North Shore – Waimea – Oahu – Hawaii – 2014 – Day 10

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Awoken by roosters morning call. A nice walk on the beach and a little dip into the ocean. Off to north shore – Waimea Beach. It is a gorgeous beach with a jump rock that is about a 25FT drop. If you plan on jumping, wait until a wave comes in so that the water is deeper and make sure your swimwear is tightly fastened. Watch out for sea turtles before you jump and NEVER touch them because humans have bacteria. The tide pulls you back and forth but the water is pretty calm once you pass the first bit. Technically could just tread all the way out there. Not many waves here to surf but bring some flippers and snorkel! We were only there for an hour and half.

We rushed to find the original Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (66-472 Kamehameha Hwy)  but the guy literally saw us and closed up shop. So we had dessert before dinner and hit up the famous Matsumoto shaved ice (66-087 Kamehameha Hwy). I don’t know what it is about it but damn it was delicious. I had the azuki bowl with shaved ice, ice cream, red beans and not sure what else but it was amazing. We went to the second location for Giovanni’s aloha shrimp truck (56-505 Kamehameha Hwy). I got the lemon and butter shrimp – I think my plate of shrimp from Mike’s Huli Huli was better and bigger to be honest. We all wrote on the truck as well!  We returned back to the estate for a fun night in with the crew.

Cozumel, Mexico – Oasis of the Sea – 2013 – Day 6-7

03/21/13

Ate at Park Cafe then to land we went – Cozumel, Mexico. It’s so strange to see other cruise ships docked right beside our boat making all the rest look tiny in comparison. The port basically was a outlet shopping centre but you can also go out into the city. We made our way to the excursions area to line up. From there we were put into specific taxis to bring us to Uvas Resort (uvas means grapes) which has a spa, bar, pool and of course our excursions of clear kayak and snorkelling. Our guide Angel and Louis made the day really fun. My first time kayaking and with the guidance of Jo I think I got the hang of it. I had attached the go pro to the selfie stick and held it with the paddle to get some cool angles but I guess the paddle hit the release button and my go pro sunk into the water. Luckily, we had just gotten into the water so it wasn’t too deep so my hero for the day Louis dove down and retrieved it for me. We were only in the kayaks for a short period of time before we switched to snorkelling. It was a great experience as there are coral reefs which we went over.

Back in the port area, we did a little shopping then back onto the ship to make it in time for volleyball. After a few hours of playing we went for dinner in Windjammers (surprised? I think not). We had timed it perfectly so we could go straight from dinner to our show which was Come fly with me starring performers from Hairspray and the other productions – the performers are multi talented and I guess because they are on the ship on contract, they provide entertainment in a variety of ways. There was some pretty cool acts like the aerialists and gymnasts. Right after the show, we decided to line up for the comedy show and we are so glad we did because the acts were great. Simian was my favourite who actually knows Tokyo Disneyland theme song and dance by heart.

03/22/13

Final night on the cruise ship in cruising mode. We decided after that that we should try Flowrider. It’s actually more difficult than it looks. Jo and myself went in just our swim suits with no shirt to cover up on top and Jo was wearing a strapless. You can tell where I am going with this… NOTE: wear a t-shirt over your swim wear. Final session of volleyball then we quickly washed up and headed to Windjammers for dinner then straight to the comedy show where we bumped into our volleyball crew. On the final night, you pack your things and leave your large luggage in the hallway so the crew can relocate it to its proper section for when you depart and check-out from the ship. We attended farewell party at Blaze Club and met all sorts of people from around the world including a couple named Brooke and Christina who are both in the army and don’t get to much time with each other as they are deployed for 6-10 months away from one another. Christina turned 27 at midnight and they had been dating for 6 years and married for 2. It was a good night.

Final morning breakfast before disembarking the floating island of a ship. We ended the trip the way we started – in lines. Security checks, luggage pick-up, final ship check-out, airport security and waiting in a crowded airport only to have your flight be an hour delayed with you sitting in the plane for 30 minutes before even moving.

All in all, this was a great experience and for a person who was skeptic about cruises, I would most definitely do a cruise again. Although I would much rather do my own thing, for a short trip where not much thinking needs to be done except choosing what free shows to see, where to eat free food and whatnot, this type of travelling is perfect for it.

Cairns, Australia 2010 – Day 6

04/30/10

Today we went on a day tour with Passions of Paradise to discover the Great Barrier Reef (169AUD). Its a local tour and the crew was fun and very helpful. We started at 830AM and we sailed out about an hour away into Michaelmas Cay. The catamaran was pretty full of people and there were part of the vessel you can lay out on roped areas but BE WARNED: the O Zone layer is very thin especially in Cairns so the UV rays are strong and you will get burned (coming from someone who doesn’t burn that often) so please put on sunscreen and re-apply. We encountered a few Canadians from Vancouver on this tour but for some reason they have weird accents…?

We decided to go scuba diving (70AUD). The instructors give you a quick lesson and into the water you go after being suited with your flippers, goggles, water tank and respirator. So water and me are not the best of friends. After jumping into the water with the gear on, we were told to start by sticking our head under and breathing through the respirator. Naturally, I breathe through my nose so my first breathe made my goggles pop up and I started to panic and didn’t want to go down and at that point wanted to give up. The instructor Steve tried to calm me down and told me to keep looking at him underwater. Then he pulled me, Andrew and another deeper and deeper. I haven’t swam in years so I kept a hold of Steve’s hand. He brought me right over a sea turtle and over the home of clown fish – we found an anemone! He even threw 2 jellyfish at me to hold… They look like longan/ lychee.

After about an hour down under, we surfaced and our scuba diving was over. We then traded in the tank for snorkels and headed on our way to Paradise Reef for snorkelling. I took random photos at Michaelmas Cay but unfortunately the camera somehow malfunctioned for our second session of snorkel at paradise reef with no land mass nearby. It was much prettier here. I swam into schools of fishes.  It took about 2 hours to sail back and I was on the brink of getting seasick but just stayed curled up as a ball inside the catamaran and made it through! A few decided to let it all out in the water which brought fishes to our vessel. I must say that it was a once in a lifetime thing to snorkel/scuba at the great barrier reef. Got back to the hostel and booked our flight and accommodations for Melbourne in which we would leave for in 2 days.