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Jamaica

December 31st, 2010 No comments

After 2 days at sea we were ready for our first port-of-call….JAMAICA.  The Larsens joined us on our excursion and we all had a great time on our Tranopy Adventure.  I highly recommend the Tranopy Adventure…Canopy Chair lift, Jamaican bobsled, and ziplines…SO MUCH FUN!  Plus, dancing with the locals.  The excursion started off with a 90 minute ride and our own “tour guide.”  She pointed out the various spots of interest…like were Usain Bolt went to school.   This was the first time that my sister ever experienced association with people from an underdeveloped country.  She tried to bargain shop but left with just some maracas and a bad taste in her mouth about shopping in Jamaica!

Chair Lift on our Tranopy Adventure

Larsens on the Jamaican Bob Sled

Farleys and some Crazy Jamaica Tree

See video footage and more photos in our 2010 Caribbean Cruise

Categories: Family, Travel Tags: , , , , ,

Boy’s Cruise — Just another episode of the Matt and Ryan show

October 10th, 2009 1 comment

My best friend Ryan Sawyer graduated from law school this year and I knew I wanted to do something really nice for him (and me).  Thus, several factors led to the epic vacation that was our “Boy’s Cruise”:

  • I had extra vacation to use up thanks to our assignment in the U.K.
  • In January, Tia left me for a “girl’s cruise” with my mother and two sisters.
  • Mason was only a few months old and still nursing.
  • Ryan and I share a fascination with marine wildlife.
  • Ryan was graduating from law school.
  • Cheap cruises are available out of Houston.

Ryan flew into Houston (first class, thanks to my frequent flyer miles) on Saturday, September 5th.  On the morning of Sunday the 6th, Ryan participated in Mason’s baby blessing at church (along with Chris Larsen and McKay Hansen).  That afternoon we were in line to board the Carnival Conquest on our way to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.

Below are some of the highlights of our 7-nights on the Caribbean seas:

Jamaica:

  • Dolphin Cove – Here we played, touched, rode, kissed, and swam with a dolphin!  They also offered the same experience with nurse sharks and stingrays!
  • Dunn River Falls – We hiked through uphill rapids on a beautiful river which empties into a white sand beach on the coast of Jamaica.

Grand Cayman:

  • Sea Turtle Farm – After an up close and educational tour of the facility’s breeding lagoons we were able to snorkel in the park’s artificial reef which contained many fish and turtles.  There was also a “predator” section containing sharks and barracuda who were partitioned from the snorkelers by a thick wall of glass.
  • Jet Ski’s to Stingray City – After a nice lunch at the Hard Rock, we rode jet ski’s out to Stingray City.  With a private guide, the three of us each had our own jet ski which we rode to a sandbar where stingrays have been gathering for decades.  They were very friendly and our guide helped us to hold and pet them.  He then took us snorkeling and located a large moray eel for us to see.

Cozumel:

  • Scuba Diving – As non-certified divers we had to take a 30 minute crash course and stick by our instructor the whole time.  The water was very warm and crystal clear. 
  • Jungle ATVs – A private tour by a self-proclaimed Mayan, we rode ATVs through the Mexican jungle.  We were covered with mud at the end of the tour, it was a blast.
  • Snorkeling – With yet another personal guide who showed us an octopus and large scary fish with big teeth.

We had just as much fun on the Boat:

  • Food – Giant buffets, 24 hr pizzerias, ice cream machines, fancy dining.  We probably averaged 6-7 meals a day.
  • Entertainment – Comedians, magicians, Broadway-type productions, game shows, etc.
  • Activities – Basketball, mini-golf, swimming, gym, spa, sauna, etc.
  • Massages – Yes, we did a couple’s massage, and it was worth every penny.
  • Dance Club – We spent several late, late, late nights on the dance floor.  Ryan’s abilities were unmatched and drew much attention.
  • Karaoke – Ryan dominated the karaoke scene and I did a classic rendition of Ice Ice Baby.
  • Sir Elton John – Winning a karaoke contest, Ryan was invited to perform in the final show of the cruise in a packed theater of fellow passengers.  They dressed him up in a white suit and had him memorize and perform Crocodile Rock, by Elton John.

The vacation was a blast from the moment we stepped on the boat and it stayed that way for 7 days straight.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  The best part was being with Ryan again — and the hardest part was being away from my family.