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31 July 2015

Our Island Home

So you've seen a lot from St Maarten so far. There was graduation, time with family, and scuba diving. However, Owen and I spent extra time back "home" on island before and after everyone came to celebrate. It was such a special time to enjoy the island just us. It's a bit of a strange thing that a Caribbean island feels so much like home, even after a couple years away. Thank you everyone for welcoming us back and making it such a fun visit! We will cherish the time we had back on island, and we look forward to another trip in the future! More pictures from around the island here. 

Highlights from our vacations
  • Visiting island friends
  • Time on our favorite beaches
  • Scuba Diving
  • Being on the radio again at Island92
  • Hiking
  • Exploring Belle Creole
  • Watching the planes
  • Fishing from the beach
  • Several runs together
  • Explored all the new development and changes around the island
  • Updated pictures of us at Mullet Beach (thanks Melissa!) 
  • and new around the island pictures, that now I can look at and like
  • Ate at our favorite restaurants
  • Lots of trips to Carousel for Gelato
  • Cheap movies
  • Bonfires
  • Feeling right at home

New causeway bridge in the lagoon
Our view for a few weeks
Pic Paradis

Fishing with the security guard (he later cooked one of the little fish we caught)
We took a picture here 6 years ago on our honeymoon, with the same boat!
Great place to stay
Island 92 with Doctor Soc
Dinner with Chris and Sally (Octopus Diving)
Our favorite sports store and owners/race friends, Susy and Juan Pablo
Dinner at So French, Tony's new restaurant (neighbor, used to work at our favorite Thai restaurant)
Papa Dan, local pizza guy and favorite frenchie to harass
My Carousel ladies!! They even remembered me (and got me some coconut gelato!)
Laurent, owner of Thai Savanh' (we were regulars)

Our "backyard"

15 July 2015

Diving St Maarten

After way too long without being able to scuba dive, we jumped right back underwater as soon as we were back on island! We were able to do several dives over the few weeks we were on island, all with the great team at Octopus Diving :) We did the family discover dives I posted about in the previous post, we did some exploration dives, and some wreck dives. I also was able to get Nitrox Certified!

By far the best moment on any dive (ever, not just this trip) was 5 minutes into the first dive at the Fuh Sheng wreck, a dolphin showed up!!! It did some circles around our group, played around a bit, left and then came back again for me to get the perfect picture with it!! I tried so many times to see a dolphin on a dive when we lived on island, going whenever dolphins had been spotted frequently, even once people on the boat saw them but we didn't underwater. So it was such a highlight to see a dolphin 5 minutes in on the first dive back at our island home!

That same dive, between dolphin appearances, a black tip reef shark came to check us out. On the Porpoise wreck, we saw tons of huge lobsters, barracuda, a sting ray, a turtle, lion fish, puffer fish, and trunk fish. On the exploration dives, also our first drift dives, there were so many corals and fans, a couple of swim throughs, lobsters, schools of fish, and we saw a few cuttlefish! Owen enjoyed the exploration dives the most.

It was great to be back underwater, one of my favorite places to be :) I miss living on a tropical island, being able to scuba dive with friends whenever we want. Thanks Chris and Sally for always providing a great dive experience! Wish we were on island still! As always, I've included a few pictures and posted more at SXM Diving. Enjoy!         

Favorite diving moment/picture ever!
Black Tip Reef Shark
Owen with the shark in the back
Trunk Fish
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Flamingo Tongue Snail
Lion Fish
So many lobsters hiding out together

12 July 2015

Family Graduation Vacation!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we were blessed to have so many family members from both sides make the trip to St Maarten to celebrate Owen's graduation. We had a great time sharing our island life with family, some of whom had been before and others this was their first visit. While my parents were there for 2 weeks, everyone else was there for a long weekend. We fit a lot of fun into just a few short days!! We were able to do lots of things all together, as well as some individual vacation/down time. It seemed that everyone had a great time and we were so thankful to have everyone there!

  • Private Scuba Diving trip (thanks Octopus!)
  • Hikes up to the top of Pic Paradis
  • Watching planes 
  • Jet blasted by KLM's 747
  • Exploring Belle Creole (abandoned resort)
  • Mountain biking (thanks TriSport!)
  • Beach time & boat drinks
  • Several family dinners (Thai Savanh, Lolo's, Boat House, Karakters)
  • Plenty of Carousel (gelato!!)

A huge thank you to David, Charlotte, Jared, Mark, Lydia, Christian, Tony, and Becky for making the trip to our island home and celebrating with us!!!  Plenty more photos from your visit and dive trip!!!  Look for more generic island pictures from our vacation soon! Enjoy!

We also want to say a very special CONGRATULATIONS to Lydia and Christian on your engagement in St Maarten!!! We are so happy for you both! How exciting that St Maarten will now always hold a special place in your hearts as well. Can't wait for the wedding!
These goofs got engaged the night before!! but didn't tell us until after they left! 
So awesome to have my bro on island!!
Pic Paradis
At Karakters Beach Bar, yes that pink boat drink was Jared's :)
Jared and me
Lydia and Christian
Me and Lydia
Mark and Owen
Mark and Owen mountain biked with the TriSport group (they're in the back in yellow and blue)
Exploring Belle Creole (I borrowed these ;) from Lyd and Christian)
Jared, me, and Christian waiting to get jet blasted by KLM
Boat drinks

Do they ever take normal photos??
Our "backyard" Mullet Bay

Owen and Mark at Pic Paradis

Visit to the radio
Early 30th birthday dinner, I even got to pick my own lobster!