Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO200
“Tenders” Cayman Islands, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today we arrived at the Cayman Islands for our next stop. Mariko, Bay, and Koa’s excursion was on a submarine ride, and I chose to go snorkeling. It was a beautiful, sunny day on the island, and the sea was amazing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the water temperature was just about perfect for our two 40-minute swims. It was cool enough to be refreshing, but not too cool where I got cold. Just right!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/420 sec, ISO200
“Off to Snorkel” Cayman Islands, 2019

I took my Victure 4K action cam with me and tried some video. I think it turned out pretty good, even though I wasn’t really prepared. I mean, I hand-held the camera in its waterproof case, and it was haphazardly attached to a lanyard around my neck. Definitely NOT the optimal set-up. My niece, on the other hand, had her camera mounted to a handle which floats if “dropped”. Next time, I’ll get one of those for sure!

After snorkeling, we went for a quick drink at Rackams before heading back to the tender which took us back to the ship. It was a nice excursion, although I wish we could spend more time on the island exploring. I guess that’s the nature of cruise travel though… once you realize and accept the fact that you won’t be spending much time at the ports-of-call, it makes the cruise experience much nicer. Or at least a little less disappointing.

I hope you had a great day!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/240 sec, ISO200
“Rain Cloud” Cayman Islands, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Dusk Clouds” Caribbean Sea, 2019

Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/140 sec, ISO200
“Rafting” Martha Brae River, 2019

Our Jamaica day was spent mostly on an excursion to go rafting on the Martha Brae River. When I was little, we went rafting but I only have a vague memory of it. I do, however, remember a small bamboo toy raft that I got as a souvenir which is probably still in my old room at my folks’ house.

So I was excited to go rafting as a grown-up, and take my own kids. The trip down the river was really fun and relaxing, and our boatman, Derek, was a cool rasta, who talked to us all about the river, the local fruits and vegetation, and even about the “old days” in Jamaica which was when most of my mom’s family was still living there. Derek, who was in his sixties, even told us about the political situation of the time, and how he remembered that many of the Chinese-Jamaicans left after Jamaican independence because of the political uncertainty. It was really interesting to hear about the situation from someone outside my family.

“With Derek” Martha Brae River, 2019

The rafting lasted about 45 minutes, and I wish it were longer because I enjoyed myself so much. It was so peaceful, cool with a gentle drizzle at times, and not too many mosquitos.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO200
“Special Performance” Martha Brae River, 2019

Soon, though, we were on the mini-bus back on our way to Ocho Rios. We did have a quick stop at a local market and I bought some jerk chicken to see how it compared to my cousin’s. It was yummy!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/220 sec, ISO200
“Rain” Ocho Rios, 2019

After we got dropped off in Ocho Rios, we met up with my cousin who drove over from Port Antonio to see us. She showed up with a basket full of fresh fruit which we all sloppily enjoyed near the dock.

Although our stop in Jamaica was very short, it was fun to see a bit of the country where my Mom was born and raised. We’ll be back!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/850 sec, ISO200
“MSC Seaside” Ocho Rios, 2019

Sea Day – Miami to Ocho Rios

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/900 sec, ISO200
“Sunny Day” Caribbean Sea, 2019

Today was a full day on board the ship, where we ate, drank, played games, saw a show, listened to Jazz, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This is cruise-life, I suppose!

The MSC Seaside is an amazing cruise ship, with so many things to do, including bowling! There are two lanes in the gaming area, and they are just like a standard bowling alley. The only difference is that the ship sways a bit, so the ball might not travel the path you expect as it goes towards the pins. 😄

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Cruise Bowlers” Caribbean Sea, 2019

Koa and I spent some time in the lounge listening to the Swing Time Quartet who played Jazz standards and were really good. Of course, Koa is interested in the music, so we stayed there for quite a while.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/50 sec, ISO6400
“Swing Time Quartet” Caribbean Sea, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO3200
“Cruise Corridor” Caribbean Sea, 2019

One amazing thing I discovered was the bathroom up by the specialty restaurants. This has to be the coolest bathroom view I’ve ever seen. 🤪

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Bathroom View” Caribbean Sea, 2019

I hope you had a great day!

Our MSC Seaside Cruise Begins

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/420 sec, ISO200
“Leaving Port” Miami, 2019

Hello!

*note: when this blog post is published, we will have already returned back from vacation*

Today we departed Miami aboard the massive MSC Seaside cruise ship. It’s such a beautiful vessel… so much glass and shininess! We’re still getting acquainted with all the amenities, but so far the buffet checks out with some really nice pizza. MSC is an Italian company after all! 🍕

Tomorrow is a “sea day”, which means we will be traveling all day as we make our way to Jamaica. Therefore we’ll have time to check out the ship further. But for now, it’s time for a glass of bubbly as we cast off. Cheers! 🥂

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO200
“Ready to Cruise” Miami, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO200
“From the Buffet” Miami, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO800
“Kevin and I” Miami, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/9, 1/600 sec, ISO200
“Miami Clouds” Miami, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/550 sec, ISO200
“Sea Clouds” Caribbean Sea, 2019

Austin to Miami and Jamaican Feast

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/550 sec, ISO200
“Small Plane” Austin, 2019

Today was our travel day from Austin to Miami, where we’ll spend the night before we begin our Caribbean cruise.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Jetway” Austin, 2019

Our flight wasn’t too early, and the airport wasn’t crowded at all so the whole flight was stress-free.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/850 sec, ISO200
“Clouds” Gulf of Mexico, 2019

Our plane was small, with just four seats per aisle, but it was very comfortable with lots of legroom so the flight seemed to go by in no time, and before we knew it, we were in the Miami humidity!

We were the first of our immediate family to arrive so we got dibs on the amazing feast that was waiting at my cousin’s house (where we would be staying).

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Boxes of Patties” Miami, 2019

Patties, curry goat, fricassee chicken, stew peas, plantain, etc. It was awesome! Everything was from Jamaica Kitchen, the BEST Jamaican food in Miami. My cousin is the owner/operator of Jamaica Kitchen, but even it wasn’t a family-owned restaurant, I’d still rave about it. It’s so delicious!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/50 sec, ISO800
“Travelers’ Rest” Miami, 2019

Later that evening, the rest of my immediate family arrived and we continued the feast. What a wonderful day reuniting with family. Can’t wait for the rest of the trip!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Ping Pong” Miami, 2019

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