Thursday, August 18, 2005


Well, time to get this blog entry off because life keeps happening! The trip to the VirginIslands already seems so distant! We had a great time. The girls and I spent two days in Orlando (Universal Studios and Sea World) on our way to the Caribbean. It was very hot and humid.. Almost unbearable, if not for the occasional air-conditioned ride! As it was our first trip to Orlando, we all thought there was SO much to do there, and thought it would be fun to come back for a week, but in the winter!

Then off to the Virgin Islands, our delay in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and at Customs on Tortola was long enough that the first thing we did was change plans and stay on Tortola for the night, hung out at the beach and had a great dinner. Then the next day we were on the boat. If you haven't seen the boat, it is pretty nice and can be viewed outside and in at Kelsey, Sara, and I shared a room and the other 17 of the Swenson party all shared double suites, filling the capacity of the boat. There were also 7 crew to attend to most every need, a 24-hour open bar, plenty of snorkeling, kayaking, diving (for the 6 people that decided to participate, including Kelsey), a theater room (for those with stomachs of steel!), jumping off the boat, shore trips for shopping or beach, card playing, and two hobie cats at our disposal. Not to mention 3 gourmet meals each day, surprisingly well portioned, as I didn't feel like I over ate at all. The trip in general was better than expected. We didn't have the usual family spats, which looking back must have been because the crew made all our decisions for us. That has to be the best investment of all! The first thing the crew said when we got on is that this boat was their home and they considered us guests in their home, and truly we felt that hospitality, they did a great job and the it was a very pleasant atmosphere and experience.

The next best investment was the diving. Since we hadn't gotten Kelsey certified before we went, we expected the "resort course" (for non-diving first time tryers) to be one trip in the water. All the divers were surprised when it turned out the resort course included a dive every day. The $75 investment was well worth it and Kelsey feels like she has picked up a new hobby for life. This is fitting well into her aspirations to become a marine biologist/marine wildlife photographer. She thinks she will spend a year someday working on the Cuan Law. She had her 15th birthday while we were there and she felt properly recognized as the crew threw her overboard in celebration.

The weather was perfect (a bit hot but very pleasant on the boat and in air conditioned rooms!). We were on the boat 7 days. The girls and I went home that last day. It will be a trip we won't forget soon. A proper celebration of my parent’s 50th anniversary (even if the crew did NOT throw them overboard). I've included a few photos here, and in the future will provide a link to imagestation for those who are interested in more, once I have everyone's photos and can select a "best" set.

The girls are now back in Albuquerque, and I'm back in Jackson to carry on life. It somehow feels changed. The girls started school last week, Kelsey as a sophomore, Sara in Middle School. Those are stories for another day.