Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Well at long last, here is the post about our wonderful trip. This could be the longest post ever but I will try to keep it short. First, a shout out to Jemima, who gave me the info on how to have a Flickr link on the blog so that you can see all of our lovely pictures without me putting all of them into this entry.

Anyhoo, it all started on December 1st, very, very early in the morning. Our flight left Toronto at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am, which meant that the car was picking us up at 4:30 AM - yes that means very fucking early! For all of you that know me well - I don't do mornings well at all! Thank heavens for our dear friends Rudi and Wendy who took our beloved Maggie for the entire time we were gone and we got to drop her off at their house the night before we left. This made leaving at the ungodly hour we did much, much easier.

The car arrives and takes us to the airport and it seems that there are many, many people leaving at the same time. Customs was jammed but because I am weird about the airport and arrival times, we had loads of time to get through, have an airport investment breakfast (translation - food that costs the earth) and be at the gate and board with the rest of the plebes in economy. At this moment as we walked through first class back into economy, I wish to holy hell that we could have gotten First Class seating with its large seats and leg room but we were denied. Wilson, God bless his bald head, did give it a good old college try as we are both plane snobs and love first class A LOT.

However it was not to be and as we were flying on points, we had an aisle and middle seat. I took the middle seat as Wilson is much taller than me and needs the leg room. I promptly fell asleep on his shoulder (did I mention that we had to get up at 4:00 am) and pretty much fell asleep for the entire flight. We landed in Charlotte, got a Jamba juice (yummy) and got on our next flight. We landed in lovely St. Maarten, collected our bags, cleared customs and headed out into the sunshine. At this point, we have been in transit for 13 or so hours and are in desperate need of a shower or a swim or both.

We arrive at our hotel - the Royal Sonesta Beach and Casino resort, get our room and head to the pool. Never has a dip in a lovely Caribbean pool felt so good on tired travellers bodies.

After we had a refreshing swim that washed the icky plane feeling away, we went to a lovely French restaurant and had a lovely dinner (with lots of wine and cheese). Then we slept the sleep of tired travellers.

Day 2
Spent the day at the beach and what a glorious day it was. It was hot and sunny and otherwise fabulous. We had the better part of the day to kill before Kacy and Ed landed and we headed off to our cruise.

Lovely Maho Beach
When they say the airport is 5 minutes from our hotel, they are not kidding. I swear on my dog pretty head that this picture is not photoshopped AT ALL!

My James Bond pose as Wilson likes to call it (don't worry Halle, your job is so safe). Right after this, I was knocked ass over teakettle by a 4 foot wave and had sand in places only Wilson has been!

My lovely husband, before he was my husband.

Then we left this lovely beach to go to the airport that was only 5 minutes away (see above picture) and pick up Kacy and Ed and begin our wonderful vacation together (we got a head start, they had to spend the night in Dallas). Off we go to the marina together to get on our 50' catamaran and begin our cruise around Sint Maarten. Of course for some strange reason (as we took pictures of EVERYTHING else (as you can see by the Flickr link now on the blog), for some reason we did not take pictures of our cabin) but it was lovely. We meet our fellow cruisers - Roger and Lynne from upstate New York and Diane and Andre from Quebec. Our ship's captain is Scottie and our first mate is Zena who are delightful and we wanted to bring them home with us.

We meet, chat and begin what will become our nightly ritual -- cocktails, chatter, canapes, cocktails and then dinner. We drank loads and ate a great meal of mahi mahi and then went to bed. There are no pictures of this fun evening as I was too concerned about holding my wine glass.

Day 3
We depart from Simpson Bay Harbour in Marigot and head for Anguilla. It is a great sail and we arrive in Anguilla Harbour and head into shore to the only bar - Johnnos. We all decide that we would rather drink and go for a walk along the beach rather than go on an island taxi tour. We all make our way back to the boat and spend the evening in lovely Anguilla Harbour.

Anguilla hot spot - Johnno's

The gang doing what we do best - sitting and drinking!
Day 4
Day 4 of our trip dawns and it is a bit cloudy with a fair bit of wind. We are all game and decide that we are going to head to Sandy Island - a reef just off the coast of Anguilla. It is totally uninhabited but has a small shelter on it that you can use to have lunch or relax. Apparently some brave soul tried to open a restaurant or bar on it and it didn't really go all that well (not surprising since it is a deserted island) but it worked for us. It was a bit of a rough ride over to the island and a number of storms passed us by but for us it was a slice of heaven.

Sandy Island

The Shack on Sandy Island
Shipwreck on Sandy Island
At one point, Wilson and I are laying together in the hammock and Kacy comes over to get us saying there is a surprise for us. And what a surprise it was - we were given vine headresses, I was given a small 'bouquet' and we were 'married' by our ship captain and surrounded by our fellow travellers. It was so wonderful and touching that they would all do this for us. We popped champagne and celebrated our beach wedding in grand style.

Walking up the aisle at the Sandy Beach Cathedral

First kiss as husband and wife (sort of)
Back to the boat we go and we moored on the other side of Anguilla for the evening. There was a gorgeous villa on that we could stare at until the sun went down. I tried to talk Ed into buying it and then we would all come and visit him and Kacy - but he was more interested in his Carib than real estate.

Wilson, DiDi, Captain Scottie and First Mate Zena - after they 'married' us
Day 5
We sail to just off the beach of Grand Case - on the other side of St. Maarten. It is lovely and totally French and littered with amazing restaurants. However, i am getting ahead of myself as I almost drowned...

We drop anchor and all and sundry decide what they are going to do for the afternoon. Stay on the boat and relax, snorkel - whatever strikes your fancy. I am not a big snorkeler but I decide that there are fish to be seen and I haven't done this in a while so lets give it a whirl. I get my mask and fins, get my self into the boat and head out with the others to go for a snorkel. Once in the water, I remember why I hate snorkeling (yes I know - a wee bit too late). I hate breathing through my mouth, I hate salt water in my mouth, I hate salt water in my eyes (I wear contacts and it really hurts) and most of all I hate it when my mask leaks and I almost drown.

I tried to be a trooper but the burning eyes and leaking mask got the best of me. Kacy and I head back to the boat but by this point my eyes are burning out of my head due to the water in my mask and my lovely contacts being in my eyes. It hurts to have them open with the sunshining in them, it hurts to close them, they are watering up a storm. All in all it was very difficult to swim back to the boat. I manage to get a whistle off and get Scottie's attention and he comes and fetches me. Now let me tell you - there is absolutely NO graceful way to re-enter a dinghy from the water. Scottie has to help haul my almost drowned and blind ass back into the boat. At that moment, he was wishing I was the size of Nicole Richie - but I like food and will never, ever be considered a waif.

I get back to the boat and take my contacts out - yeah for blessed release. However, my eyes will not stop watering and I cannot sit outside as the sun hurts them. I have a beer to console myself. Wilson is appropriately concerned and keeps the beer coming. He is a very good man! Bad eyes will not keep my from drining or going ashore to have a great dinner with wonderful friends.

We go ashore and walk around Grand Case and are presented with so many wonderful restaurants to choose from. Amazing traditional French cuisine, Carribean barbecue, Italian - you name it, it's there. Some with a lovely beach view but all with very yummy sounding menus. We finally decide on a lovely French restaurant for dinner and the food is fantastic. We were VERY full when we got ourselves back to the boat and we relaxed with a after dinner drink under the moon with the ocean breezes keeping us cool.

Grand Case Pier

The four of us at dinner
Day 6

Scuba boy
Isn't he cute
Wilson, whose French improves so much when he drinks, understands it and reads it but doesn't speak it very well at all. His instructor's grasp of English is as good as Wilson's French. Somehow, the 2 of them figure it out and he gets him ready and off they go. He dove down to 40 feet, saw a stingray, lots of fish, went through a shipwreck and had a blast.

Man of Action

We go back to the boat and go ashore at Tintamarre - which is an uninhabited island known for its healing mud. We all follow Scottie away from the beach to the mud area and begin to dig up the good mud - apparently there are 3 kinds - and mix it with sea water. Once it is mixed, we all start slathering it on our bodies. We all cover ourselves from head to toe and make our way back to the beach. We have to let the mud dry on our skin for the best effect and when we get to the beach, Wilson decides to use up the last of the mud on both Kacy and I and dumps it on our heads. Yup, we were officially covered from head to toe in mud. Mud was everywhere on us - seriously everywhere.
We all sit in the sun waiting for the mud to dry and, of course drinking Carib - YUMMY! Once the mud was dry, we raced into the sea and rinsed ourselves clean. I will tell you that my skin felt so soft. It was a total blast and I have paid a lot of money for the spa mud bath experience and this was as good and free.

The muddy gang of Restless Spirit
Once we were all back on Restless Spirit, we sailed over by Orient Bay for the evening and had dinner. It was another amazing day and once in a lifetime experience.
Day 7
We wake up at Orient Bay and it looks so pretty with its yellow umbrellas and patio chairs. The sea was kind of rough but we didn't care because we sailed to St. Barth's. It was the best sail ever - we hit 12 foot waves and Wilson and I were riding the jump seats for a while. The jump seats are 2 little seats at the far front of the boat and your feet hang over the ocean. You feel like you are riding a roller coaster as the boat goes up and down over the waves. Sitting in the jump seats was the best fun - you feel like you are going up so high and then your feet come down and go into the water. It was a total blast!

A great sail to St. Barths

St. Barth's Harbour

Then I drove the boat for most of the way to St. Barth's and developed new muscles in my arms. It was much harder to steer than our boat but then we are never out in 12 foot waves on Lake Ontario.
We get to St. Barths and have a great afternoon - well at least I did as Wilson was a wee bit hungover. I bought myself a great bathing suit that I thought was priced in US dollars but when the credit card bill came in, it was actually in Euros -- EEEEK! It is now called the investment bathing suit.
Came back to the boat after a great afternoon and we pulled around the other side of the harbour and watched the sunset over St. Barths. It was absolutely gorgeous. What was even more beautiful was watching the moon rise once the sun went down. It was a full moon and so bright it was almost like you could read by it.
Day 8
Day 8 dawned gorgeous and sunny - God I do love the Caribbean for the AMAZING weather. We had a wonderful breakfast aboard and then weighed anchor for Simpson Bay harbour in St. Maarten. We had to be back for the afternoon bridge or the complications with customs would be ugly. It was a great sail back and we went right by the spot where we would get married the next day. The weather was so amazing - just enough wind to get going at a decent speed but not so windy that you couldn't move around the boat thinking that you were going to fly off.

Maho Beach

The Gang from Restless Spirit
Day 9 - also known as Wedding Day.
The day dawned bright and early and we all had to depart the boat by 9am. After a quick breakfast, we packed up and headed for our hotel and of course to get married. Needless to say, it was an amazing day and I have documented that day in a previous post so I won't bore you all with the details again.
Day 10
Well it seems that the party is over and it is time to call it a day. We are scheduled to be on a flight at 5pm returning home via Charlotte to Toronto. Home to our wonderful house, our gorgeous dog Maggie and to married life. But before we do that, we spend the day with our dear friends Kacy and Ed doing nothing but wandering, having a few cocktails and waiting for our flights.
We sat at a bar that literally is at the end of the runway at the St. Maarten airport and watched planes coming and going. You could see the people on the planes as they flew overhead. We went and stood in the jet wash of a 767 as it took off - why you might ask, because we could is the answer.
And then we made our way to the airport for our departure. Of course, we had purchased duty free booze and Wilson being the careful packer that he is, carefully packed our scotch and wine our carry on baggage. To him it is not liquid but liquor and they are different. This of course, is no longer allowed and off he goes back to the check in area to check our bag of booze. Of course in our bag of booze is our plane clothes - long pants and a fleece for me as I freeze on planes and pants for Wilson. They had to stay in the bag to cushion the booze so we were going to get on the plane in our current state. Let me paint a picture - cute white and black golf shirt, very short skirt with St. Barths on the ass and my bright blue Croc flip flops. Wilson is at least in shorts and a golf shirt with his flip flops. We get on the flight and if you ever want the best service on a plane, carry a wedding bouquet with you. The flight attendants are all over you and are very kind and bring you drinks, etc.
However, this makes the flight sound uneventful which is was not. I look up at one point and notice a familiar face. It is our company's President & COO - and he was wearing RED PANTS! I say to Wilson, is that Nadir? Wilson is not sure and then, I am not sure why but I got up and introduced myself and lo and behold, it was Nadir. He was on vacation with his lovely wife and a local Toronto news anchor and his partner as well as a former company exec who is now the official leader of the opposition for Ontario. He also used to work at our company and Wilson knew him. As I am turning around from our brief chat, I realize as I am walking away that I am wearing the smallest skirt I own and it says St. Barth's on the ass. My mortification is now complete.
I spend the flight freezing and re-reading Memoirs of a Geisha and finally we land in Charlotte. We quickly repack the booze in our real luggage, put on our long pants etc and get ready to board the plane home.
Needless to say, it was not as warm in Toronto as it was in St. Maarten but we were home and married.
It was the best vacation for a number of reasons but mostly because I was with my beloved. We were relaxed and happy and that is all that you can ask for in a vacation.
Whew! There it is at long last - our vacation and honeymoon story.
Still on our honeymoon kisses to all,

Day 6 dawns lovely and sunny and we sail from Grand Case to just off Tintamare. For those who were going to scuba (not me) we have a dive master and his boat coming to the boat to get all those who are interested. Wilson, who has always wanted to scuba, signs up for a learning dive and Kacy, Andre and Diane are all avid scuba people and get ready to go. I am not such and avid scuba person and go just to take photos.

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