Once every decade or so the sun, moon and stars align and Jennifer and my spring breaks fall on the same week. This was that year. Unlike many of our far out adventures, we spent the week participating in a relatively tame cruise through the Caribbean. The best part of the trip was spending time with our extended family. Yes, it is possible to travel with family, even in-laws, and all have a great time. We often met for breakfast and always met for dinner. In between, we explored and of course had the dress in hand.
This was our second trip with Holland America and we highly recommend them as a cruise line. The food was great, the staff very friendly and helpful, rooms were clean and reasonably spacious, and the selection of excursions was extensive enough to give us some options for interesting photo shoots.
Our first was swimming, playing and kissing wild stingrays. The excursion started just off the boat where we were walked over to a smaller boat. First, we headed out to the reef for a bit of snorkeling. Given that we were getting wet anyway and we’ve had plenty of underwater scuba shots previously, we left the dress on the boat and took a leisurely snorkel. The guides took great care with the less experienced guests while I just jumped off the side of the boat. Jennifer was going to wait and use the ladder, but people were really slow and before I knew it she took the leap of faith as well
While the coral can’t match the barrier reef, the water in the reef was crystal clear and there were plenty of interesting fish swimming by to make the snorkel worth it. To our surprise a few string rays also randomly swam by and didn’t seem to be too disturbed by our presence.
After the snorkel, we drove a very short distance to a beach where the string rays were known to visit. Truth to reputation, shortly after we beached, a few rays came by for a visit. The guides “assisted” one to greet us. They held them, let people pet them, kiss them, and get a “massage” with the sting rays swimming on people’s backs.
We tried a bunch of difference angles, but the water was shallow, and they were lightening fast when zipping about.
We did get one interesting shot, with my baby point and shoot under water camera.
Sitting on a boat day after day is not enough activity for Jennifer and myself, so when we had the opportunity to hike down from Paradise Peak, the highest point on St. Martin, we took it.
The trip started out fine, but then the clouds rolled in and just as we were about to start it started to rain. Forget that rainy wedding dress shots are not usually our deal, hiking in the rain is definitely not high up on our to do list.
Luckily it stopped raining quickly and we were driven up to the peak. A far different experience than huffing it up to the peak, it had benefits. It’s certainly easier to pose and shoot without being exhausted and sweaty. We told the guide we would only be 5 minutes behind them. The view was great and as soon as we arrived, Jennifer started changing. I quickly set up and scouted the area. When the rest of the group was done with their shots, the guide told us she would meet us 5 minutes down the path and not to take too long.
Jennifer was ready to roll on queue, we took a few quick shots with the wind blowing strongly in our faces.
Within two minutes we were already breaking down the equipment, Jennifer was slipping out of the dress and by the time the guide reached her resting point she turned to find us two steps behind.
We also did a quick shoot in Puerto Rico, but the light was off and we decided to spend our time in a local bar doing a flight of local hooch instead of struggling with light. I think we made the right choice. 🙂
Sadly, our last shoot was going to be a reshoot of the horseback riding in the Bahamas. However, there were rough seas and had to cancel the gallop through the ocean.
However, here’s one last abstract shot off the back of the boat. Yes the water was really that blue!