Saturday, December 05, 2015

The start of the holidays...

I am tempted to rename this blog "The Occasional Blogger" as life has been so busy lately that I have been neglectful.  And I still have an island I never posted (tba).  Oh well, such is life and 'tis the season.

We kicked the holidays off with our family Thanksgiving sans Rob.  He has a new job and a new place to live and has been busy settling into both.  He had an opportunity to work on Thanksgiving Day at his new job bar tending at a lovely restaurant and bar on St. Pete Beach.  TG is big tips time and, while we missed him we understood.

On Thanksgiving, the Grands decorate their Christmas tree at our house.  Landon  then spent the night with us as it was his turn.  We had our dear friends, Bill and Jo as well as the Grands and Chris and Kristen.

 I am not sure who told the Grands that opening their mouths wide when Nana gets out the camera is attractive but oh well.  This provides me with great "black mail" fodder when they are older.

Jo and I co-hosted Book Club this past Thursday and last night was our town's annual holiday, Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs.  The kids enjoyed playing in the "snow" and we had our annual "snow ball" fight in the snow area.  Chris and I took the Grands on the horse pulled trolley ride that we missed last year and, as we were heading back, all the lighted palms on the Trail came beautiful.

While the Grands and their parents walked down to the Bayou to see Santa and the characters from Frozen, we tried without luck to find a parking spot to join them.  That was just too much of a hike for Papa.  We then headed to meet up with friends down on the Anclote River for the lighted boat parade. 

The first Christmas we spent in Tarpon Springs, E and headed to Spring Bayou for the parade.  We took our wine, chairs and blankets to keep warm as it was a cool night.  That was 8 years ago and the price of fuel had sky rocketed.  There were five boats in that parade and four were lit.  The last boat had Santa who landed and handed out candy canes.  Times have changed and this year's parade was amazing.

It was magical and wonderful.  Thanks boat owners who did a fantastic job as did the coordinators of the Snow Place like Tarpon Springs.  Special thanks to Tarpon Tavern whose staff made it so easy for our family to meet there at the start of our adventure.

Tonight is our annual holiday party and, after much thought, have decided to make this our last. 

Happiest of holidays to all and remember, people who don't believe in Santa, get underwear for Christmas.

Friday, November 06, 2015

A day on St. Maarten

Another lovely island and another lovely day.  We shared our tour with a couple of young Brits who were as delighted by our tour and tour guide as were we.  St. Maarten is half Dutch and half French.  Our guide was from the Dutch side and told us all about the relations between both sides of the island.  Our guide was great about stopping at beautiful views and making sure we got in the shots.

We headed over to the beaches on the French side of the island with amazing surf and gorgeous views.  He told us all about the US airstrip on an island nearby used in WWII.  The airstrip was most recently used by drug runners until the islands nearby tore up the landing strip and positioned obstacles to deter landings.

Our first stop was to visit with a friend of our guide.  This man was a self taught expert on sea life and, while we have lived on the Gulf for about 15 years now, we got to hold live specimens that we had not seen before.  The young Brits enjoyed it even more than we did.

 Our next stop was up the road a bit to meet some other friends of our guide.

From the iguanas, we head to the beach for an hour or so.

While Gene lounged in the shade with a local brew, I played in the waves.  The young British guys took pity on this old gal and let me hang out with them for a bit.  The changing rooms were very nice and the whole place was so beautiful!

We stopped to get pics from both sides of the dividing line and then it was on to the rest of our adventure.

The airport on St. Maarten is renowned,  The planes approach directly over a beach (high tide so it was hard to see more than rocks) and we were just in time to witness this phenomena 

Before we knew it, our day was drawing to a close and our guide took us back to our ship through some beautiful country.

Next, and last stop, Tortola