When we got back to the Grand Isle Hotel there was a bottle of bubbly on ice waiting for us and a lovely card from all of the team. We were too tired to open it right there and then and saved it for our Honeymoon day!
The next morning Kwanza had planned to whisk us off to a remote island to lay in the beach and relax and enjoy our ‘honeymoon’ but we were so in love with the Grand Isle Resort and had barely had the chance to spend any time there so we asked if we could be abandoned there for the day.
We woke up late, lounged around over breakfast, swam in the pool and met a couple originally from England enjoying their getaway from the cold weather in Canada, their now home. We exchanged pig swimming tales and complaints about the differences between Northeners and Southerners in England and agreed to catch up over breakfast the next day. Nigel, a fellow blog writer, and Diane were a great laugh and we looked forward to seeing them again.
We wasted away our day in the beautiful hotel and early afternoon were collected by Kwanza to go over to her place, Chat ‘N’ Chill to do just as the name suggests. We took a boat over to their island and propped up the bar for the afternoon drinking gin and tonics and feeding the sting rays that come right up to the beach for the leftover conch (I told you they do everything with it!). I loved feeding them and this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! Such elegant calm creatures but Alex was naturally petrified and after one of them sucking the food from his finger tips once he backed off and took pictures instead.
To feed them you must hold your hand flat and keep a grip on the food between your fingers to stop it floating away as you put your hand under the water. They silently glide over your hand (which is the bit that panicked Alex) and then suck the food out of your palm. Alex couldn’t deal with not being able to see the rays mouths and not knowing when the food would be unceremoniously whipped from your hands!
I found it so relaxing and could have sat with the rays all evening but we had been tasked with creating an everlasting piece of art to go on the wall at Chat ‘N’ Chill. The walls and ceilings are adorned with T-shirts, caps and swimming paraphernalia covered in writing, signatures and names of people that have visited. As we sipped our drinks Eddie Irvine sipped his across the bar and we chatted with a Father and Son who were circumnavigating the world. We exchanged stories of break downs and fall outs and laughed at the similarities of the difficulties we had faced. We had a lovely evening and as always, were on the last boat home.
We sulked around the apartment and wallowed in the bath at the thought of leaving such a beautiful place. As sad as we were about leaving I was still super excited to be going home to our families for Christmas.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast with Nigel and Diane and exchanged stories about travel and even discovered that Nigel was the cousin of the great Oliver Reed and we swapped blog details, I really enjoy reading his, even if it is about a trifle recipe its so expertly written I can’t help but enjoy it!
Time of course flew by and before we knew it we had to say goodbyes to our new friends and head back to the airport.
With long faces and heavy hearts we waited at the airport with Kwanza, we cheered up a little to see Kendra arrive also to wave us off their beautiful Islands. I was so pleased we got a chance to see her again before we left. We sipped our Sands beers while we waited for the plane to land (signalling its arrival) and hugged, cried and left Kwanza and Kendra behind as we went through to departures. I had just pulled myself together when Tamika from the Ministry of Tourism popped by to say her goodbyes too which got me started all over!
We loaded ourselves onto the plane with sad faces, I cried again at the beauty of the islands from the skies and then once we landed in Miami for our stop over my emotions roller-coastered around and I was suddenly really excited about going home.
The only way we can deal with the constant unbelievable-ness of what we are doing is to simply deal with each experience as a singular thing. When in Myrtle Beach we were asked if we were excited about heading to the Bahamas and we had to say ‘not yet!’.
To explain better, we can only live in the now or our heads would explode with trying to contain all the excitement and emotion of every single thing that we do, every place that we go, every person that we meet and every wedding ceremony we have held or are going to hold!
Our adventure is so mammoth we can only think about it one teeny fairy step at a time!
So, our next step was going home for Christmas! Going to see our families for the first time really in 18 months! The 18 months had been so full for everyone else too, new babies, newly married friends and family, and all kinds of news to catch up on!
I turned my frown upside down and started counting down the hours to landing in England and hugging my Mum and Dad at the airport…and of course; to freezing our bits off after being in the glorious sunshine for so long!!