*This post ended up having more pictures than I originally planned. You have been warned! 🙂
It was hard returning to reality after spending over a week in paradise with Larry, Marilyn, Dennis, Scott, Brianna, Tom, and Beth. Dennis’ dad flew all of us for a week at a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Antigua (Caribbean/West Indies).
Antigua has a red box around it.
Antigua has 365 beaches! Our resort was right on a beautiful beach. I’m a Midwestern girl who hadn’t seen a beach or the ocean until I was almost 15 years old and had never been on a boat until I was almost 21 years old. For those reasons, I’m still fascinated by the idea of taking boat rides out into the ocean, waves, beautiful blue-green water, and seeing where water meets land. There were many moments when I just stared at the water and land in awe.
We made it a point to go to the beach and “touch” the ocean everyday. We also made sure to visit the swimming pool everyday. We got some pool volleyball in and enjoyed their swim-up bars. They had several dolphin water fountains which I loved.
Beautiful flowers, birds, and geckos were part of the scenery.
The resort offered several activities. Dennis and I played table pool, chess, pool volleyball, and tennis. We also participated in a water balloon contest, tried to snorkel, put hammocks to use, and rode a hydrobike. Others participated in a golf contest, kayaked, went out on a hobie cats, and played ping-pong. We all enjoyed walking around the resort.
Dennis and I were able to get our scuba diving certifications earlier this summer. It was worth all the studying!! Dennis’ brother joined us on both days. We did 4 dives (2 per day for 2 days) with the deepest being 65 feet. We were the only novice divers and we ended up doing 1 or 2 “advanced dives.” We didn’t realize the first dive was going to be an “advanced dive” that went down to 65 feet. We also weren’t warned that there were oodles of jellyfishes and didn’t know they wouldn’t kill us. One of the cons of being deaf which causes a person to miss out on important information. 🙂
We weren’t offered a wet suit on our first day but did request for one on our second day to provide some protection against the jellyfishes.
I was t.e.r.r.i.f.i.e.d of the jellyfishes. I almost had a panic attack on the 2nd dive because I got a bit claustrophobic and was completely surrounded by them in every direction at 15 feet while everyone else had already gone down to 40 feet. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that scared. I was ready to cry and jump back into the boat then I remembered that panicking in the middle of the ocean was a bad thing. I was able to calm myself down, swim down through the jellyfishes (avoiding as many as I could), and forgot about the jellyfishes right away when I saw what there was to explore.
On the 3rd dive, I had a wetsuit and didn’t add enough weight. I kept floating up to 15 feet where the jellyfishes were and it was obvious I wasn’t going to sink any further so the instructor swam up and gave me some of his weight.
I got stung by quite a few jellyfishes, so did Dennis. Those things are slimy! I enjoy jellyfishes in aquariums when they’re on the other side of glass but not when they’re surrounding me and I can’t go anywhere without swimming through them.
It would have really helped if I had known they wouldn’t kill me. I found out last night (a week later) that they were likely moon jellyfishes which aren’t as poisonous.
Jellyfishes aside, I LOVED LOVED LOVED scuba diving. It’s an indescribable feeling to swim in the water with fishes…you feel like you’re in another world. We saw a couple of sting rays, school of fishes, colorful fishes, and a small octopus. We also had nice boat rides to/from the dive sites.
Such an amazing opporunity, I’m hooked!
Can’t wait to do it again!!
All 8 of us met up for dinner every night and for breakfast on mornings we didn’t go diving. We ate at most of the 11 resort restaurants. Once I discovered their delicious chocolate lava cake, I had to have it for dessert every night!
We were able to see more of the island when we went zip lining and shopping.
We all were supposed to leave for Miami on Saturday (9/10/11) and then Dennis and I were going to fly back home from Miami on Sunday (9/11/11). On Friday we found out Tropical Storm Maria was headed directly for Antigua so Dennis’ dad tried to change all of our flights to leave Friday afternoon before the airport closed due to the tropical storm (our flight on Saturday was cancelled). After some running around and trying to pack everything we realized we weren’t going to make it in time for the last flight out on Friday. We decided to just all fly out on Sunday.
Tropical Storm Maria was supposed to hit Friday night/Saturday morning but it never did. Instead we got an extra day of sunshine at the beach and pool. We did wake up to a thunderstorm on Sunday morning and Maria was no longer a tropical storm.
Many thanks to Dennis’ dad for making sure we all returned home on Sunday so we wouldn’t have to miss another day of work.
Dennis and I ended up flying out separately from everyone else on Sunday. We got up at 3 am CST to leave for our flight to Puerto Rico. We were glad to be back on US Territory considering it was the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Due to not being able to hear announcements it took us 2 hours to get through customs, security, and check in again…we weren’t quite sure where we were supposed to go or what we were supposed to do since they had announced specific instructions.
We had a 6 hour layover in Puerto Rico since our next connecting flight was cancelled. We were able to get a connecting flight in Chicago and it was almost a relief to make it back to the states. We spent 5 hours in the air unsure as to if anything happened since we had heard we were at an increased risk for a terrorist attack. We also wanted to be back in the states in case something did happen and we could still make our way home even if we had to drive. Apparently there was a scare at our home airport that afternoon as well.
We made it home about 11pm exhausted but with smiles on our face….this was an amazing trip with wonderful people! I miss Antigua already!!