We Got Away!

10 years ago, we honeymooned to a wonderfully quiet little bitty island.

It was the prefect place for two newlyweds to begin a marriage

We loved our honeymoon and everything about it was perfect.  (Except for one little incident with diet coke which shall not be mentioned.  Because all is forgiven and lessons important to the marriage were learned by all.)

And ten years ago, we promised ourselves that we would take a trip to celebrate our tenth anniversary that would be just as wonderful as our honeymoon.

Little did we know just how much we would need a trip!

We decided that our honeymoon concept was so perfect that we would try that whole itty bitty quiet island thing again - but we would be "adventuresome" and try a different itty bitty island.
Yes.  Clearly we are risk takers.
We considered doing some wild exotic adventure trip but ultimately we knew that what we needed was not a great story about an adventure but a quiet trip just being together and not having to think through anything.
So that is exactly what we did.

In the months leading up to the trip, I pretended like it was a honeymoon - I ordered special clothes and a few new outfits and a fun new swimsuit and even special shampoo & perfume & travel candles. I really had a fun time packing for this trip and couldn't wait for a week alone with my husband far away.  

It was exactly what we needed and far and above our wildest imaginations for what we wanted.

But, unlike ten years ago when we honeymooned, this time we had to deal with childcare.
Here's how it went down:
Friday - kids & I drove to Dallas, parked, & high tailed it thru the airport.
When we got to security - I realized that I was alone with two small people... & trying to get the following medical items through security:
needles & injection pins filled with important (& expensive) medicine
bilateral prosthetics
nebulizer (Will had had a possible asthma attack/something wheezing going on that week)
antibiotics (Ellie had had double ear infections that week.)
So - the previous flight the kids & I had been on earlier in June had been a disaster in security.  I think one of my pet peeves is that TSA does not have a consistent plan for handling a child with prosthetics.  Sometimes, we get lucky & it is no big deal.  Sometimes, they make a huge deal out of it & make Will (& even Ellie & I) go through lots of testing & waiting.  The previous trip was one of those times plus we had to wait 30 minutes for a supervisor to show up & "approve" Will to fly... and while waiting, I was told not to speak to or touch him - my 5 year old!  (**I had even asked the officer if I should remove his prosthetics and send them thru the x-ray to help expedite the process.  I was told not to - to leave them on him.  And then they put him through a ridiculous process & made us wait forever.  I was so irritated.  I think that has to be some sort of disability discrimination.  Ok.  Rant over.)  All of that said - flying with so many medical devices & by myself with the kids - you just never know how TSA is going to handle it.
Amazingly - it was easy!
We grabbed lunch and enjoyed our flight to the grandparents'.
I spent the night with the kids & their grandparents.  I wanted to train them on giving Will his injections and go over our routine.
R mocked me for typing a 6 (and 1/4) page document detailing our routine, their food preferences, ideas to wear out energy, etc.  I couldn't help it - it was my first time to leave them for this long & to leave the country for so long & I was a nervous wreck!
However, the kids had a great time & we even got to facetime during the week - it's so crazy to be able to watch my kids swim live while I am in another country!

So - Friday we flew to grandparents'. 
Saturday, I had a text from R that he was in intense mouth pain.  He has had periodic pain in one tooth and known for a year that he might need a root canal.  Not wanting to spend the time or money if he didn't need a root canal, we had opted to wait and see.
The pain was intense and there was no way he could leave the country like that.
So, I kissed my kids (repeatedly) & boarded a plane.  Meanwhile, my parents got on the phone to try to find an oral surgeon to do a root canal.   While I was flying, my dad found an oral surgeon he knew at the golf course.  By 2 pm, R was in his office & having a Saturday afternoon root canal.
I got home, finished packing (& praying all would work out for us to) & we went out on a double date with friends.
By Sunday morning, R was in pain in a different tooth!  
We were scheduled to leave around noon.  
The surgeon called to check on him & they decided to check out the other tooth on a Sunday morning.  I headed to the store for some last minute things & pain killer for R & fully expected that he would have a second root canal that morning.
Thankfully, it didn't require a root canal (yet - he actually is still in pain & goes back again tomorrow!)- but got some more meds and permission to leave.
We hit the road & boarded a plane... to Miami where we overnighted in the same airport hotel we stayed in on our honeymoon.  It is literally in the terminal and the windows overlook the airport terminal.  Not luxurious but convenient.  By the next day, I had flown for 4 days in a row & was ready for a vacation!

We finally arrived at the bigger island near our itty bitty island.  Customs was a breeze and before we knew it we were being whisked away in a private car to a waiting boat.  The boat took us to our itty bitty island and paradise.

The view from our room
Yes, it was perfect.

Upon arriving in our room, this was waiting for us - 
it was going to be a good week.

Our room

Our back patio
(it really was that sparse - just hardly saw people)

My favorite room - 
the outdoor bathroom!
My goal was to not take any showers indoors all week - & I accomplished it.  I also loved the bathtub late at night with my book.

A full moon, an outdoor bathtub, & my book - perfect.
(There was also a giant lizard that lived in our little outdoor bathroom but I tried not to think about him too much.)

The swimming pool - 
(again, we kept wondering where the other guests were.  The privacy was just perfect.)

No cars allowed on the island - we got around by cruiser bikes which was so fun.

Watching a storm roll in

I kind of feel like this was Disney Magic for grownups...
like every time we turned around they had done something perfect.
Our fridge was continually filled with our favorite drinks & there were so many little touches that just seemed magical.
I loved how if I set my glasses down, I would find lens cleaner tucked in them...

& treats were waiting for us on our nightstands each night

"Parking" at breakfast

Our first morning, we noticed that in the shallow water, there were huge starfish everywhere!  They were beautiful and hung out with us all week.  They were white and orange and corally red - so beautiful.
I loved picking them up & letting them suction on my finger.  


Our beach spot.
I read 3 1/2 books - in 6 days.  Glorious.
I'm pretty sure reading is my love language - I definitely felt loved that week surrounded by books and sun.
Every morning, when we would get to our spot, a little cooler would be waiting with ice waters and then throughout the day, P would periodically come by offering drinks or "treats" like fresh fruit kabobs or smoothies or ice cream bites or cocktails.
Have I mentioned this was like paradise?
I'm telling you - I loved these little guys

there were also ginormous conch shells.  I loved collecting them and was so excited to find 3 without animals inside.  I carefully packed them to bring home to my kids as their souvenirs.
Unfortunately, we ran into trouble with customs (in another country - not the US)... who made us pay a little extra to check the bag with the shells.
Thankfully, they made it back and they make me so happy to look at them.

I even found a few sea urchins (also already dead) that I could bring home!

Besides starfish & sea turtles, the island is home to birds, a handful of sheep, & these huge lizards.  

See how far that sandbar below stretches?  One day, we walked as far as we could on it until the coral became too painful.  It was really neat to walk so far out in the sea during the low tide.

The swimming pool (empty again)

We had 2 rainy days but it was actually really lovely & peaceful to sit under our hut and read and sleep while it rained around us.

We practiced our sailing...  R was much much much more relaxed with me at the helm this time than he was 10 years ago!

Here we are 10 years ago, sailing on our honeymoon:
(I took a sailing class in college for a p.e. credit... I received a little certificate that said I could sail a little sunfish and I made sure to do so whenever I could.  Granted, in college, I was sailing a sunfish on the Brazos River where we begged God for a current just so we could have some wind & a breeze to cool us off.  The ocean is a wee bit different.  But I was fearless and confident and possibly stupid.
Oh well - we had fun.  Or I did - look at R's face - you can tell he was rather nervous with his brand new wife & her silly college sailing certificate!

Back to the present - 
the island had 3 wonderful restaurants.  We definitely got to enjoy lots of fresh fish, fruit and veggies...

One day, we biked to a private beach (it was like a 3 minute ride)

Upon our arrival there, they had a delicious picnic set up for us

and then we spent the afternoon truly having the beach to ourselves.

We slept, we read, and we snorkeled

(Here we are snorkeling 10 years ago on our honeymoon)

More sailing!

One night we enjoyed the "nightlife."
It was a very quiet island and we were usually in bed by 10pm - that's over 2 hours earlier than our normal (way too late) bedtime.
The rest was wonderful.
The island is a nesting spot for one of the world's rarest sea turtles - the hawksbill sea turtle (the kind of sea turtle where tortoise shell comes from.)  
When we "checked in" at the island (I use that term loosely - the staff introduced themselves and handed us rum punch and then took us to our room,) we were asked if we wanted to see a sea turtle nesting and if so, how late was too late to call our room.  (They nest at night.)  
I was adamant that I really hoped to see a nesting turtle and no time was too late (just once though would be enough.)
I was so so excited when our phone rang one night at 9:45pm.  I quickly told the caller I was on my way to the beach via bike.  She suggested they pick us up on a golf cart because it was too dark to ride to this particular little beach by bike.
So I waited outside my room eagerly.
Several researchers live on the island and they had spotted the turtle nesting and called several guests to witness it.  
When we arrived to the spot, we all stayed quiet and the researchers used red lights on their head lamps while the turtle nested.  Her name was Bertha & she had actually come to the beach 9 times this summer to make a nest but had not done it yet.  This was her 10th attempt - & finally, she was successful!
The red lights do not bother the turtles so that was interesting.
Once her nest was built, she went into a trance and during that time, we could use regular lights and even touch her and take pictures.  She was completely oblivious at that point.
We got to hold her first egg!

One researcher caught every egg - 140 eggs!

Poor thing - laboring away for 140 eggs.  And throughout the summer she will make several more nests for a total of up to 700 eggs!  Then she will take a few years off before nesting again in about 2-3 years!  Bertha has been nesting here since 1987.  That means that she is nearly 50 years old.

Once she was finished laying her eggs, she came out of the trance and the red lights went back on (& we got quiet.)  It took her about 40 minutes to camouflage her nest before she lumbered (sorry, Bertha - but you were a giant lumbering turtle!) back to the beach.  We formed an aisle and she came right through our aisle on the beach and we watched as she gracefully glided into the ocean.  It was so amazing to experience & one of the highlights of our trip!
The eggs will hatch in 55-60 days & I'm trying to talk R into taking me back to see that. (I wish.)  The hatchlings will find their way to the ocean by looking for moonlight reflecting on the water.  This is a very safe beach - few predators & the research team monitoring the nests very closely to help the babies navigate safely to the water.  This was such a cool thing to be a part of.  The whole thing took nearly two hours and then R & I had a late night romantic walk across the island.

One day, R took a windsurfing lesson... 
I watched/took pictures/exercised/tanned from a nearby kayak

One day, we took a boat to a nearby deserted island and snorkeled.
I love parrot fish & got so excited to see several:

Finally, on our anniversary day, well.. it was perfect!
That morning at breakfast, we were greeted by the island hostess with a big "Happy Anniversary" & mimosas.  We spent a perfect day on the beach before heading back to our room.
They were doing the turndown service a little early so we hung out on our back patio...
and then opened the doors to see candles & bougainvillea petals everywhere

 We headed to dinner at an old 1800s sugar plantation home... 
& were very surprised to be escorted through a candlelit aisle to a gazebo for a very private dinner.
On the menu they just happened to have a special cocktail - the "French 75" - which is the name of the restaurant R took me to the night he proposed!  That was fun to see on the list.  And then - the special for dinner was Kingfish - which just happens to be the kind of fish we caught on our honeymoon & had the chef of that island prepare for us!  
(Deep sea fishing on our honeymoon & posing with our kingfish:

We enjoyed a delicious dinner & dessert before climbing the old sugar mill & heading back to our room.
When we got to our room, there was a note from the island manager for us wishing us a "happy anniversary" along with a beautiful matted piece of art as a gift!
It was a very magical anniversary.

Above - our honeymoon & below - the present
At least in these two pictures we haven't aged as much!

Our kids did great & it was really wonderful to get away, sleep, read, laugh, explore, and just be together.  
I've since requested that we do these trips every 5 years instead of 10!  
(We'll see...)

7 thoughts:

Mrs. Jenk said...

You ha e to tell us the name of the island, I am sold!

Karen said...

Our 10 year anniversary is next year and I am obsessing over the perfect place! I LOVED your pictures. Where did y'all go? It seemed perfect!

Annette Honeycutt said...

I've never been a beach person... but ...uh this has convinced me! I want the name of this island!!!! :)

Miles said...

ok I must know the name of this place stat!

Lisa Johnson said...

Where where where? Looks beautiful and like the perfect place for an anniversary. Happy Anni!!

Scott & Shelby Peschel said...

ahh, looks wonderful! Happy 10th anniversary!!! Don't know which I am more jealous - the perfect beautiful setting or the 3 1/2 books! :)

Ashley said...

Will you post the name of the island and resort?

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