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Friday, July 2, 2010

PHANTASM FRIDAY

The winner from last week's Caribbean Giveaway is: She! She, please contact me at gracen.miller@yahoo.com with your mailing address so I can send you your prize! For something fun, a Cozumel towel and a maraca are next week's giveaway. Leave me a comment today, for your chance to win on Friday, July 9th. Photo attached below! The drawing for this prize will be done a little differently. I will plug ALL the commenters from each of the prior 3 weeks into the drawing. If you commented all 3 weeks, then your name will be entered that many times. So, if you commented all 4 weeks of the Caribbean giveaway, your name will be entered into this one 4 times.

Our last and final stop on our cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. For those unfamiliar with Cozumel, it is an island off the mainland of Mexico and considered the safest place in Mexico because it is separated from the mainland. In all seriousness, with the drug war that is going on in Mexico, if our stop had of been on the mainland, I doubt I would have left the ship with my children. Taking risks with my life is one thing, but with theirs, I doubt I would have.

Welcome to Cozumel, Mexico. (picture taken from ship)

In Cozumel we boarded a bus and drove a twenty minute drive to a secluded beach cove where we swam with stingrays. I would have called it a roped off area, but I've learned in other countries what they sell you isn't necessarily what you "think" you're getting. What matters is that you have fun! The area was ridden with coral, so we were required to wear swim shoes and watch our step. Easy to say, but not so easy when you're try to walk on the slippery stuff! Not only did we swim with the stingrays, we got to hold them, touch them and feed them. At first I was a little tentative because of the Steve Erwin accidental death was going through my head. Maybe we all looked hesitant because they were quick to show us where the barbs were and that they were trimmed twice a year, so the stingrays were unable to harm any of us intentionally or accidentally. On the flip side of that, I wondered if that wasn't considered inhumane. I'm still struggling with that issue.

The "cove" where we swam with the stingrays.


It was loads of fun swimming and interacting with them. They were friendly creatures with extremely soft skin…if what they have can be called skin. I felt a shark once at the Atlanta Aquarium and the stingrays feel much the same way, soft, wet and almost slimy, but without the slime. These stingrays were so people friendly, they would bump up beside your legs begging for food. As we held bait into the water to feed them, the most aggressive stingray—who turned out to be a female—would jump out of the water over smaller stingrays and steal the food out of our hands. It was hysterical. I wish I had that on video.

Some of the stingrays in the "cove".

After feeding them, we each held the "jumping" female stingray that was approximately five years old and a baby stingray that was a year old and smiled for the camera. In the Caribbean and on the ship, we were always smiling for the camera. Then we were released into the private cove to swim with the stingrays and snorkel as we pleased.

For my sons who are 12 and 8, this was their favorite excursion and the one they have talked about the most. I enjoyed the entire trip, but the stingray adventure was the highlight of the cruise.

Our last night on the cruise and I was ready to smash the next camera that someone put in my face. LOL

That was my journey to the Caribbean and back. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour. If you ever get a chance to go, the Caribbean isn't to be missed!

Friday, July 9th giveaway items!

DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE ME A MESSAGE IF YOU WANT TO BE ENTERED TO WIN THIS WEEK'S CARIBBEAN GIVEAWAY. (PHOTO ABOVE OF TOWEL AND MARACA)

6 Moonbeams (comments):

Rie McGaha said...

I love the clear water. I used to live in Hawaii and often went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay on Oahu. It was so fantastic, like swimming in a giant aquarium with all the tropical fish, except they were giants compared to what I had seen in pet stores! It was an awesome time and I have wanted to take a trip to de islands mon, for so long! Maybe this fall. Thanks for sharing all these great pics, they are just awesome!

Rie McGaha
www.riemcgaha.com

Anonymous said...

You look happy and relaxed, sweetie:)

The stingray thing sounds interesting. Any pics of you holding the 'jumper'???

Next time you go, take meeeeee?????? Hahahahahaha:)

Molly

Amber Skyze said...

You look soooooooo relaxed! I'm so jealous. I need a vacation like yours. ;)

Congrats to She and thanks for sharing more of your trip with us.

Gracen Miller said...

Rie, oh, wow, to live in Hawaii! My dream vacation is Hawaii and my husband and I are loosely tossing around vacationing there for our 20th anniversary in 2011. But, you're right, all the snorkeling we've done, the fish are massive, colorful and it's so fascinating...and serene, as if the entire world drops away.

Molly & Amber...I look relaxed? LOL I assure you in that picture I was not very relaxed, but wanted to get it over with. My 8 year old was taking the picture (he's notorious for cutting off our heads), while my 12 year old kept trying to jump into the shot. I've got several really great pics of the 12 year suspended mid-air, hair air lifted from his head, and his smile too big for his face. LOL They were relaxed...I just wanted to toss the camera overboard and head into dinner.

Molly, as for me holding pictures of the stingray, we have a CD of pics we bought somewhere around the house from that excursion, but I couldn't find it. If I DO find it, I'll post the pics here and let you know!

Thanks for commenting, ladies! Good luck to all of you!

~huggles~
G

She said...

Wonderful pictures! How cool about swimming and holding the stingrays. Sounded like you had a good time.

Gracen Miller said...

The winner has been drawn by Random.org. And the winner is....

RIE McGAHA!

Congrats, Rie!!! Thanks to ALL of you for taking the virtual tour of my vacation.

Rie, I'll send you an e-mail either tonight or tomorrow to get your mailing address.

She, I did receive your e-mail with your address and I plan to mail all the care packages next week! I'll send e-mails to everyone as soon as I go to the post office.

~huggles~