The best laid plans of mice and men

So. Where do I start?

At the beginning?

Shall I start in the middle and work outwards?

It was most certainly an interesting holiday.   The ship was huuuuuuuuuuuuge.

Ventura

The family were excited, the food was brilliant.  I kept myself on an extremely tight reign though as I had a dress that I needed to fit into towards to end of the cruise. Boofuls however made it his mission to eat as many portions of cake and custard as it was possible to cram in on a two week cruise.

We were a bit concerned about doing the Atlantic crossing, thinking that we might be bored out of our brains. Well. Didn’t we get that wrong. There was so much to do that we couldn’t fit it all in, and not a napkin folding demonstration in sight!!  My days started with the zumba class where I made a new friend.

There’s me on the left in the white top and black pants, hahaha.
I did miss one zumba class. Lying in our enormous queen size bed one morning considering whether or not to get up and do a couple of miles round the deck before my class, there came a knock at the door. I was a bit surprised as I’d put on the ‘do not disturb’ sign. ” Come back later, Edwin!!” I hollered to who I thought was the cabin steward.

‘ Knock, knock knock.’

Sigh.

I got up, popped on one of Boofuls’ shirts and stuck my head round the door.

An arrangement of lovely flowers was thrust at me.

“Oh. Er. Thanks.” Shuts door. A quick inspection of the flowers didn’t reveal any kind of message or clue as to who sent them.

“Boofuls, are these anything to do with you?”

“No”

“Bloody hell, we’ve got someone else’s flowers, better ring reception and tell them.” Boofuls rang reception.

‘Knock, knock, knock.’

Boofuls answered the door this time.

There was a huge trolley laden with all manner of foodstuffs along with champagne and chocolates

“It’s not for us, take it away, I’m not accepting it till I know why it’s here.” The bemused waiter took it away.  ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOO’, I thought, ‘ don’t take away all that lovely food!!!!!’  My stomach grumbled it’s discontent at Boofuls’ decision.

Ring, ring ring.  I answered the phone to: “Ah, um, er, can I speak with Mr P?”

It was like a bloody ‘Carry On’ film.

I handed the phone to Boofuls: “My wife ordered it?”  I shook my head. “Do you mean Mrs L P?”

“No sir, it was Mrs C P.”  OHHHHHHHH!   I remembered that the ship had registered  our MISS CP  as MRS, it was all becoming clear.

The penny dropped. The kids had organised it!

Knock, knock, knock.’

It was the same waiter with the same trolley of food. “It is definitely for you, Sir, may I bring it in?”

“You certainly can!”

A champagne breakfast fit for a king, well actually, several kings, followed.

flowers
champagne
croissants, bread, cakes
fruit
fruit

And so on….you get the idea. The beautiful box of chocolates we put in the fridge for another day.

So, what was that about staying on a tight reign so I wouldn’t get fat (ter)? We tucked in like there was no tomorrow. After we’d finished eating and then slept it all off, we got up to find an envelope under the door containing vouchers for a massage each and a photograph. It turned out that the kids had all clubbed together to buy us the special occasion package. Fantastic!

First stop  the day after was Tenerife. Meh.

Last time Boofuls and me were there, funnily enough, was 25 years ago just before we got married. Didn’t like it then. Don’t particularly like it now,  let’s move on.

Moving on……….

After another five days at sea we stopped at Tortola. The plan for Tortola was to go scuba diving. The taxi, driven by Sam,was due to meet us at the dock.  Hhhmm, no sign of anyone waiting for us. Many enquiries later I was directed to a chap outside the port area. Are you Sam?

Yes.

Are you meant to be picking up a group of  ten people?

Um.

Ok then, you’re not the right Sam.

Don’t go away, let’s work this out.

After a phone call or two it turns out that it was the correct Sam but the dive centre hadn’t booked him to meet us. Good start.

Getting to the dive centre.  Our excited little group of people all filled in the disclaimer forms that basically said, ‘ even if you die through our negligence you can’t sue us.’ Bit of a surprise, that.

An even bigger surprise was when the dive master came over to us and said, “I’m not taking you.”   WHAT?  “The engine has an intermittent fault, I’m not taking you.”  After a few phone calls to try and get another boat, we had to admit defeat and we left in Sam’s taxi, everyone feeling very dejected and more than a bit annoyed.  Here is a pic of the dock at the dive centre, ’nuff said.

dock with character

Sam saved the day. “What about swimming with dolphins?”   Everyone perked up instantly, I’ve never felt a mood change so fast!  We stopped for lunch at a nearby beach before going off to see the dolphins.

Beach in Tortola

The dolphins were amazing. C has revised her opinion that dolphins are nothing more than gay sharks and not worth bothering with. Everyone had a brilliant time, except big N who opted to go back to the ship, not prepared to waste his time on gay sharks.

swimming with dolphins

All in all it turned out to be a great day, after a bad start.

The following day me, Boofuls and Batty went on a RIB high speed boat round St Maarten. WOW!!!!!  It was ACE!

RIB
on the boat

Batty has clearly picked up our love of speed, the boat couldn’t go fast enough for her, as it bounced over the waves, coming down with a crash, she was screaming with laughter. Clearly another adrenalin junkie, we’ll have her flying in no time!  When we reached the ‘idyllic and peaceful beach’ (idyllic and peaceful my arse – it was heaving with people selling tourist tat),  we had to swim to the shore.

Bit of a dilemma that as Batty can only swim with armbands and the waves were stonking great surfers waves.  We lowered her into the water wearing a lifejacket and swam with her to the beach.  She panicked a bit but didn’t make a fuss, she was very stoic about it all though she was clearly scared. About a minute after she got to the beach she demanded to go back in the sea because she wanted to snorkel!

That kid’s got some bottle!

Taking her out past the point where the huge waves were breaking, she swam and practiced floating with Boofuls until she got some confidence and then she set off snorkelling between us, after a minute or so she let go of our hands and swam independently. Much kudos. One of the chaps on the boat came over with a ‘floating bar’ basically a float with drinks balanced on it. Batty took a drink and happily drank it while treading water. She didn’t even spill a drop when a big wave lifted her and deposited her  up by the beach!

On the return trip we sailed round by St Maarten airport which is reputedly the most dangerous airport in the world. here’s why:

St Maarten airport

The geeks on the boat  – yup, that includes us- were thrilled to watch the planes flying in just a few feet above our heads and wanted to stay for longer. Other people weren’t so keen and one poor woman looked like she was about to part with her lunch. We reluctantly left after half a dozen planes came over. Pity we didn’t get to see a 747 come in, that would have been fab.

There’s loads more to tell you but I’ll save that till tomorrow. Tune in then for the next exciting installment.

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