Friday, April 30, 2010

With a Cherry on Top Blog Hop!

Welcome to The Caffinated Cropper's Customer Blog Hop! This month, we are all featuring The Caffinated Cropper's With A Cherry on Top kit. To start at the beginning of the blog hop, click here. You don't want to miss any of the blogs because there are prizes hidden along the way!

There are two things that I love to scrapbook: photos of Emma (my granddaughter) and photos of Tiffany (my Shih Tzu puppy)! If I get a photo of Emma and Tiffany together, then there's no stopping me! Here's a layout I made for Tiffany featuring photos from the day we brought her home. She was 8 weeks old. You can see me with my other two Shih Tzus, males named Indiana Bones and Wylie. Of course, my favorite photo is of Emma and Tiffany kissing each other! That also happens to be my daughter's (Emma's mom) least favorite photo. LOL
In addition to the kit, I used 12x12 cardstock (CTMH's White Daisy, Bubble Gum, and Garden Green, as well as SU's Real Red) and ink pads (SU's Real Red and CTMH's New England Ivy, White Daisy, Garden Green, and Sweet Leaf). A few weeks ago, I made a scrapbook layout of Emma using this kit. You can see it here.

As I mentioned, there are prizes hidden along this blog hop. A random comment poster from every blog on the hop will win a free mini kit from The Caffinated Cropper! So leave a comment and then hop on over to Stephanie's fabulous blog for another cherryliscious project!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy Friday with a cherry on top!

Tortola

Our third Caribbean port was the island of Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands. Did you know that the U.S. and British Virgin Islands were first spotted by Christopher Columbus in 1493? The Spanish tried to settle on the islands, but famous pirates (such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd) were the islands' first true inhabitants. The Dutch later took control of Tortola until the 17th century, when the British usurped their control and established sugar plantations on Tortola and the surrounding islands. The sugar industry thrived until the mid-1800's when slavery was abolished. This impacted the economic climate of Tortola, leading many of the white plantation owners to return Britain. Despite the change in Tortola's economic climate, Britain maintained control of the island and does so to this day.

Here are the views we had as we pulled into the port.
We docked in Road Town, the capital of Tortola.
Tortola is well known for its snorkeling sites, one of them being Norman's Island with its three caves. You can see one of the caves in this photo.
These two shots were taken near Norman's Island. The snorkeling was a bit better here.
We were actually disappointed in the snorkeling. It was a cloudy day, which meant that the visibility wasn't great and not many fish were out and about. Still, the water was warm and calm. We didn't take many photos, mostly because we were in the ocean all day!

Tomorrow I will post photos of Bermuda~they are my favorite!

Wishing you a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

St. Maarten

Our next stop was St. Maarten, the smallest land mass (36 square miles) in the world to be shared by two countries: France and the Netherlands. It's difficult to notice when you cross from one side to the next. The most notable differences are the vehicle license plates (completely different for each side) and the French bistros and bakeries. Everyone is free to cross from side to side~there is no border control or formal border crossing.

Things were not always so amicable between the two sides. Roughly 350 years ago, the two countries entered into The Concordia Agreement, the oldest active, undisputed treaty in the world. This treaty allows both sides to operate commercially on either side. In the 1980's, the Danish side opened itself up to investors to develop tourism. The French side soon did the same, even offering tax incentives for French citizens to invest in tourism and charter boats.

Today, St. Maarten is known for being the yachting place in the Caribbean. Do you remember seeing photos of Tiger Woods' mega-yacht during the height of his scandal? Well, those yachts are bountiful in St. Maarten!

This was our view as we pulled into port.
As you look at these photos, you'll notice my quirky fondness for taking photos through tree branches. First, we toured the Dutch side for awhile. This is our ship in the background.
As we walked along the beach in the above photos, we laughed at the progression of these signs.

I think this is one of my favorite photos from the whole trip. I love the clouds!

Finally, we ended up on Orient Beach for some fun in the sun!
We had totally forgotten that the beaches are "clothing optional" on the French side of the island. We were quickly reminded when two topless women strolled along right in front of us. All I could think of was how badly a sunburn would hurt there! Rick thought that was funny! LOL
Yup, another day in paradise! Tomorrow, I'll post photos from Tortola.

Have a sunshiney day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

St. Thomas

Our first port was St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's capital, Charlotte Amalie, is named after a Danish Queen. The capital sits in the harbor and is the most visited port in the Caribbean.

St. Thomas is every bit as beautiful as I had imagined. As you can see, the water was like glass. It didn't take long for Rick to decide that he could live there. Here are the views we had from our cabin balcony as we pulled into the port.
We went on a shore excursion to the heart-shaped Magen's Bay, rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world. It sits opposite Charlotte Amalie. On the way to Magen's Bay, we stopped at a scenic spot called Drake's Seat, the highest mountain (1,500 feet) on St. Thomas. Legend holds that Sir Francis Drake, commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I, spied on the Spanish Fleet as it passed through what is now known as Drake's passage.
This tree was at Drake's Seat. It is not native to St. Thomas, but was imported from Japan several hundred years ago. Now, of course, it can be found all over the island.
These views look down from Drake's Seat onto Magen's Bay beach, which was our destination.
See the strip of sand in the upper right corner of the above photo? These next two photos were taken from that beach. Even though it was cloudy and a bit cool, the water felt soooo warm to us! When we left New York 48 hours earlier, it was 44 degrees and raining. The air temperature on the beach was in the upper 70's and the water felt even warmer. Guess that's what happens when you are a New Englander, even a transplanted-from-L.A.-via-Colorado one!
On the way back to the dock, we stopped at a second scenic overview. You can see our ship in the background of this photo.
I managed to catch this seaplane just as it landed.
That night was the first of two formal nights on the ship. From swimsuits and flip-flops to formal wear and heels~I think I prefer the former!
Tomorrow: St. Maarten! Have a great day!