Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Caribbean Cruise Part Two: Atlantis and Coco Cay

Yesterday completely got away from me, but it isn't all bad. Actually, it was a gorgeous day and we spent most of it outside. You won't find me complaining one bit. :) I've got big plans to do Levi's second birthday portraits for today since it's supposed to be our brightest, sunniest day of the week...we'll see how it goes.

I cannot believe that it was one whole week ago that I was smooching a dolphin! I am not kidding when I tell you that I have spent the better part of thirty years dreaming of being up close to dolphins. I think I chose the wrong profession, ha ha. Maybe there's a chance for a midlife career change for me. Stranger things have happened. ;)

So today's post is all about the second half of our cruise: excursion day at Atlantis and beach day at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean's private island. For today's post, I'm sticking with pictures and general descriptions, but since I was looking for very detailed information when planning our trip, I'm going to write a separate post with lots of details, plus things we liked and things we didn't like so much. Okay, onto the photos...

I have to start with this one. I could have spent ALL DAY LONG swimming with this girl. I'm already thinking up plans to go back asap, though the bank account would certainly not support that plan!

As a northern girl, the sight of palm trees never gets old to me. I just love them. Isn't this view spectacular?!

Taking a ferry boat over to Atlantis. It was a fun ride, but we just sat and waited. And waited. One of the guys who owned the boat told us snippets of interesting info about the area, and then pointed out some small cabin that was blown up in an old 007 movie- he was quite proud of that one. :)

We finally made it to Atlantis! This was part of the lazy river that winds around the water park. It was awesome, though sadly, I did not get to ride it. :(  But the older kids did and they loved it!

I did that! I did that! And Ethan says to me right before we fly down, "Oh yeah, be prepared for the biggest wedgie of your life." And he was NOT kidding. Yikes! I guess that kind of kept me from flipping out over the ride because I was so focused on what a giant wedgie would be like, and then when it happened, I was terrified of flashing everyone around me, ha ha.
The other side of this ride is an even steeper descent that sends you into a tunnel with a shark tank above. The kids all did that one, but I was happy to just watch the sharks from above. Little did I know that we'd be swimming with a shark the next day... Isabelle and I got to watch their feeding time too- it was freakishly cool.

Poor Levi didn't feel too great on this day. He had a prickly heat rash and I think he may have had a reaction to the new sunscreen we used. But look how adorable he is in that one piece!!

Ethan waited with me to get our dolphin photos- I'll share the rest later. Sometimes it just hits me: our life is never going to be the same. Such change is on the horizon, and I'm so thankful for all the special time we had together on this trip.

There were neat tanks all around- stingrays, sharks, other creepy fish, and my favorite: sea turtles!! I thought we'd be back to take a picture of them, but we didn't end up going that way again. Boo. There were tiny babies, medium ones and some pretty big ones- they were so cute!

We walked through the casino and then Isabelle wanted a picture by this pretty sculpture. I wish we could have spent another several days at Atlantis- good to know for future planning.... ;)

We had a much quicker ride back to the cruise than we had had earlier that day, so we played around before dinner. I forgot to mention that in the morning, there were thunderstorms and I was dying on the inside. I talked a good talk for the kids' sake, but really I was devastated. And then the clouds blew away and the sun popped out and it was the most perfect day! Absolutely beautiful.

 Apparently someone was feeling much better at this point.

ha ha ha ha

 Sorry, I can't help myself, so why bother trying? :)

This next one is just for me, so I will always remember the funny way he would march off. His left arm swinging out from the elbow and his right arm acting like kind of a propeller, pushing him ahead. He did it every.single.time!! And he would wiggle his was just the cutest thing!

Trying to spot Isabelle. She spent approximately nine hours per day here, ha ha.

Big brothers #allthehearteyes

We got back to our room to find this cute frog. I loved it!

After dinner strolls...this was my favorite sunset. It was breathtaking!

We couldn't believe how quickly the sun sank below the horizon. I was literally running along the deck to capture it- it was glowing so intensely orange, I couldn't get over it. These pictures don't remotely do it justice. It was amazing.

Getting ready to leave Nassau-

The next day we headed out for Coco Cay to have a relaxing day on the beach and to swim and snorkel. The sun was super intense but Levi was well covered. Gotta keep that fair skin protected.

We found hundreds of hermit crabs! Every single shell we found turned out to be a tiny crab, and they were feisty. They'd poke right out of the shell and glare at you. Not like our timid Northern hermit crabs. These were much, much smaller too. I honestly didn't even know they could be that tiny.

After feasting on a huge BBQ buffet, time for the walk-nap. I told Bill we weren't going to put everything on hold for him to sleep, but he was SO miserable when he didn't that it just wasn't worth it. So we got exercise while everyone else lounged around for an hour.

The kids and I explored the shops, too. Well, more like vendor huts.That's when we found these fellas. One scared me to death because I hadn't seen it and suddenly it was charging at me. Fun.

I wanted him to smile for me because the background looked so colorful and cute, but he had had it by then. This was right around the time that Isabelle was going to go catch up with Dad and the guys to go snorkeling...and a 3.5 foot shark cruised past us!!! All of a sudden there was a crowd gathering and some guy videotaping- and getting way too close for my comfort- and the shark swam in and out around us for several minutes. I thought it was neat because we were near the shore, and I didn't think he could actually harm us. I would NOT have thought it was neat if we met up with him out in deeper water. YIKES.

He was feeling all kinds of lively at dinner that night. What a firecracker!

Yes, our selfie days are long gone. He throws the biggest fit now when I don't let him take a thousand burst pics, and he always lunges for the phone, so... bye bye Mama baby boy selfies.

You can kind of see my pretty dress. Or at least the lace detail at the yoke. :)

Another gorgeous sky

And a nice walk with my Jonah!

I loved watching all the stars from the middle of the ocean. You can see a planet here toward the right.

I think this is the very last picture I took aboard the cruise because it was a little frantic thinking about packing up and getting out early the next morning. We had been ten pounds over with our luggage- we packed EVERYTHING into two suitcases- and I was determined to not have to pay another fee for overage. And we made it, with half a pound to spare! HA

Anyway, one last movie night poolside. Actually, they watched the other movies from the pool and hot tub. We didn't stay long with Mr. Must Jump In The Water because all he wanted to do was jump in the water, ha ha ha. He was fast asleep in bed twenty minutes after this. :)

Things went smoothly exiting the ship and then we grabbed the rental van and found a McDonald's. Exciting, right?

That place had the most beautiful flowers!!

Somewhere en route, we received an email saying that our flight was delayed by four hours. Ugh. Not what you want to hear, but what can you do?

We logged in over 15k steps just at the airport, ha! No sitting around for us! Which is more than I can say for our lazy bone kids...

After yet another delay, the announcement of a much later departure, and then back to the second delay time, we were finally off. The moon looked to cool!

But Levi was not impressed. It was a long flight back. Lots of tired, hungry babies who were done with waiting around and being cooped up inside an airplane. That said, I really think they did a very good job, all things considered.

Okay, I'm interrupting this post - UPS just zipped up our road and then proceeded to wail on the horn before stepping out to leave a package in my open garage. Why do they insist on honking? It's not like they're even handing the package to me? They're just dropping off. Ugh, drives me bonkers. Is that standard practice everywhere??

One last pretty view before we dipped into the clouds and couldn't see a THING. Like, really, nothing.

We made it home around 8:30. It was a terrible ride home. Levi was done. He finally stopped shrieking about twenty minutes away, and it was an hour and a half ride. Ouch. The next day we just did stuff around the house, including eighteen loads of laundry. :) While some things were downright awful- I'll share those in another post- I am so, so thankful for the chance to make these memories with our children. And if you're still reading, then you deserve a medal. HA

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