This is how we are able to travel to so many fantastic places. Here’s a taste of the party in our lounge this past Halloween 2011 on board the Golden Princess. Thanks to our friend Bill for the video.
Strange how once in a while when you’re traveling, it’s hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. You only have a couple hours to look around each time you’re in port and it can be very hurried. So I guess in the end it makes sense that we wouldn’t really get into snorkeling until our very last cruise.
On our last day on the Big Island in Hilo, we met up with our favorite taxi driver, _. He’s the guy who told us to eat at Ocean Sushi and once owned a morgue in Manhattan. That day, he picked us up at the Farmers Market and dropped us off at Richardson Beach. He also helped us out with a set of snorkel gear to boot.
Hawaii is amazing and it’s beaches are breathtaking for sure. I’ve never been to a beach where the sand was so black as at Richardsons. You know, burned lavarock type dirt. When I walked into the ocean and felt the small pebbles of sea churned lava seep into my shoes, I had no idea what was in store underneath the water and tread lightly. We traded the mask on and off, Matt then Jake. Just when they handed the mask over to me, our friend Denise yelled, “Come over here. There’s a huge sea turtle.” Off I paddled face down trying not to squeal like a little kid. Sure enough just down a few feet below me, there it swam… or sorta floated. A big orb of a shell with scupper like feet cruising around. It wasn’t working super hard at staying afloat. The sea turtle just munched on the coral. All our shipmates were swimming, surrounding it, but he paid us no mind and just carried on.
We only had one opportunity to visit Aruba while we were on this cruise. The night before, we tried to make some plans with our friends to get off the ship as early as we could once we arrived in port. We only had a few hours there that day as our ship left for the next port around 1 pm and the crew had to be on board around noon. So we set our alarm for 6 am as we were to be in port at 7. In port, we cruised around the little downtown area of Oranjestaad through the streets lined with pink and light yellow buildings. Past a nice outdoor mall with lots of high end brands that I recognized from home like Gucci, Louis Vitton, Polo and more. Funny, as I haven’t really been to a mall since I got on this ship to shop for anything. I’m not really missing it much, but it’ll be fun to go to Sommerset when I get home for sure. 🙂
Anyway, the whole reason we were walking around was to find our friend Matt and see if we could figure out a place to get some breakfast before going to the beach. So, after walking all around the downtown area, we ended up a a Dunkin’ Doughnuts as it was the only place open at 7:15 am. It worked out perfectly as we found Matt at the same place. So we ordered a Guava filled doughnut, some egg crossaint sandwiches and coffees. We sat on the patio and overlooked the bay and munched our breakfast.
We decided to catch a cab to the beach. As we hopped in, our driver told us a few fun facts about Aruba. Best one that I recall is that all the beaches are public. So no matter where he stopped, we could have gotten out and enjoyed the beach. We asked to go to a place where there was a cafe, some tiki huts and possibly a place to scuba. So he dropped us off by the Ramada where Frank Sinatra used to stay. As we walked down to the beach, I really thought I had stepped into someones screen saver. People buy posters, postcards, and photos of beaches from Aruba and hang them in their office cubicles… And there I was walking right through them to my very own little tiki hut with lounge chairs and lovely rum cocktails. Amazing. All I can say, is the best place to go to the beach is Aruba. You can’t go wrong and everyone we ran into spoke English.