Castaway Cay

October 30, 2010

We arrived a little late at Castaway Cay for our last full day. Upon seeing the island, the kids were so excited. The Flying Dutchman from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies must have gotten them started. We whisked ashore and headed straight for the Pelican Plunge water-slide area but after a few runs the kids were not all that impressed. Apparently, the slide was too slow and not high enough for them. Spoiled brats 🙂 This was their first run.

We settled on the beach and I promptly watched Alex go into a restricted area and steal a plastic inner-tube to play on. I didn’t realize until later that you were supposed to rent them for six dollars! By that time it was too late and I decided to let it slide. We had a grand time with the kids being in the ring and me trying to spin, bump and drown them.

Then we hurried back to the dock area for our para-sailing trip. The kids ended up going together and I went by myself. It was a blast with the exception of my camera battery running out as soon as I started filming. I managed to borrow a camera and get some pictures but I would have loved to have the video. Oh well. This is all I got.

We had some lunch and then played with two more rings and a couple of Alex’s friends before doing our stingray activity. I thought the kids wouldn’t find it all that exciting but it turns out they really did. I guess feeding stingrays by hand, touching them and then swimming with over thirty of them was pretty cool after all. By the end of the day we boarded the ship and enjoyed our last meal before crashing into bed exhausted.

All in all, the trip couldn’t have gone better. The kids had an absolute blast and are already talking about their next cruise vacation 🙂

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St. Maarten & St. Thomas

October 28, 2010

Our first port of call was St. Maarten, the Dutch side, where a rib boat awaited us. It took us on a 4 hour trip in and around both the Dutch capital and the French capital. We got to do a bit of swimming/snorkeling and also spent a bit of time on the beach in between boating around and seeing the island. The weather was great and we avoided the one rain shower that passed over the island.

The next day we had an all day dolphin excursion in St. Thomas. We departed the ship at 7:45am with our passports and, unknown to me, we headed for an hour long trip from the US Virgin Islands to the British Virgin Islands where the dolphins were based. We filled in our UK customs forms and passed through immigration without a hitch and soon hit the dolphin facility. The kids had an absolute blast in the tanks with our dolphin who was named Neptuno. We got to pet, kiss, shake hands with and ride the dolphin… it was a wonderful time.

After the dolphins, we went to a buffet lunch at a beach and pool facility. The kids played in the pool while I had a beer on the deck looking out over the water. About ten minutes before we were to leave I noticed Alex asking Alicia if she was ok. Thinking Alex was being a bully, I went to investigate and found Alicia bleeding from her head, nose and elbow. Apparently, she had foolishly dived into the shallow end of the pool and hit her head on the bottom. I got her out and applied a towel to her head to stop the bleeding. Right then a security guard comes up and tries to extort ten bucks out of me for the kids swimming in the pool. I refused, saying we were told the kids didn’t have to pay. He eventually gave up and we left on the bus without paying the ten bucks.

The boat returned to the US Virgin Islands and, of course we had to go through US immigration. Now, seeing as I didn’t know we were leaving the island, I only had our passports for photo ID and I did not have the signed consent forms from my ex saying I was taking the kids on vacation. During our divorce, my ex kept saying she wanted to leave Bermuda so I informed US immigration that we had a court order that prevented either of us from taking the kids anywhere without permission from the other parent since we share joint custody. Well, that backfired in my face as I tried to explain to the US immigration officers that I was the one who put that in place!

As usual, the officers were about as understanding as Hitler was of the Jewish people. They insisted that I go to the ship and return with the paperwork. First they were going to keep the kids then thought the better of that idea. Then they were going to keep the passports until I informed them that I can’t get on the ship without photo ID. As all this was taking place, the tour boat left without the three of us… Nice counting on their part! So, it is 3pm and the ship leaves at 4pm. I have to get to the ship, get my consent forms, get back to US immigration and then back to the ship in an hour. No way I do that via taxi so I get US immigration to call the excursion boat back to get us and then force them to act as my water taxi. As we head back to the ship, Alex says for me to give him and Alicia their keys and they will stay on the ship while I go back. I asked him what would happen if I didn’t make it back before 4pm and he said not to worry that he and Alicia would enjoy the rest of the trip!!!! Cheeky bloke 🙂

So, the tour boat docks and the three of us run at top speed (in flip flops) to the ship. The gangway is on deck one and our room is on deck six. I take the steps three at a time and promptly forget my backpack at security because I am in such a rush. We exit the ship again at 3:25pm and sprint the quarter mile back to the tour boat that is still waiting for us. Puffing, panting, wheezing and still in front of my kids who appear to be in worse shape than I am, we climb aboard. Of course, the whole trip back to US immigration is in a no wake zone and my flesh feels like it is peeling as I watch the minutes tick by. Fortunately, the officer came out to the dock and grabbed the consent forms to take photocopies so we didn’t have to get off the tour boat.

Five minutes later we were headed back to the ship. It was then that I realized that my backpack was still on the ship… Along with all our money and credit cards!!! So, here my watch is closing in on 4pm and we are about to be stranded on St. Thomas with only three passports and the clothes on our backs!!!! Now, I was panicked!!! The boat docked with ten minutes to spare and we sprinted again to the gangway. We were the second last people on the ship and I watched the crew haul the gangway up behind us. WHEW!!!!! Remind me to ask more questions about where our tour might be going next time 🙂


Cruisin’

October 23, 2010

So what a wonderful day it was when I finally got to hug my kids in the airport. They were HUGE!!!! I can’t believe how big they are or how long my son’s hair is. He needs a haircut but I decided to let it slide for now. He will shave his head in March to raise money for pediatric cancer research so it can grow until then I guess because it all averages out 🙂

It didn’t take 20 mins in the airport before my son called me by my ex-wife’s boyfriend’s name. She moved him in with my kids a few months ago and didn’t bother to even discuss it with me first. That is the kind of mother she is now and I feel bad for my kids that they have to watch her dysfunctional and selfish behaviors. Still, nothing I can do about it except try to show them that when they are with me they have a parent who is stable, reliable, caring, considerate and puts their interests ahead of his own. If there is one thing this sabbatical has taught me it is that I they need me now more than ever.

The kids forced me to rent a convertible for the four hour drive from Miami to Cape Canaveral and they had a blast getting the wind blown through their hair. When Alex finally saw a sign to “cruise terminals” he figured it out and the look on his and Alicia’s face made it all worthwhile.

The kids were so excited when we finally boarded and I had to shepherd them to the room before they exploded. This is the first cruise for all of us and I was unsure what to expect. Being a Disney cruise, I knew the kids would have no issue finding things to do because that is what Disney is all about. I was a little nervous about me finding things to do because, as expected, the kids have been off making new friends and have mostly forgotten about me except when I force them to eat with me and to do some family activities or shows. What I’ve come to realize is that the Disney cruise is not for singles or even divorcees and I am feeling a bit isolated. I am going to try to do some of the adult activities but I feel like a third wheel with all the other couples around. This is the first time in a while that I actually miss having a partner because I can see that this cruise would be a blast for couples with kids because the kids do their own thing and you have a lot of free time to spend doing activities with your spouse. I am grateful for the time I do get to spend with my kids and at the gym but this will be my first and last cruise sans a partner :). One good thing is that I got a free body assessment at the gym and it turns out that I am not in as bad a shape as I thought. Losing fifteen pound during my month in Mexico really helped. Technically, I only need to lose another 20 pounds of fat and not gain any more muscle. I will start that right after the cruise 🙂

Alicia and I had some daddy time and went to see Secretariat at the movies. Afterward, I had to drag Alex out of the arcade at 12:30am!!!! Good thing I made them take a nap in the late afternoon. Alex has made four or five friends and hangs out with them regularly. Unfortunately, Alicia has not made any friends she wants to hang out with much and prefers to be by herself or with Alex. I am glad they are so close and love spending time with each other but I worry about Alicia’s shyness and lack of interest in making friends her own age or older.

Tomorrow we stop in St. Maarten and the kids and I go on a rib boat adventure… No idea what that really is but who cares. The day after that we are in St. Thomas and have an all day dolphin excursion before one more day at sea and then Disney’s Castaway Cay island in the Bahamas. We have a para-sailing and stingray excursion there before sailing for home port the following day.


Way to go Alex!!!!

September 9, 2010

I’ve been telling my eight year old son that a cute little girl named Lilly (who was in his class last year and also this year) liked him. Alex was always complaining that Lilly was mean to him and that she picked on him and physically hurt him sometimes. I told him last year that girls did these kinds of things when they like you. His response… “Wow, she must really like me a lot then!”

Well, my son started back at school today and he told me tonight that Lilly asked him to go to the dance with her. LOL!!! He was grinning from ear to ear when he told me. I asked him when was the dance… he said, “Oh, not until next May.”

My response… “Wow, she must really like you a lot then!”

Way to go Alex and remember to be a gentleman 🙂


The loves of my life… I miss them.

August 17, 2010

That boy drinks like his mother 🙂


Equipment update

August 10, 2010

So I thought I would give a little equipment update for anyone who is interested.

BMW 1200 GSA – simply awesome. Reliable, comfortable, powerful, multi-purpose… does everything I ask of her. That weird ESA issue has not occurred again. Stock seat needs help if you riding longer than 4 hours. Can get about 12 hours with some pain using cycling shorts and seat beads. Gonna try the air hawk as well before I break down and get a custom seat.

Kaiko throttle control – works perfectly and saves your wrist

Zumo GPS – works pretty well, a few quirks like rebooting every now and then and not having some roads properly named or listed at all but all in all pretty good. Easy to see in sun and dark and takes a beating.

Sierra tent – ROCKS!!! Huge two person tent, takes 5 mins to set up and take down, excellent design. Highly recommended for those of us who are tall.

Aerostich Darien riding suit – simply perfect. Keeps you warm when its cold but I also wore it in 113 degree heat without dying. Rainproof, windproof, bugproof, road proof! Highly recommended.

Spot II – works exactly as it supposed to. Button covers are a little flimsy but battery life has been great. A month on the road using it in tracking mode 6-8 hours a day and I just changed the batteries.

Micatech Pilot cases – simply excellent with huge storage and good locks. Not a scratch during my two spills. No water problems, dust issues or much else. Only small thing is the locking tabs inside the cases still seem to vibrate loose.


Yummy!!!

July 26, 2010

Alicia, I didn’t get to eat any moose for you but I did get to have some caribou steak while I was in Churchill Falls! Quite good but I hear the caribou sausages are to die for 🙂 Oh well… maybe another time as all the caribou had gone north for the summer. Do you know what a caribou looks like? Look it up on the web and see.

I miss you and Alejandro. October seems like a very long time away 😦