After a couple of days at sea, Jay and I were ready to disembark. Grand Turk will forever more be known as our first international locale as a married couple. Over a decade ago I'd used my passport for a trip to Ireland with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. Jay had only ever been to Canada before this. Toronto, more specifically - not exactly a journey into another culture.
Given the nature of cruising, we didn't actually get a passport stamp at any of our excursion locations. While I'm a tad disappointed we missed out on all the ink we could have gotten, we'll have a chance to break our passports in properly late August, so I won't let it keep me up at night.
We decided to try the stand-up paddle boarding excursion for our first adventure off the boat. Jay had hurt his ankle the night before, so I worried a bit about his ability to paddle. I've SUPed before, and knew he could ride the board on this knees if need be.
Exact opposite of river SUPing, we took the boards out with the current on the way to our snorkling site. We had no trouble paddling out or staying standing (unfortunately one poor guy in our group was not as fortunate).
Once we got out far enough, we tied our boards together, put on our goggles and flippers and explored the water below us. The spot must be one used by plenty of guides on a regular basis, because the guy in charge of our crew knew exactly where to dive and find a nurse shark. He even brought it up towards the surface of the water for us to see more closely and pet if we wanted.
I regret not having an underwater camera, because we saw such beautiful flora and fauna. In addition to the shark, there were colorful fish, some pretty purple algae-like things, and a barracuda! Maybe I'll spring for a Go-Pro (or a more reasonably priced knock-off) for Jay this birthday/Christmas season.
Paddling back proved more difficult than the trip out, thanks to the current and wind resistance we were facing. For whatever reason, I couldn't get my stride and ended up far behind everyone else. It wasn't one of my finer moments. Instead of enjoying myself, I found myself thinking nasty things about my husband.
When I got back, the guide wasn't in the water. We'd finished up early and he allowed us to swim in the water before taking us back to our cruise ship. Maybe I wasn't slow, everyone else was just fast. Yeah, I'm going with that. While we splashed around, we got to know our excursion mates a bit better. Turns out, one of the couples vacations where Jay and I live. Our town is definitely not on the same level as Turks & Caicos, but its cool to know that there is something special drawing people here, and I'm blessed to see it daily.
Jay and I saw a bit of the city driving to and from our paddle site. Most of the friends we had cruised with decided to take a historical tour to see it up close and personal. While we had to slow down for a donkey in the road, they had time for pictures. I think a couple of them even petted a group of them.
Jay and I saw the touristy end of the beach, but had no interest in getting a chair or back into the water. Signs everywhere warned us not to leave our possessions unattended, and we obliged. We took our bag o'stuff and got back onto the boat.
We had a bit of time to relax before getting cleaned up and heading back to fancy dinner. Then of course we hit the Majestic Lounge for Blue Moon Martinis, buckets of IPA, and Cards Against Humanity. I'm pretty sure any other group of people would be embarrassed to play this in a very public setting, but not us. Which of course only served to make the cruise that much more fun!!