A Week in the ABC Islands

img_6100

Earlier this year the Queen and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. So after the hustle and bustle during the majority of 2016, we decided to treat ourselves to an 8 day cruise in a spacious mini-suite aboard the Caribbean Princess.

img_6093 img_6092

The itinerary took us to the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We had already been to the A of the ABCs (Aruba) before and were looking forward to saying “Bon Bini” to the B and C portion for the first time. They did not disappoint.

Our first stop took us to Curacao (and you can get all the island details HERE) after two days of sailing. As with all Southern Caribbean islands, it was of course, beautiful.

img_6162

I don’t remember the name of the excursion (snorkeling, of course) we undertook. To be truthful, it was forgettable. The water was spectacular  – a comfy 83 degrees – but the double decker on-boat logistics and aloof crew left us frustrated. From the time we anchored, we waited nearly 15 minutes to get into the water because the crew wanted to let the ground floor snorkelers out first – about 50 of them. Couple that with another on-site double decker boat with around 70 snorkelers in the water, and it was 30 minutes of being kicked and run into the whole time.  So by the time we finally got into the water, it wasn’t pleasant.

img_6129

The city center was better, as well as lunch. We hit up the Burger Bar and had a couple of stacked burgers. Pretty expensive, but tasty.

img_6153

img_6154

Back to the ship…

img_6142

and onto the next stop:

img_6195

Bonaire.

img_6194

Bonaire….is beautiful. It’s that simple. It has the clearest water we’ve ever seen. We thought Grand Cayman and Cozumel were the clearest – that is until we got to Bonaire.

img_6168 img_6171

The water was like swimming in an aquarium. Spectacular. The fish were not afraid of humans and you could swim right up to nearly touch them.

We went out on the Mushi Mushi and the folks there were beyond charming. Very informative, friendly and kind. Their rum punch was pretty good too. Strong. So they get another thumbs up for that one.

Once we got back to shore, there was a delicious wafting in the air. Smelled really good. Picture a cartoon Shell King smelling food and floating in mid-air towards it. That was me.

img_6190

I floated towards a little Indonesian food booth where Mama-san was cookin’ up some real island goodies.

img_6188

img_6191

All locally made – grilled asian chicken with rice, noodles, pickled cucumbers and chicken livers and hot hot hot sauce….and it was only $8.50

We knew it was gonna be good because we were told that the island locals swarm her booth when she opens. Good lord. It was amazing. Yet another reason why we’d like to go back to Bonaire tomorrow and set up a Shell King satellite office. All kidding aside – Bonaire is now my favorite place in the Caribbean.

img_6215

Our last stop took us to Aruba, where in the morning, we traipsed around the city doing a little shopping.

img_6201

Later that afternoon, we snorkeled and boated with the world famous Jolly Pirates.

img_6219

Those guys and their ship were flat out awesome.

img_6214

We spent three and a half hours snorkeling, swimming and drinking rum punch. What a ball.

img_6229

img_6222

The Jolly Pirates are also known for their rope swing. You stand on the platform (to the top right of the Queen in the pic above), swing out and let go into the water. You know I couldn’t resist.

img_6238 img_6239

We had a ton of fun in all three of the ABCs.

Eight days was simply not enough. Not enough good food. Not enough good rest. Not enough good times.

img_6249 img_6248 img_6101 img_6115

….So we’re going to need to do all of this again real soon.

img_6165

Happy 10th Anniversary to My Queen.

img_6252

Until next time, friends….

Ahhhhh, Lobstah!

I know. It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken to each other. It’s not that we don’t love you anymore. It’s just….we’ve met someone else. Her name is Life. I know I’ve said it before, but life sure does get in the way of a good time, doesn’t it? Not to say we don’t have a good time. We do. We just haven’t had time to share it here on the blog. Not saying this is the start of a renewed blogging friendship either, but hey…who knows?

0813160827wm

This weekend, we made a day trip to Key West for Lobsterfest. One of our favorite things to do, and normally when Lobsterfest rolls around, we make it a long weekend, hop in the car and take our time rolling through the beautiful Florida Keys. This time, it was pretty spontaneous. Thanks to some very good friends who hooked us up with some tickets, we decided to hop on the Key West Express and make it a day trip.

0813160825awm

Depending on the day you travel (and how long in advance you book), you’re looking at between $99 and $150 for a round trip. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour ride, so consider it somewhat like a long plane flight. For us, instead of the 6 hour drive, we got there in 3 and a half.

0813160724awm

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the boat. It was clean and cozy with a snack bar, drink bar and plenty of TVs with satellite for entertainment along the way.

0813160852wm 0813160855wm

I ventured up to the top deck to take in the scenery. If you’re not careful, whatever is in your hand (or on your head) is gonna go flyin into the ocean. The boat is cookin pretty good – between 40-45 knots.

0813160854wm

Like I said, long ride. So if this is something you’d enjoy doing, make sure you pack some magazines, snacks and things to entertain you. After about 2 hours, I was starting to get antsy. The Key West Express is a good idea if you’re in town on vacation and don’t have time to make the 12 hour round trip drive. Me? I prefer the drive. The ability to stop off and get in the water, check out the scenery, drive the 7 Mile Bridge….that’s what I prefer. Not saying I wouldn’t take the KWE again – I would if I needed to. But big picture – it’s not for me.

IMG_8639

But we came for the Lobster. The sweet sweet lobster. I’ll take it any way I can get it. Boat, drive – doesn’t matter. Just bring me lobster.

IMG_6066

And we got lobster. Like years before, my first stop was the Lobster Roll.

Delicious.

IMG_2244

After slamming the Maine Roll in two bites and washing it down with an ice cold beer, I quickly moved onto the Lobster and Shrimp taco…Which was the best taco I’ve ever eaten.

 IMG_2363

The Queen got the lobster Mac n Cheese with a lobster slider…which I helped her finish. My father-in-law says that when it comes to festivals, I’m like a shark. I bite something, then swim around a little while just to bite something else.

Know what? He’s right.

IMG_5444

IMG_4928

No trip to Key West is complete until you’ve walked Duval end to end to see the sights.

IMG_1772

Chased a few chickens….

IMG_0936

….eaten some Key Lime Pie

0813161335wm

…and stopped off in Mallory Square.

IMG950732

IMG_0769wm

::insert innuendo here::

IMG_0767wm

It wasn’t as hot as it had been in previous years. But with that long and bumpy boat ride and coupled with 90 degree heat, we both had headaches and needed to sit for a bit in the A/C.

IMG954749

 IMG_6052

Due to the lack of time (you’re only on shore about 4 hours before you have to board the boat back home), we grabbed something chilly to drink (and wash down the Excedrin) and moseyed along back towards the pier for our return.

IMG950841

A dip in a pool would have been really nice.

Just not THAT pool.

IMG_4428wm

It was a fun day. Both short (in the time we actually were in KW) and long (that boat ride, whew!). Despite how convenient it is for some (and it really is a cool boat), I don’t think I’d do the boat again. Four hours to get there, four hours on shore and four hours to get home. No, thanks. For me, driving is the ticket.

Luckily, we’ll be doing some Keys driving in the next few weeks, as we return there for a little lobstering and diving.

20150911_1438120

Can’t wait for that!