Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ode to the Beach

Ah, the beach. I've been thinking a lot about the beach lately. For one thing, days and days on end of dreary weather really makes one long for a sunny, sandy vacation. Also, although Eric and I are unbelievably excited about our upcoming Europe trip (Eric emailed me to say so this morning, and I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it), we're a little bummed that we'll have to skip a week at the beach this year. I've told you before that we're big beach bums, so although we know we're going to have an incredible time overseas, a little part of me is sad we won't get that week of seaside relaxation.

So, I decided that if I am not going on a beach vacation this year, maybe I should relive old ones. I pulled out all my old beach vacation pictures (since Eric and I met) and got to reminiscing. Then I decided I would share these pictures with you, because who doesn't like to look at old pictures? I know I do. So, lets take a trip down Beach Memory Lane!

Side note: Sorry for the poor quality of most of these pictures. All of them up until the honeymoon ones were taken with a disposable camera, then scanned - not exactly the best strategy for high-quality photos.

Beach Vacation #1: Cayman Islands, July 1999

Eric and I took our first vacation about 10 months after we started dating. He was 16 years old, and I think I had just turned 17. Eric's dad and stepmom own a timeshare at Morritt's Tortuga Club in the Cayman Islands, and in July of 1999, they decided to take the three W. kids down to the resort with them. The best part? They were nice enough to let little ol' me tag along, too! It was my first trip out of the country, first time being that far away from my parents, and first trip with a boooooy. Oooh, la la.

We had a blast, and after this trip, I was hooked. We made friends with other kids at the resort - visitors and locals alike. We partay-ed on the Dock every night. I tasted my first Cayman Lemonade. I swam with the stingrays for the first time. I rode a wave-runner for the first time. We even stayed up all night with our new friends on our last night so that we could watch the sun rise. So, so fun.

Eric and me in the hammock. Yes, my hair really is that short.

Holding a stingray for the first time!

And although it was my first time traveling with my boyfriend, I probably spent more time with Eric's sister Kelley than with Eric himself! Kelley and I had a great time.

Kelley and me before riding the wave-runner. (My hair is going for the "beachy look" here, I think.)

Beach Vacation #2: Cayman Islands, March 2003

Well, after the first trip to the Caymans I had a little Cayman hiatus. You know, I had other things to do - high school graduation, college, etc. Eric did get to go without me one time between 1999 and 2003, but the next time I was able to join the W. family in the Caymans again was Spring Break of my junior year in college, when I was 20 years old. This time, we were sans Kelley, but Eric's brother Ronnie brought along his friend Tom.

Tom, Ronnie, Suellen, Ron Sr., Me and Eric. I am loving Ronnie's bleached blonde 'do here.

As always, we had a wonderful time. There were a few particularly memorable points from this trip.

The first was the wahoo. Oh, the wahoo. Have you ever eaten wahoo? Do it immediately. Eric's dad and stepmom went on a deep sea fishing excursion with Captain Herman and caught this enormous wahoo. Then Captain Herman brought it back to our room at the resort and cooked it for us. The only ingredient I can remember going into it was ketchup. And I think there was rice. Sounds awful, yes? Oh, but it was to die for. Best fish I have ever eaten to this day. And there was so much of it! It fed all of us plus the other few people who had been on the fishing trip, and we had leftovers for days. Amazing.

The second memorable thing was the sunset sail we took. It was very peaceful and relaxing, and came with rum punch, which is never a bad thing.

Eric and me on the sunset sail

The third memorable thing was Tom's sunburn. Oh, poor Tom. I have never seen a redder person.

Unfortunately, I cannot find my full set of pictures from this trip, which contains pictures of both the wahoo and poor, red Tom. The only pictures I have are the few that made their way into my college scrapbook.

In the new infinity pool. I apologize if this is inappropriate, but how hot does Eric look in this picture?!

Beach Vacation #3: Grand Bahama Island, 2004

We took a break from the Cayman Islands (and the W. family) for Spring Break of my senior year of college and went to the Bahamas with our friends (and later roommates) Coral and Alexis. We cruised there out of Ft. Lauderdale and stayed for 4 or 5 days, if memory serves me.

Coral, Eric, me and Alexis.
I got very, very sunburned on our first day there, so spent the rest of the trip in the shade or in a t-shirt.

We stayed at the Xanadu Resort in Freeport. Needless to say, our hotel experience. Disappointing and weird. We had a giant living area room, half of which had no furniture. In the whole place, I think we had one working lamp. Why? I don't know. And the customer service was awful.

Other than that, we had a pretty good time. We beached, we sand-sculpted, we shopped and ate and drank Kalik beer. We even did totally smart and responsible things like buying drinks out of the back of some guy's car. You know, the kind of things that only sound like a good idea in college.

Rum in your trunk? Sounds great!

Fun with signs

Beach Vacation #5: Cayman Islands, June 2004

Although we had fun in the Bahamas in March, we had the need for more beach in 2004, so we returned to the Caymans once again with the W. family. This time, in addition to the parents, it was Eric, me, and my sister Heather. Yay, Heather got to come! I particularly enjoyed this trip because Heather and Eric are my two most favorite people ever, so to have them with me in my most favorite place ever was just too good to be true.

Heather and me on the Dock

We did a lot of fun things this time, too. For one thing, it was nice just to have a beach buddy who wanted to do nothing but tan with me. Eric is nice at the beach, sure, but he also likes to do things like play golf and volleyball and that sort of thing. I'm much more of a "sit and fall asleep in the sun" type of beach-goer. As is my sister. So, it was nice to have someone to just lounge around and drink tropical beverages with on the beach or in the pool.

Heather and me on the beach

And if we're not on the beach, we're drinking in the pool!

We also entered - and WON - a sand sculpture contest! We sculpted Sir Turtle, the unofficial national logo of the Cayman Islands. We won a bottle of rum! Hooray!

Eric, Heather and me with our winning sand sculpture

Sir Turtle, and a closer view of our sculpture. Not bad, eh?

This was also the trip when Eric and I played - and WON! - the Newlywed Game. We were still two years away from even being engaged, and we beat three sets of real newlyweds and another couple that had already been married 7 years! We won rum cakes and another bottle of rum in this one.

Eric and me after the Newlywed Game, with our winnings

I've already shared quite a few pictures of this trip, but why not a couple more for good measure? Just because I like 'em.

Heather in George Town with the statue for a famous local rum

Back in the hammock. Check out my tan - this is probably the only time in the history of our relationship that I have been darker than Eric!

I love this pic of Heather and Eric wading through the cold water in the infinity pool!

Also, not pictured: me nearly getting my face eaten by an iguana at Rum Point. Fun times.

Beach Vacation #6: Cayman Islands, August 2007 - HONEYMOON!

Oh, this was a good one! But how can your honeymoon NOT be a good one? Oh, well, actually I can answer that one, because it almost wasn't. We were supposed to head down to the Caymans the day after wedding, but Hurricane Dean had other plans. He hit the Caymans the very day we were supposed to arrive. Thankfully, we were able to postpone our plans by a week, and Dean didn't hit the Caymans directly (as he was predicted to do), so by the time we got there, all the power, etc. was back on. The infinity pool was closed because there was sand all in it, and there was some damage to the Dock, but other than that, it was all good. Oh wait, not totally. The airline also left our luggage in Tampa on the way down, and didn't get it to us until almost two days later. But other than that, it was all good!

The highlight of this trip (other than the fact that we were MARRIED, yay!) was the sunset sail we took for dinner one night. One of the resort hosts' boyfriend owned a boat and he would take people from Kaibo Yacht Club to the other side of the island for dinner at The Fisherman's Reef. The sunset was gorgeous, the food was divine (and paid for by some very generous people on our boat), and we were able to see a spectacular moonrise over the water as we ate. Then we sailed back under the stars. Helloooo, romance.

With our complimentary "Happy Honeymoon" dessert at The Fisherman's Reef

Other than that, most of the week was spent enjoying the beach and each other. We didn't turn the TV on once, and we slept on the sleeper sofa in the living area of our room, so that we could open our sliding doors and hear the sound of the surf as we slept. Glorious.

Also, I wore a big floppy hat.

Married feet

Mudslide Madness at the pool bar

Fun in the hammock yet again

Beach Vacation #7, the last one to date: Cayman Islands, August 2008

We decided to return to the Caymans again for our first anniversary. This time things went a little smoother, although our flight there was cancelled because of some mechanical problem and rescheduled for the next day. So, not as bad as the previous year, but still annoying!

I won't belabor this one because you can read a very, very in-depth recounting of our trip here. But, a couple highlights from this one were the bike ride to Vivine's Kitchen for an authentic home-cooked Cayman lunch (and the best lemonade EVER)...

Riding my bike to lunch

Eric at Vivine's Kitchen

...the return to Stingray City...

Ready to snorkel!

Smooching a stingray

...the sunsets...


...and just being together, celebrating our first year of wedding bliss.

Anniversary kiss

More mudslide madness

Oh, and the refrigerated aloe. There was some more redness happening on this trip, so that refrigerated aloe vera was a major highlight.

So, you can see that Eric and I have had a lot of fun times at the beach together. We will definitely miss it this year. But, we are so, so excited about our Europe trip, and who knows? Maybe after traveling abroad we will be hit with the bug to see the world, and will shelve the beach thing for a while. Anything is possible!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I loved this post, cliff & I are such beach bums too haha! Since we had to cancel our Savannah trip for our 2nd anniv. due to cliff's new job(totally bummed) I think we're gonna do a weekend at the beach..ahhhhh fruity drinks by the pool :-)