(With our tour guide for the day - Deirdrich!)
(Mom & Dad were troopers and road in the back of the van. They had to crawl out of the backseat at every stop. Steve and I were in the next bench. The other family took up the next two benches in the front. We're not sure how the pregnant lady and "old couple" got banished to the back.)
(We got to see all sides of the island and all the different view St. Martin had to offer.)
(I don't remember the story behind this view.)
(Look at the stark difference between the top two pictures and then this one. Here is the more touristy/built up side of the island. I don't remember if it was French or Dutch.)
(Iguana Farm! All the iguanas were randomly perched in the tree. It's hard to see, but there's an Iguana in the "stick" section of that tree in the middle.)
(Visiting Calvin the "creature man". He had different sea creatures he had caught form the ocean and let us hold them.)
(Here he's showing the difference in the creatures when they are alive (back row) and dead (front row).)
(Mean freaking out over holding a live Sea Urchin. It's needles weren't sharp to hold, but they were moving.)
(Steve enjoyed the Sea Urchin holding.)
We stopped at 2 different beaches that provided completely different experiences! We stopped at the first beach around midday. I think the Beach was named Orient Bay, but we entered a private portion of the beach. We just had to pay $5 a lounge chair which also included a free drink from the bar! The weather was a little overcast and would spit a little resulting in a cold ocean. We just stuck to relaxing in our loungers and take walks along the beach (I took one with my mom, then one with Steve). While sitting at the loungers, I saw something blowing in the wind and quickly discovered it was a 20 dollar bill! I chased it down and then looked around to see if it belonged to anyone. I didn't see anyone frantically chasing it, or anyone caring at all of the money flying in the wind. So we ended up getting our loungers for free!
(Relaxing on our free loungers! Woot Woot!)
The second beach was Maho Beach. It's not your typical rest and relax kind of beach. It's a pretty narrow strip of sand that separates the ocean from the airport runway. The main attraction of this beach is to stand on the sand and watch the planes fly in over head, or to brace yourself as the planes take off (they send a jet blast that can literally knock you over). We would all stand and watch the planes fly in over head, but when one was about to take off, Dad and Steve would stand in the "jet blast zone" while Mom & I stood off to the side and watched. The smaller the plane, the smaller the jet blast (basically you'd feel the wind). But the bigger the plane, the bigger the jet blast (they can knock you over and also pelt you with dust/sand bits). We were only there to witness a small prop plane and a medium sized plane take off (it did knock Dad and Steve off the cement barrier they were standing on).
(Here's the best picture to show Maho Beach's set up. The ocean is to the right, and the planes would fly in from that direction. The airport runway is just beyond that fence on the left. There is a cement barrier between the little roadway and sand where the people lined up.)
(We're sitting on the little cement barrier. I think I'm chastising Steve over what he got us into. The metal barrier behind us reads "Danger - Jet Blast". Steve at this point was talking about how when the big planes take off, it literally knocks people into the ocean.)
(Medium size plane zooming in over our heads.)
(My photography skills are very lacking. This picture was taking by mom who was much better at lining up the planes flying in. All Steve wanted was a shot of a plane right over his head. I failed on all attempts an this was the next best thing.)
Our tour ended with a pit-stop at our tour guide's favorite store. It had some great sales and lots to choose from. I came out with a dress and swimsuit wrap, Mom came out with the rest of her souvenirs for people, and dad came out with a new hat! Steve came out with his money - hah!
That evening, we were pretty tired! We had to hurry up with dinner in order to make it to a review dance lesson for our "super secret dance". Thanks to all our practicing (and mom's video skills!) We were some of the strongest dancers during the practice!
(Nightly Dinner picture!)
(Nightly Dinner picture!)
(Have I mentioned our crazy waiters? This night, Arthur had a huge story about how I'd left my boot up on the Lido deck that afternoon (we ran into him late in the afternoon up there while he was working). He then came back with my "lost boot". Ha! What a character!)