Punta Cana vacation
Is blogging dead?
Maybe I should just start a podcast. That seems to be the thing now. How would you like to hear the sound of my voice, whining about the inflated price of avocados for 10 minutes every week? I'm sure I'd talk about other things, but avocados are like, ridiculously expensive right now, amirite?
I supposed I'll write about my vacation since that is a thing that happened recently. Then I'll probably forget to blog again until after my next vacation.
Clayton and I returned from the Dominican Republic late last Thursday night. We brought back sunburnt skin, a thing I like to call "airplane face" (seriously, my skin gets so dry and gross when I fly), and an obscene amount of sand that I don't think I'll ever, ever be able to get out my suitcase.
And 2 pounds. I think I gained 2 pounds on the trip. But that's to be expected when you get to the beach at 7:30am every morning and have your first margarita by 9am.
Clayton and I dreamed of a lazy, tropical vacation with no obligations and no schedule to follow. And that's exactly what we got. We arrived in Punta Cana late on a weekend afternoon and I don't think I changed out of my swimsuit until we left 5 days later.
As I said, we got up every morning at 7am, claimed our lounge chairs on the beach, grabbed breakfast, and then laid under the sun until it started to set.
It. Was. Glorious.
I even got up extra early one morning to run along the beach (barefoot) as the sun came up. Who am I!?
I've never seen water so clear and so turquoise in my entire life! I've been to the ocean plenty of times, but the Florida beaches and Mexican resort I stayed at during our honeymoon had nothing on this place. It was a dream. I was in awe of the crystal clear water and spent a lot of time just standing in the ocean and admiring my toenail polish ... because I could see it!
That was another thing! As much as I love the ocean and feel the compulsion to visit it whenever possible, I don't exactly love being in it. Firstly, salt water is just sticky and unpleasant. Secondly, everything I fear most in life just so happens to live in ocean water. I've never been a huge fan of doing more than dipping my toe in.
But in Punta Cana? I couldn't get enough. The clear waters made me brave and we spent a lot of time just bobbing up and down with the waves, not once worrying that a crab was going to run across my foot and ruin my life.
We only left the resort once and that was to experience the Dolphin Explorer excursion. Oddly enough, our tour didn't include any actual dolphins, but they were nearby and I saw them and that's all that matters.
Our excursion took us to a beautiful beach away from the traffic of the resorts and gave us the opportunity to interact with fur seals (!!!!!!!!!!), stingrays (??????), and a shark (@#$%^&!!). I was all about the fur seals and happily shelled out $15 for a commemorative photograph of me squeezing one, but I would have been fine to completely skip the stingray and shark.
I'm not a fan of rubbery animals. Dolphins get a free pass because they're basically sea puppies, but stingrays and sharks are definitely not on my Top 10 Things I Must Touch list. In a word, I was hesitant.
I was mostly hesitant to swim with the shark because 1) it's a shark, I don't care how toothless it is and 2) you had to wear a snorkel and I've never snorkeled in my life. I have zero problems putting my face in the water, but I've always been afraid to do it with a tube in my mouth. One false move and that sucker is filling up with water and you're choking.
Plus, to my earlier point, I am afraid of everything in the ocean. I don't need to put my face closer to it.
But I'm a big girl and would regret it forever if I didn't try, so I begrudgingly put on my snorkel and jumped in the shark pool. We were a group of about 16 people, so we spent 15 minutes bumping into each other and scouring the ocean floor for this elusive shark. Thank goodness we never found it because later in the day I saw it swimming at the surface and it was about 5 feet longer than I thought.
After the toothless sharked ghosted us, we hopped into the stingray pool to snap a picture with one of the slimy sea frisbees.
As you read this post, I think you're beginning to sense a theme. I just can't with 99% of ocean life. The stingrays were friendly which somehow made me more nervous and I didn't love how eagerly they surfaced and tried to get in your arms. Our group stood in a line along an underwater platform and took turns posing for a photo with one of them. While we waited, I chatted nervously with Clayton and accidentally wondered out loud, "What's keeping the sting rays from swimming onto this platform?" As soon as the words came out of my mouth, a monster of a sting ray took a sharp right turn and enveloped the platform right where I was standing. Myself and the three girls to my right almost killed each other trying to claw our way out of the water. I almost kicked it in its creepy slit of a mouth.
Needless to say, I didn't really go for touching the stingray. When it was Clayton's and my turn to hold the ray and smile for the camera, Clayton basically spooned it and I more or less just stood off to the side and pointed in its general direction.
After we touched all the things, our groups were loaded into a boat and taken to a nearby reef for snorkeling. Remember how I said I was scared of snorkeling? I am so, so glad I got over that fear and just went for it because snorkeling in the Dominican Republic was without a doubt a major highlight of my life. No exaggeration. I swam with a school of colorful fish and saw coral that looked like something straight out of The Little Mermaid (that's my frame or reference for all things ocean. That and Jaws). And when the sunlight hit the sea floor? Oh my gosh! I kept gasping out loud in my snorkel and freaked Clayton out because he kept thinking I was in distress. I was just amazed. And since I was still a newbie and feeling a little unsure, we held hands most of the time and it was romantic and magical.
I couldn't get enough of the beautiful water. I took literally 100 pictures of it after we got back into the boat.
Our next stop was a sand bar where we parked alongside other boats and jumped into the shallow water. A floating bar kept coming by with endless cups of the official beer of the Dominican Republic and lemme just say, we had a looooooooooot of fun.
When I last looked at my set of pictures from this trip, there were over 400. It's almost impossible to pick and choose which to keep and which to include in the photo book I will inevitably make. I'm one of those people who wants to remember every last detail and believe that the best way to do that is to take 10 pictures of the same thing. It's gotta be perfect, right?
I love that Clayton and I have such a great time together. It's to be expected that you get along with your spouse, but there's just something about Clayton's and my relationship that makes life so bright and everything feel so new and exciting.
I can't wait to see where we're gonna go next!