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Old 10-09-2012, 08:29 PM   #61
jenseib
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It took me 2 days but I got caught up. I just don;'t even know how to comment on the pictures...Pure beauty. It's amazing that you could wake up each day and see all of that. The water is so wonderful. We went snorkeling in Grand Cayman..2 weeks ago today...and I was reminded just how fun that is...and you are right, very tiring.

I am so sad it's about over. If you are down, just look at those pictures and it has to cheer you right up.

I can see why this is one of your favorite vacations of all times.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:37 PM   #62
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Day 16

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Today is the big, long travel day home

Of course, we didn't sleep well last night. Don't know if it was the squeaking against the dock or just wanted to be sure to be up early enough...whatever it was, it was going to be a long day.

Some pictures from around the marina this morning: 1, 2 and 3. A very quiet, peaceful morning...except for the rooster (still) crowing on land.

We got dressed and ate what we could find was left for breakfast. I finished packing everything up and we were ready rather early. Rick had his walk-through on the monohull this morning (I was out taking pictures and saw him) but when he came back, he said he couldn't live without air conditioning next week, so he DID get a bigger boat with AC. He totally upgraded. I hope his friends would see things his way.....

With most everything packed, we went outside and took our flag down. Ryan on standby in case Rick needed help; but he didn't. The trip was officially over now. We left our boat and the marina with our nieces and nephew just before 9am. We got the shuttle to the ferry.

We were super early for our 10am fast ferry to St. Thomas, but we got seats in the air conditioning to wait. The ferry finally arrived and we saw Rick & Michele's friends that were coming. We said a brief 'hello' and 'you'll have a great time' before they disappeared through customs and we were ready to board.

We had a nice, air conditioned ferry for the ride back to St. Thomas. Comfortable seats made it a nice ride. Too bad we didn't have this ferry on the way IN! Once we arrived in St. Thomas, we hailed a taxi to the airport ($10/pp). It's a quick ride to the airport...probably no more than 15 minutes or so. We got to the airport at 11:30am. And I hope I never have to fly out of 'there' again! What a mess!

St. Thomas is a small airport with a lot of people going through it. It's open aired and only a couple of agents at each airline's desk. And when you check luggage, there's no belt for them to toss it on behind them, you take it around yourself! After we had checked the nieces 2 bags and got our boarding passes, we found out our flight was delayed until 2:30 instead of our original 1:55 departure time. Sigh....long day just got longer.

It took forever and a day to get through customs and TSA. Corinne didn't know there was a bottle of water in her bag, so they had to hand check that and then run it through the x-ray again. And, they flagged my two bags that had sand in them. I had a really nice TSA man and I explained I was redoing my bathroom in a caribbean theme. When he found out the sand was "all the way" from Anegada, he let me through with it saying I should've put it in my checked baggage. I told him I didn't have any checked baggage. Oh, and the huge conch shell Ryan found on Anegada that had the dead squid fall out of it yesterday on the boat? Yeah...that got thru TSA no problem. It was in his backpack. Wrapped in 3 two gallon ziploc bags and his beachtowel. Go figure?

So, we FINALLY arrive at our gate at 1:00! It took 1.5 hours to get from the entrance of the airport to our gate. Crazy! Most of the troops hadn't eaten anything yet today, so Randy took them all to get lunch while I sat and waited with all the bags. A couple hotdogs, burgers and chicken cost him about $70! That is some expensive fast food!

Our plane finally arrived and they turned it around pretty quickly. It didn't take too long for them to start boarding us. Since we were the cheap seats in the rear of the plane, we boarded in the back.

We stowed our bags (none taken from us this time) and settled into our seats with the other 3 kids in front of us. An older gentleman ended up getting his panties in a bunch because he claimed we were in his seat. He looked at his ticket again and claimed we were in his seats. Then he shouted for someone to get the 'stewardess' (that right there tells ya how old this guy is) and mumbled something about having his ticket for 4 months. Hmph. We had our tickets for 8 months but that wouldn't matter anyway. For some reason, this gentleman and his wife each had an aisle seat...across from each other. He then started to complain to the lady in the aisle seat across from us that she had his wife's seat. Luckily, this lady pointed out to him that HE had the wrong row...he was actually 2 rows ahead.

So everyone was finally seated and we took off. Beautiful sites from above. Leaving St. Thomas, 1, 2, 3 and approaching Miami.

They were playing some weird movie I'd never heard of (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and after giving it a chance, we checked out of it and we decided to finish watching "Puss in Boots"...which we started to watch on the way down. Liked it. It was a cute movie that gave a lot of insight into Puss' past. Since we just had to watch the end of that movie, we decided to start watching another...Unstoppable. This was another good movie...passed the flight time quickly.

Not quite to the end of the movie, and we were told to prepare to land. So, off everything went and we arrived uneventfully at Miami International. I like this airport...it's big, but well laid out. They announced the departure gate for connections and the kids were departing just across the walkway at the next gate. They had just enough time to visit the restroom, check in with their friends, pose for one last picture with their cousin and grab something to eat before they boarded for Orlando. Bye guys!!

After we knew they were on their flight, I went to get changed (into more comfortable, warmer clothes) and then we went in search of some dinner....since we had a few hours to kill before our 10pm flight to PHL. I think Miami airport is decorated so nice! I mean, it's theme fits perfectly and I loved all the fish hanging around! It was pretty and clean...and busy!

We checked the terminal 'map' and decided on TGIFridays for dinner. We walked right in to my surprise...no wait. We ordered drinks and toasted to a memorable trip! The best we've ever taken. We were pretty hungry. Randy ordered a burger and Ryan had a full rack of ribs...while I only ordered a half rack. I knew Ryan was hungry, because he was the first one finished!

After dinner, we went back to our departure gate area and plugged in my laptop to charge it up for the flight home. We still had PLENTY of time till our flight, so we finished watching Unstoppable. After that was over, the guys decided to run and get some snacks for the flight home.
They were only gone about 15 minutes and it was about time to start boarding for our flight home.

On the flight home, we watched Final Destination 5. Even as tired as we all were, we were still laughing at parts of this movie. We have all the Final Destination movies and love them all! This one was no different. Even Ryan enjoyed it! It lasted pretty much the entire flight home. We finished the movie with maybe about 20-30 minutes left in our flight. Ryan couldn't keep his eyes open anymore, and laid down on my lap. We both rested our heads and eyes...knowing we still had just a little over an hour car ride home once we landed.

We eventually landed and as I was walking off the plane, I called for our car. Since we didn't have any checked luggage, I was hoping the wait wouldn't be as long if I called right away. Unfortunately, we walked pretty fast and we still ended up with a bit of a wait on our car...even after stopping by the restrooms on the way out.

Our car came and we jumped in and headed home. (We pay extra to leave right from the airport.) It was just around 1:00 am. We pulled in our driveway at 2:04am and I was the last one to bed and my head hit the pillow at 2:11am. Just think... I woke up in Roadtown, Tortola, and now I'm sleeping in my own bed. (almost 24 hours later!)

It was an awesome trip and we can't wait to go back and do it again!! We might try the Bahamas in a couple of years...snorkeling will probably be SO much better! But...we loved the BVI and anxiously look forward to going back. Once home, we realized there was SO much we didn't see and do...must go back!! We are even thinking of buying our own boat when Randy decides he's ready for (early) retirement and just spend our days sailing.

So you see....there is no possible way Universal can top a trip like our past week.

Next summer we have a southern caribbean cruise booked after our week at Dad's. Stay tuned.... Thanks for reading!
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:24 AM   #63
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Barb -- another fabulous report! I enjoyed every minute! The scenery was gorgeous, you were all having a great time, it was a fantastic vacation! I'll be tuned in for that Southern Caribbean cruise!

Maria
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:44 AM   #64
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Fabulous wrap up. I can see why this was one of the best trips every. it looked amazing.
Thanks so much for sharing it!!
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:25 PM   #65
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Well, Randy has finally finished our video! He managed to whittle about 10-12 hours of video down into a beautiful 2 hour dvd. Of course, I'm not putting that on here, but at the very end of the dvd, is a nice 'summary' of our trip.

...and, he just posted it to youtube.

Put your sound on and enjoy!
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- '04
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:00 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by bubba's mom View Post
Well, Randy has finally finished our video! He managed to whittle about 10-12 hours of video down into a beautiful 2 hour dvd. Of course, I'm not putting that on here, but at the very end of the dvd, is a nice 'summary' of our trip.

...and, he just posted it to youtube.

Put your sound on and enjoy!
That was awesome, Barb! Love It! What a great way to remember your fabulous vacation!!

Maria
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:51 AM   #68
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Loved your trip reports...But i all-way's do!..Omg what a adventure!!!!
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:52 PM   #69
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Well, this will tell you exactly how much we miss the islands (a certain husband in particularly).....

He took our final video and broke it down into 16 chapters and posted it on YouTube.

IF you're interested, I'll post the linx (altho, I think Jen already subscribes to it?) If enough want to see it, I'll post it. Some chapters are a few minutes, some as much as 15 minutes.

But, be warned. These are family videoes and *can* be boring
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(some Universal) Trip reports:
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- '04

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Old 01-26-2013, 05:41 PM   #70
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I'll have to go look.
I got your email but been in and out a lot. I'll reply tomorrow!...or later tonight if I get on my better computer.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:40 AM   #71
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Hey girl!!!

Just checking in.....to see if I have missed any other TR's by you that I might have missed... I always love your stuff.

we made it to a half day at Universal in April....and I will be going on Aug. 24th for the day by myself.....fitting it in after a seminar that weekend. I am excited to see the Diagon Alley stuff.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:23 AM   #72
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Hey girl!!!

Just checking in.....to see if I have missed any other TR's by you that I might have missed... I always love your stuff.

we made it to a half day at Universal in April....and I will be going on Aug. 24th for the day by myself.....fitting it in after a seminar that weekend. I am excited to see the Diagon Alley stuff.
haaaaaayyyyyyy!

omg....how funny is YOUR timing?! We sailed the BVI just a couple weeks ago...working on trippie now. I was going to post at the end of this one a link to the new one. Last summer we did a southern Caribbean cruise, but I never got around to a trip report (it was mostly the same thing everyday, different ports with snorkeling)....... but, I never got around to last year's report.

There is a bit of a delay with this year's report because my laptop decided to die our first day on the catamaran. So, when I got home, I had to buy a new one. Luckily, I had my docs/pix/bookmarks/favorites backed up and my husband is in the process of finishing putting them on the new laptop. I took my dslr camera, got a new underwater camera for Mother's Day (that I took) and my SIL got a new (underwater) camera. Between the 3 cameras, we have just over 3400 pictures I'm still waiting for her to send me hers to include in trip report...but, I'm working on mine and the text in the meantime.

Had a fabulous time....as usual!

We were actually IN Florida when Diagon Alley opened. 6-7 HOUR wait times! Oh heck no! I hope it won't be too crowded when you go. I know OUR school starts back 8/25....so, maybe that will help alleviate some of the crowds. I would like to go, but not with it so new. Soon.....would you believe the last time we were at UO was 2010? We found a new (more expensive) love
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- '04
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:37 AM   #73
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Nice to see you back

Can't wait for the new trippie.........been a long time since last one.......I'm with you,......no way would I wait that long for any ride....new or not!!

Wow.....3400 pics........will tell DH.......he thought our just under 1500 was ridiculous last year......... seems ok to me!
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:54 AM   #74
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Yay!!!! We must've been mentally connecting!
Yep...I know it's probably going to be crazy crowded...but it just worked out I could add an extra day and had a free ticket I could use...so heck...why not. I am not sure when we'll get back there again too, so I figure at least trying to see what I can this time. It's an extra perk day, so anything is better than nothing....at least I am going in with the attitude.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:37 PM   #75
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Wow.....3400 pics........will tell DH.......he thought our just under 1500 was ridiculous last year......... seems ok to me!
haaaayyy! Make sure your DH is sitting down when you tell him 1500 is 'beginner' You can never have enough pictures imo! Are they from the parks...or didja go somewhere else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenseib View Post
Yay!!!! We must've been mentally connecting!
Yep...I know it's probably going to be crazy crowded...but it just worked out I could add an extra day and had a free ticket I could use...so heck...why not. I am not sure when we'll get back there again too, so I figure at least trying to see what I can this time. It's an extra perk day, so anything is better than nothing....at least I am going in with the attitude.
Extra day + free....can't beat it! I have heard they have butterbeer ice cream, but haven't been around for the reviews...it does have my interest! I would go too based on the simple fact of the extra day and free ticket. Even if you don't get to the RIDE, just SEEING it is just as awesome!
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(some Universal) Trip reports:
'12 - '11 - HHN '10 - '10 - '09 - '08/DCL - '07(Jan.) - '07(July) - Mickey Mouse @ Universal!
- '04
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