We were supposed to arrive in San Juan on Monday afternoon, but because of rough seas - we didn't arrive until Monday evening. Those two days at sea - with the boat tossing and turning - were quite difficult for William, who had turned a light shade of green and was happiest when he was standing outdoors, with his face perched over the railing, feeling the warm ocean breeze on his face.
It was almost 8:00 PM when our boat docked in Puerto Rico. We had just enough time to get off the ship, walk across the street to the Ralph Lauren outlet where we bought Charlie a new shirt marked 75% off, buy Dramamine for William, and get back on the boat.
When we woke up the next morning, we were in St. Thomas.
Because we had a full day planned that started early, we had room service drop off breakfast, which we enjoyed on our balcony while the ship docked.
Good morning, Noni!
The plan was that Charlie and I would take the four children to swim with dolphins in Tortola, while my mother stayed on the ship having a massage. Instead, moments after we stepped off the boat in St. Thomas - after a lovely breakfast on the balcony, and after clothing our children in full-sleeved sunscreen protective shirts - the 95 degree humid and windless air engulfed us. As I was snapping off this picture of my mother, in her pink hat, waving from her balcony, as the dolphin tour guide affixed bracelets to our wrists...
Elizabeth leaned near me and whispered, "Everything is turning yellow, I see spots." And then she collapsed, limp against me. I'd been giving both her and Henry a slight hug, so was not fully cognizant of what she was saying - or doing - and I felt annoyed that she was now hanging on me, in what I thought was an attempt to bogart all of the attention from Henry.
So I tried to nudge her upright and gave her a little kick while saying, "Liz, stand up! What are you doing?!" and that's when her head flopped to her shoulders and I could see that her eyes had rolled to the back of her head and she was totally unconscious.
Her sudden fainting spell surprised me, so I quickly scooped her like a baby and gently laid her flat on the ground before gravity kicked in and she fell down. As I was getting her horizontal, Charlie - who was listening to our dolphin tour guide - called over at us, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WOMAN?! WHY IS LIZ LAYING ON THE GROUND?! GOOD GOD, GET UP!!!"
And I called back to him, "GOOD GOD, MAN. SHE PASSED OUT COLD. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK SHE'D BE LAYING ON THE GROUND, IN PUBLIC, IF NOT FOR GOOD REASON?! CAN YOU PLEASE GET ME SOME WATER, STAT???"
A lovely woman who was standing next to me, with her four children, whipped out a huge unopened bottle of Evian and handed it to me, while I tried to peel Elizabeth's long sleeve swim shirt off. She'd clearly overheated and I needed to cool her off. Then I waved up to my mother, who was still overlooking us from her balcony, and summoned for her to come down.
Mom was on the scene within minutes, and Elizabeth was sitting upright, pale as a sheet and horrified that I tried to take her swim shirt off in public. (She'd forgotten that she was wearing a bathing suit beneath it.) We had a split second decision to make as to whether we were going to go swim with the dolphins on another island, or stay behind with Elizabeth. Given that my mother, a retired nurse, was with us, she suggested we leave Elizabeth with her - and go with just the three kids.
So that's what we did.
While we were on our outing to a different island, my mother took Elizabeth upstairs for what would be a three-hour nap. Followed by shopping that included Elizabeth having a Jamaican braid and beads put in her hair, and scouting out places to have her ears pierced.
Meanwhile, we took a boat to Tortola, went to a dolphin rescue center, and were able to dive in to the lagoon and swim with real live dolphins. I'd love to share pictures of that experience, but the photos cost $35.00 each, or $359.00 for the package of 50 photos and well, we've all got really nice photos in OUR MIND.
Henry quickly became best friends with the son of the family that gave us their Evian...
And after spending a full day together, they were making plans to back pack around Europe when they graduate from high school. Or something equally awesome.
A Christmas tree, next to a palm tree (in front of a $100 million dollar private yacht!)
It was such a wonderful excursion. While the dolphins were amazing, just the scenery was enough for me to soak up. It was so picturesque and at one point, I suggested to Charlie that we sell off everything and buy a catamaran and sail around the Caribbean. We could teach the children onboard the boat, and what an INCREDIBLE educational experience for everyone!
THIS COULD BE US!!!
Or, perhaps this if we wanted a more pirate-y feel!
Charlie just laughed and told me to put down the rum and punch.