DH and I both woke up to see the very unframiliar sight of land outside the port hole. We are pulling into St. Maarten and the first day of island time. DH and DS have an afternoon snorkling tour scheduled. DD1 was signed up for the teen island cruise and dance party this evening. DD2 and I are going to check out to Dawn Beach and the hair braiders. But first things first. . . food and shopping! During breakfast DH and I discussed the fact that rarely seeing DD1 was starting to get a little annoying. We decided to institue and family morning and went down to haul the sleeping protesting siblings out of bed. DD1 was convinced when she was told that she was not allowed off the ship without us and if she wanted her hair braided she had to go now! I was 9:30 and the males would need to be back on the ship by noon to make their trip. Family in tow we head to the water taxi. A few minutes later and we are at the dock at St. Maarteen. If for a moment we thought we would have trouble finding a hair braider we were wrong! Soon a deal was struck and we were off to find a shady spot for the ladies to do their work. Here I'll digress and give you some tips. Take water! Our braiders took about an hour and it get's hot. Look at their books ahead of time and find a style that both you and your child can live with. Set a number and braides and what you will pay per braid, otherwise your childs head will be covered in lots of tiny braids. The sun became too much for DD1 and she asked to return to the ship soon after she acquired her new hairdo. It was easier to let her return than listen to her whine so off she went. DS and DD2 wanted to hit Del Sol and I want to find Tanzanite earring as a early b day present so we hit the main street armed with the map Shelby the ships shopping guide had provided. St. Maarten shopping is. . . well. . . interesting. One long main street teaming with people trying to get you into thier shops. Side streets branching off with more small shops. Some stores we went into people were falling all over us and some we were ignored. DH bargined for my earrings. It is a great system, I tell him what I want and about what I want to pay for it. When they show me the one I want most I give him the signal and he haggles. The menfolk leave DD2 and I to complete the shopping. DS request we get the color change necklace he saw at Del Sol. I want an outfit for the tropical party tonight and DH has instructed that two bottles of Bailey's Irish Cream be added to the shopping list. I was trying on a dress when DD2 announces "My stomach doesn't feel good" and by the look on her face she means it. I hustle her out of the dressing room and they show us the bath room just in time. Poor little thing. I buy the outfit I tried on (a very loud lime green and yellow thing) more out of gratitude than any great desire to own it. We get on the water taxi and wait about twenty minutes for one of their crew to bring thier lunches back. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but I have a sick child and don't want a repeat of the scene in the bathroom. Back on the ship, cooled off and rehydrated DD2 decides she might want to try some lunch. I quickly veto all the fast options as too greasy, Topsiders is doing Mexican, too spicy. So we head to Lumier's. I explain my dilema and they came through. They were serving pasta and make a special one for her very light on the sauce. Since I was still OK I get the alfredo it is wonderful. We are seated with a couple about my age and another older couple. The conversation is pleasent and food excellent. We decided to try to salvage the beach day but opt for Great Bay instead of Dawn as we already have the arm band for the water taxi and it will be much closer to the ship in case DD2 has a relaspe. We spend about two hours on the beach but the sky is overcast, and the people selling necklaces and hair braiding make it hard for me to relax. We are both ready to return to the ship. DD2 goes to her club and I head off to the 4:30 tone zone class and then the rainforest room. This is getting to be a habit. DH, DD2 and I all catch the 6:00 showing of Atlantis. It seems a little new age and rather violent for Disney, but it is entertaining. We see DD1 who should have been off to her cruise and dance by now. She informs us that it has been cancelled due to high winds and possible storms. She agrees to get her siblings settled at dinner while we head to Palo's. Karenina is our server tonight. She is a delight. If you are sailing before December and going to Palo's ask for her. After December she will be starting a new life down under with one of the Palo's chefs. We are having trouble deciding what to eat, so we look over at the next table to ask if they like what they are having. It turns out to be the couple that DD2 and I had lunch with. Again, more good conversation and excellent food. DH notes that one of the other wait staff seems to be getting a hard time from her table. As we leave (and the place is almost empty) he goes over and kisses her hand and tells her how well she handled herself. This is how we met Erika, another of Palo's delightful staff. The breeze is rather stiff as we exited dinner so we decide to pass on the deck party. We return to our room to find the kids have just finished dinner. DS and DD2 want to go to thier dance so we decide to head up to make sure they find thier way. The dance was held in Off Beat with black lights and glow sticks. It looked like everyone was having a good time. We did hang around long enough to get to know some of the counselors and hear about thier working conditions. At this point reality starts to rear it's ugly head. The contractor was told we would check e-mail tonight if he had any qustions, I am wondering how dad's post op visit went. We have been gone a week now and it is time to check the e-mail. It takes about 30 minutes to get a spot. At $0.75 a minute I don't think I take that long but the bill comes to $9.00 to find out there is nothing to worry about. Mind at ease it's time for sleep. Tomorrow is St. John and Snuba. Today it is DD2 and I who have to be off early. I start my day with coffee then Fiona, the only women I know who barks out order for a stretch class, eight more, seven more.. . . Yes I am very well stretched out by the time I change for the beach. We pack our snorkel gear and lots of water. I am not having a repeat of yesterday, say goodbye to the rest of the family and off we go. There is a line of open air cabs waiting at ship side. I hear the family in front of us talking about their plans for Coki Beach. Great I was a little nervous about getting in a cab with just my daughter. The fee is settled at $6.00 each, what I expected from reading DIS. 007 is our cab driver. He keeps up a monolog about the island and the people. As we pass the hospital he tells us they are in desprite need to teacher and nurses. Good to know if I ever want to spend some time on an island, I'll have a job. We arrange for 007 to pick us up at 1:30 and head for the beach. DD2 and I are to meet our guide at 10:30 so this gives us about an hour to play. I much prefer Coki to Great Bay. The slope is much more gentle and there are fish everywhere. We get our gear on and start exploring. The fish are close enough that you can stand with your face in the water and watch them. We surface to see a lady dragging tanks and rafts onto the beach. This must be Tammy. I introduce myself and we go up to Coral World to Pay and fill out forms. DD2 and I will be joined by a honeymooning couple and a father daughter pair from the Magic. Tammy checks out our gear goes over the instructions and it is off to the beach. Snuba is just like scuba in that you have a regulator and a weight belt, but different in that the tank is twenty feet above you riding on the surface on a raft. All of sudden I was back in college when I had the time, money and inclination to keep up with my scuba. This was great, fish, lots of fish, everywhere, coral, and a ramora that acted more like a stray dog than a fish. It followed Tammy everywhere she went. We snapped pictures with our disposable camera and Tammy took pictures with her digital. All too soon it was over. We headed up to Coral World where they have a shower repacked our gear and took about 45 minutes to look around Coral World as it was part of the snuba package. We waited for 007 turning down numerous cabs, when a driver arrives asking "you waiting for 007?" He told me to get you. So we all pile into the cab. The driver hails 007 on a two way radio. He confirms that he sent this driver and he is stuck on the other side of the island. The reason becomes obvious as we travel the winding roads back to the ship. A open truck loaded with bags of cement is laboring up a hill in first gear. This causes a two mile backup behind him. 007 honks and waves has he passes us on his way to Coki. This cab driver charges us $7 a piece so I decide to pay him with the wet money I have and not tip him. When we get back to the room it looks like DH's goal of getting a parrot shirt has been achieved. There is a loud green shirt with red macaw's sitting on the bed. Too bad last night was tropical night. DD2 and I decide to take advantage of the semi empty ship to try the Goofy pool. I have no trouble finding a chair and we get into the water. Even half empty this pool is too crowded. After getting kicked and hit I decide to get out and head for the hot tub. Here I find DD1 and eleven of her new best friends. Since she is in no position to move I decide it is the perfect time to harass the daughter. I took one of the cups they had laying around filled it with water and dumped it on her head. Somehow this seemed to amuse everyone but DD. I make up for it by taking a digital picture of her and all her new friends. Tonight is one of the things my family has been looking forward to. We all gather at 6:30 for Who Wants to be a Mousketeer. DD1 has gotten seats down front and insist we sit with her. It seems she doesn't want to be without a parent if her seat is called. Adrianna comes over to inform us that if she is called she is ditching her mother and taking DH up with her as he know more "Disney stuff". We sit and watch the game progress. So far we are unbeaten as a family but everyone has ditched at the $400 question. The final contestant pair get to the $750 question and I don't have a clue what the answer is, nor does DH. The answer is C intones DD1. This was an obscure question about the original sponsorship of DL. Well, darn if they don't choose C and they are right. Here it is the cruise question. Which character was not play by Haley Milles? Now I could eliminate two but they I was stuck. D! the answere is D but DS and DD are dead sure. The family onstage bails out and yes, the answer was D. DD1 all need of her family forgotten heads in her own direction while the rest of us go to Sailor's Tales. This is the Disney version of "To tell the Truth" with CM's in character inventing definations to strange words and the audience guessing who is correct. The most amusing part of this game is when one of the CM's got in finger stuck under the table. Mishka, who has been with Cory B druing the cooking is trying to be the score keeper while helping the CM get unstuck. All the while he has to stay in character. It was a hoot. I would have loved to see the adult version. Another excellent dinner. Pairjo is teaching Taylor how to say good evening in Thia. Jane has been telling you of the challenges of getting a Japanesse staff to learn to make Peanutbutter and Jelly Sandwhiches. During dinner Jane, Barb and Andy decide to go see Michael Harrison the comic/ventriloquist. DD2 wants to go to the family SPY party so I decide to take her. The party is jammed and we soon leave. She must still not be feeling good because she asks me to stay with her while she falls asleep. We go over the navigators to see which cards she needs to complete her set as she is off to dreamland. Mom isn't to far behind her.