Thursday, February 2, 2017

Anniversary Trip: Cruise Day 4 (Mahogany Bay)

One of the few things that I would have changed about our cruise was the order of the stops--and that was mainly because of the onshore activities Ryan and I chose to do. It would make zero sense geographically, but I would have loved to go to Belize between Grand Cayman and Mahogany Bay. But really, we were on a cruise having a great time, so it didn't matter much!

Mahogany Bay is a port in Honduras that is actually owned by carnival. Essentially, the boat pulls up to a floating dock, you get off the boat and immediately enter a very clean and new looking outdoor shopping area, then follow a path to the beach. And that's about it. But it is absolutely beautiful. I thought Florida was jungle-y and awesome until I saw Honduras, which is maybe truly a jungle. Anyway, we'd actually bought a "shore excursion" in Mahogany Bay--unlimited rides on the Magical Flying Beach Chair (it's really called that), a "clam shell" shade on the beach, floating mats, and a kayak rental. The MFBC was our first stop. It's basically a ski lift that takes you from the shops to the beach and it is so cool! You "fly" over the tops of trees and then over a short stretch of water. It doesn't move super fast so is super relaxing. And the views are spectacular. About halfway through the trip, the lady in the chair in front of us pointed out a sting ray that she could see in the water down below us, which was super cool.

When we got to the beach, we got all set up in our clam shell, then took our snorkeling gear over to the dock. This is the main reason I would switch the order of the ports: we'd just snorkeled the day before! And, after our rough experience the first day, I was a little hesitant to snorkel again. The water was calm, though, so we decided to try it out. I know this probably isn't ideal for snorkeling, but I would much prefer snorkeling where I gradually got to walk into the water instead of dropping in to water over my head off a dock. Anyway, after initially starting with Ryan and having breathing issues AGAIN, I sent him ahead and decided to float near the dock while I got used to the water. Finally, I worked it out and started swimming. And I am so glad I did! The snorkeling in Mahogany Bay was so different than in Grand Cayman! The ground was mostly sand, instead of coral, but there were several coral formations around. The fish were different and possibly even more varied. And the coral  at some points came high enough that I could actually see the fish swimming through and around it. After a while, I went back to the dock for a break. Ryan came in shortly after and told me we HAD to go back out because the snorkeling got even more amazing when you went further. So we did! And he was right. The further we got, the more coral there was and the more fish there were! It was beautiful. 

Eventually, we were snorkeled out and headed back to our clam shell. We decided to go back to the boat for lunch, this time walking through the jungle path instead of riding the beach chair. After lunch (and another ride), we went to get our kayak. Kayaking was one of my favorite things we did that day and I am so glad we decided to do it! You kayak along this channel of water that is separated from the ocean by dense jungle. It's not a long way, but at the end there's a little island you stop at. And next to the island was a guy swimming in a roped off section in the water with a giant 100-year-old sea turtle!!!! Soooooooo cool. We got to touch and feed the turtle (and feel a little sad that the turtle did not have a lot of room to move around in). The ride back was beautiful, too. 

After kayaking, we decided to give our ocean floats a try. They looked like thick yoga mats and were super buoyant. There weren't waves at Mahogany Bay, either, and the water was warm--so floating around was really nice. 

When we were ready to head back to the boat, we made a stop at the shops (of course) and bought Lila and adorable Honduran soccer uniform. We brought back a Mexican soccer uniform for Reed from our first cruise, and all three kids had worn it. The Mexico uniform was getting a little (lot) beat down and is one of Lila's favorite things to wear, so we went on our cruise planning to get Lila a new one. She loves it :) 

We rode the MFBC one last time on a full circuit just because we could (and because the views were seriously ridiculous), then went back to the boat for the night where we ate more, watched more shows, and generally had a great time.


 
The Magical Flying Beach Chair!


On the MFBC

See? Very jungle-y


This was taken from the beach chair and shows the channel where we kayaked.


The kayaks behind me were the kayaks we rented.

It was rainy and we did so many things in the water that we were just WET all day! This picture was taken during our jungle walk.

The caution cones made me smile.


Kayaking


Ryan touching the sea turtle.

You could see these two shipwrecks from the boat!


We were super pumped to be assigned to a table that was just for the two of us! At breakfast, we sat with various people depending on when we got there. But at dinner it was just the two of us! Our waiters were so great and super friendly. Antonio, our main waiter, called us "Miss Megan" and "Sir Ryan" and was excited to finally see us on night three (on night one we'd eaten lunch too late and on night two we didn't want to dress up, so we ate elsewhere). His assistant, Onur, was literally ALWAYS smiling. They were awesome!


The flying beach chair in action!

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