of travel. And…I am thankful and excited that in a few more days my husband & I will be off on our own adventure!!!

We enjoyed hearing a few stories on the drive home and over a late lunch/early dinner ( James was starving)

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And James, being the thoughtful son he is brought back his Dad some Moroccan Dirham and me a keepsake from “the blue city” Chefchaouen …a beautiful little rug ( I’ll use it as a table runner) made by the Berber people. The symbols on it are Berber symbols. And some beautiful soap with mint, a very popular scent there.

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Thank you so much James, it’s wonderful to have you home!!

PS. If you’re on Instagram, you can follow James @jgoodephoto

 

 

Such a GORGEOUS day!! BUT Coldest Night of the Year!

it’s cold out there!!!! Ok Not so much. It’s actually pretty mild BUT …it’s the

Walk on tonight Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017!

The Coldest Night of the Year is a super-fun, family-friendly fundraiser that raises money for the hungry, homeless, and hurting across Canada. Bundle up and WALK!!

Our church’s teens and leaders are participating in this walk. It’s such a great activity and for a super great cause!

Today was a gorgeous day and great weather to be outside. We had errands to do, packing for our cruise, and David even had a bit of time to start getting his tan on…

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We had a simple dinner and are now vegging in front of the TV for a couple hours.

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Hope you’re having a nice relaxing Saturday!