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Adventures on Nassau

That's Atlantis from the cruise ship port.

Out of all of the islands we’ll be visiting, Nassau, Bahamas seems to be the most recognizable.  It’s one of those destinations that feels like you’ve heard of other people going to all your life.  Well it’s finally our turn.  The only problem is, we only have 5 hours to enjoy it.  How on earth can anyone see or do anything in 5 hours?!  I’m guessing it all has more to do with getting the ship back to port according to the cruise lines timetable, I mean we have to get off the boat at 7am after all.  Ugh.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Nassau seems to have been taken over by the honking North American style resort of Atlantis.  You’ve heard of it I’m sure.  When you look at pictures of the island, that’s pretty much all you can see.  I am going to attempt to find other things that we can do there though, we’ll see how it goes.

If you’ve ever looked into the history of the Caribbean you will know that pirates played a huge role in it’s development.  Nassau’s location made it prime pirating territory, and has a museum to preserve that history.  Nassau was after all home to the pirate legend Blackbeard.  Here you can stroll through a replica pirate ship, or take a pirate themed tour through the island starting right at your cruise ship port.  While I love history, I’m not sure this type of tour is my cup of tea.  We might however drop in to the museum for a quick peek on our way to other activities since it’s located right downtown.

Now this however is much more mine and Chelsea’s style, horseback riding on the beaches of Nassau.  Chelsea and I are both avid equestrian fans.  We’ve taken tons of lessons throughout the years and while neither of us are proficient, if there’s a horse nearby we’ll be there!  While I was looking for things to do previously I hadn’t seen this activity.  Now we’ll have to chose between this or Blue Lagoon, what a choice!  The only downside to this activity is the cost.  For a 1.5 hour ride it will set you back $150, although it includes a 25 minute drive both ways to the facility I still don’t think it’s in our price range.  We’ll have to see if we can save our pennies.

I have very mixed feelings about this next activity.  There are two different dolphin encounter programs on Nassau, one at Atlantis, the other on Blue Lagoon island.  Swimming with the dolphins was at the top of my list of things to do in the Caribbean; however upon reading further I changed my idea of how cool that would be.  If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m an animal lover.  I think sometimes that I enjoy the company of my pets more than I do people.  Swimming with dolphins would be quite an experience, but, what about the dolphins?  To provide people with such an experience these extremely sentient beings are subjected to a life on confinement.  Now I’m not saying that the programs on Nassau itself are shady but there are many worldwide that are, with tiny enclosures and unhappy animals that occasionally decide they’ve had enough and attack.  As a statement against this type of entertainment, we will be forgoing any type of ‘swim with’ programs unless it is somehow done in the open ocean and the animals choose to be there.

Nassau has a wealth of history, as do most islands in the Caribbean.  To prove it Nassau boasts two other museums on top of the pirate one, and a Bahamian art gallery as well!  On top of all the museums, all you need to do to steep yourself in Nassau’s history is walk down the streets.  With old style colonial buildings everywhere you look you probably can’t help but feel the days of old right there with you.  Visit Christ Church Cathederal, built in 1670, and the very first church build in all of the Caribbean, see all of the pink government buildings from the 1800’s, and walk up the 65 hand carved stairs built in late 1700 to see Fort Fincastle.

Of course there is also a plethora of authentic cuisine, and shopping to do, but ultimately I think we’re still going to find ourselves spending our five hours at Blue Lagoon island, we just have to figure out how we’re going to get ourselves there.  It has been a dream of mine since as far back as I can remember to visit a place with clear blue water.  I think it’s for that reason the Blue Lagoon is so appealing to me.  Finally I’ll be able to see those turquoise waters!  Maybe while we’re there we can do a little snorkling.

So my previous statement that there really isn’t much to do on Nassau if you forgo Atlantis, wasn’t very accurate.  After a little more digging you can see that there’s TON’s to do in the Bahamas, it’s just a matter of choosing.

 

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Cruise Day Countdown – Less Carbs = No cravings!

We only have one week to go until we leave, actually it’s 8 days but who’s counting?  I am determined to get as many workouts in as I can this week and the half of next that we’ll be here.  So far I’ve done three days in a row, and plan to attend class again tonight.  The workouts are getting so much easier as I go.  That’s not to say that they’re actually easy, just easier in comparison to that first week.  That first week I felt like I would never be able to get through an entire class, not to mention barely being able to walk the next day.  Now I can pretty much get through the entire thing with very few modifications.  I love the idea that both Chelsea and I are getting stronger and it shows.

I won’t be weighed again until Saturday, as I refuse to watch that scale every day but I have no doubt that I will have lost at least another pound or two.  That doesn’t sound like much until you think of a pound of butter, and then it’s kind of gross.  On top of the amount I’m losing I have to remember that I’m also gaining a ton of muscle, which weighs more than fat.  I did however take my measurements again and was able to say good-bye to another inch around my waist!  That’s more than three inches total in as many weeks.  I’m wearing clothes I haven’t worn in years and it feels fantastic.

Original Current (After 3 weeks)
Body Fat – ??? 42% Last Saturday Body Fat – 40%!!!!
Weight – ???  – 175 Last Saturday Weight – 171.8!!!
Waist – 41” Waist – 38”

*That’s another three pounds this week, and a gigantic 2% of my body fat GONE!  I am thrilled!

Other than the workouts one of the most helpful things our trainer explained to us this week is the process of carbs, insulin, and how they relate to cravings.  People generally eat three meals a day, and during those meals they tend to eat a fair amount of carbs.  Carbs are responsible for increasing the amount of insulin your body produces giving you highs, and pretty big lows throughout the day.  Those lows are what are responsible for your cravings.  During the first couple of weeks I was working out I wasn’t watching my diet as carefully as I should have been.  I thought I was doing well by staying away from takeout and high fat items, but by the end of the day my cravings were so bad I generally caved in.  After the process was explained to me, I got motivated to cut back on carbs and I honestly can’t believe how much of a difference it’s made.  I fill up during the day with veggies, protein, and fruit, and by night time I have absolutely no interest in gorging, usually I’m not even very hungry at all so my night time meals are miniscule.  In comparison to those first couple of weeks, it really has made the world of difference.  Give it a try for a day or two and you will see what I mean!!!

The nerves are really ratcheting up now that we are so close to leaving.  I feel like we’ve been waiting forever, but now that it’s almost time, I feel like I have a million things to do and no time to do them in.  Figures!  How do you get ready for a vacation?  Lists, organize to death, or fly by the seat of your pants?  I’m also still looking for cruising tips for all you more experienced travellers!

Oasis of the Seas, this is the boat we'll be on in one week!

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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Cruise Day Countdown – Staying Motivated

It is just over a week since Chelsea and I started our exercise program. Both of us are doing so much better after such a short time that I can’t wait to see how we’re doing in a month. During that first class I thought I would never get through it. Never get through it, and maybe pass out along the way. Don’t tell our trainer this, but yesterday’s class was almost easy, in comparison anyhow. After just one week, I feel stronger, have more energy, and I’m once again excited about life.

I haven’t bothered to re-take our measurements yet, and I still don’t own a scale, I doubt there would be much change, but I do know I’m firming up, I feel it, and my clothes fit better already. Unfortunately the program that we’re doing right now is only two weeks long. We have a two week gym membership to try out to fill the last two weeks before vacation, so we can see which we like better. Having started now though, I think we will be joining back up when we get back from vacation, hopefully for an eight week program now that we know we can do it.

The exercise is going well, the diet not so much. That’s not to say I’m running out for McDonald’s every day or anything like that but I’m not having the easiest of times staying away from things that I know are not good for me. I do really well during the day sticking to fruits, veg, and healthy carbs, but come night time everything seems to go out the window. One of the biggest problems I see is time. With the program I’m not getting home until 7pm, or sometimes even later. By that point the last thing I want to do is spend an hour or more in the kitchen, and picking up the phone looks fantastic in comparison. This week I will be focusing on dinners, and finding quick, and healthy ways to stay on track. Do you have any recipes to pass on?

We picked up our return tickets this week and had the same problem as the first one’s we purchased. When I looked originally the tickets were $245. By the time I was ready to buy them, a week later, they had gone through the roof. We figured out that by staying in Florida for three extra days we would save hundreds of dollars, that includes the extra hotel, living, and off work expenses believe it or not! It’s something to think about if you are booking your vacation, tally up costs for hotel, food, and time off work, and compare it against flight costs to see if you might save money by staying a bit longer. More vacation, less money, who would have thought?

Marigot open market, St Maarten

Both of us are getting over the top excited by our new adventures coming up. I’m also a little nervous though. I know the nerves come from the fact that I’ve never done anything like this before, so I want to educate myself as much as possible. I’ve been reading like crazy but I would love to hear from you. Have you ever been on a cruise? What do we need to know? Any tips? We will be visiting Fort Lauderdale, Nassau, Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, VI, and Philipsburgh, St Martin/St Maarten. Have you been to any of these places? What are some of the ‘must see’ attractions?

 

Coral World, St Thomas, USVI

From what I have seen so far, here are some of the activities I would love to see/do. In St Thomas there is a beautiful underwater observatory. It is called ‘Coral World.’ It’s a building that goes right out into the ocean, and underwater so you can see what’s happening under there without getting wet. They offer many exhibits like a stingray pool, shark watching, and turtle pool amongst many other things. In St Maarten, we are hoping to take an Island tour. The tour is done by a local and showcases the highlights of the Island such as a tour of Oyster Pond, a beautiful marina in between the two sides of St Martin/St Maarten, a stop at one of the best beaches on the Island, a tour of the open market on the French side, shopping, and a stop at the local beach bar. I really like the idea of being able to see everything without the possibility of getting lost, however, I’m an independent person so I’m not sure how I’m going to like being told what to do, when I have to leave etc. We’ll see how it goes.

Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau

Lastly there is Nassau, this is the one I’m having the most trouble with. It seems that Nassau has been taken over by the huge money making ‘Atlantis.’ When you look at pics of the Island, that’s pretty much all you see. Even though I’ve never travelled, I know I’m not a typical ‘tourist.’ The idea of being a tourist with all the trappings just doesn’t appeal to me. I want to see the country for what it really is, I would love a glimpse of the locals, and their day to day lives, not a show that’s put on for the entertainment of visitors. As I looked for things to do on Nassau, it’s really not easy to find stuff that does not include Atlantis. While I was looking around, and before I did a bit of research, I attempted to book a dolphin ‘encounter.’ Turns out that Atlantis has a lock on any bookings such as this from the cruise ship, as I tried to book through another place and was told they could not accept our reservation and I would have to go to Atlantis, huh, made me want to spend time there even less. After reading more about swimming with dolphins, I don’t want to do it at all, but that is a discussion for another post. So, we’ve decided that since we will only be there for 5 hours we’re going to hit the beaches in Nassau, seems it’s the only thing we can do that doesn’t involve the gaudy resort. There is a beautiful beach on Nassau called the ‘Blue Lagoon’ I have no idea if this is the actual Blue Lagoon, but it’s where we’ll be.

Spices, Marigot open market, St Maarten.

 

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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Cruise Day Countdown!

About a year ago at this time, my friends and I were madly voting away in a contest to win a cruise vacation.  I didn’t think I stood a chance in heck of actually winning, but as it turned out, by the end I was the one with the most votes.  A few weeks later I received my certificate in the mail telling me I was the proud owner of a 7 day Caribbean cruise for 2, and that I had a whole year to use it.  What I didn’t count on was that the cruise itself isn’t really the biggest cost, and flights were not included in my prize, nor were any of the ‘upgrades.’  Either way, I swore to myself that I would make it happen.  So, about a month or two ago, I realized that my year was very quickly running out.  I had until April 15th, so I called and booked it for April 7th in the hopes that by some miracle we could pay for the flights.

Oasis of the Seas

April 7th is now 6 weeks away, and after scrimping, and saving our pennies, we’re all set to go!  Passports and plane tickets are in hand, and my daughter and I are now planning out everything we’ll do aboard Oasis of the Seas, and on our shore excursions in Nassau, St Martin, and St Thomas.  This is a first for both of us.  Raising a special needs child doesn’t leave a whole lot of money laying around for vacations, so I’m very grateful that I will be able to share this with Chelsea.  Ben and Dad will have their own vacation in a few months, and they’re happy with that.

I’d been so busy worrying about plane tickets, passports, time off work, and everything else that goes along with a vacation, that once it was all done I came to the startling conclusion that I was going to be visiting a tropical locale, and that I would not only be wearing summer clothing that shows off legs, and arms, but <gasp> having to wear a bathing suit.  That was when the panic really set in.  We moved to Calgary about 5 years ago, and while I enjoy summers here, they are as far from hot and humid as you can get.  Swimming is not a Calgary summer time activity, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I put on a bathing suit.  Not only that, but it’s been a long winter, spent mostly in front of the computer, causing my weight to reach an all time high.

As all of this was running around in my brain, I realized that not only am I bigger than I’ve ever been, but I really don’t feel all that great.  I’m more tired than usual, less motivated to get out and do things that I normally would jump at the chance for, and just generally feeling blah.  All of this has resulted in a drastic change to my diet, completely cutting out sugar, restricting carbs, increasing fruits & veggies, and lowering fat intake.  I’m not following any particular diet, but in the week since I’ve made the changes, I’m already starting to feel more like myself.  Chelsea and I have also signed ourselves up for an exercise program.  We only have 6 weeks, but at this point, I’m more interested in feeling better than what I will look like in my bathing suit, so we’re going to give it all we’ve got.

I’ve also come across a few other bloggers who are keeping track of their progress on a weekly ‘Fit-N-Firm Friday,’ that have really motivated me.  They’ve already started so if you’re looking for motivation, these ladies have some great idea, check ’em out!  Starting this Friday, Chelsea and I will be posting our stats, along with a count down to cruise day!

Multi Testing Mommy
Pampered Patty
Domesticated Mama
Whispered Inspirations
Kats Confessions

If you’re at all interested, Mighty Ships did a program on Oasis of the Seas that not only shows the boat, but the exact cruise we will be going on.  You can watch it here.

Have you been on a cruise?  What do we need to know?  Are there any ‘must see’s’ on the Islands we’ll be visiting?

Natoma

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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