I just sat down with my family and my visiting mother to do the old-fashioned post-vacation slide-show deal where we sat in front of the TV and went through our trip pictures shot by shot, reliving the adventures all over again. It brought me back to my childhood when my Grandfather would break out his slide projector and we’d shut the lights and close the curtains to watch them up on his portable movie screen. The technology has changed but the tradition remains, and I thought I would share some of the hi-lights of our recent trip with you.
Our trip started out at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL (I had a previous post with some of my shots of Hogwarts here). Our first stop was Olivander’s Wand Shop, where my daughter Mackenzie was chosen to be the wizard who gets to have a wand choose her.
While we were there mainly for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we did take advantage of the rest of the park, including Jurassic Park.
Kegan posed nicely on this typical photo attraction:
After a long day in Orlando, we drove over to Tampa to stay the night before embarking on our cruise. I shot this from our hotel room just after the sun went down:
The next morning, we woke up early and got some last minute shopping for stuff we forgot to pack and then headed onto the boat. We ate a quick lunch and greased our vacation wheels a bit with some umbrella drinks, followed by a jump in one of the pools. Luckily I had my Pentax Optio W80 in my pocket all charged up and ready to shoot.
Kegan stole some kisses from his mommy in the hot tub, while Mac took a spin on the slide:
As we departed from Tampa, I tried to get all artsy with the port scenes using my D90 with a 55-300mm lens.
As we left Tampa, we had to go under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which our cruise ship, the Carnival Legend, clears by only five feet.
The sunsets heading into the Caribbean are always a must-see show.
We spent a day at sea relaxing by the pool, drinking fruity cocktails, and eating soft-serve. Kegan shows us here how to walk on water:
Our first port call was in Mexico on the island of Cozumel. We woke up next to another huge cruise ship across the dock.
The plan for the day was to ride ATV’s through the jungle. Here I am with Mackenzie on our ATV adventure:
And here’s Kegan under a hole inside a cave followed by a shot of him holding a baby crocodile:
Here I am, all dusty and sweaty as we hike through some Mayan ruins wearing my Wild Tours helmet:
That was a blast. I wish I had grabbed a shot of Amy holding a python, which is something to behold if you know how much she hates snakes, but they asked us not to take pictures of their snake. The next day we visited Belize where we went cave tubing courtesy of CaveTubing.BZ.
We had to hike a mile through caves and the jungle with our tubes in hand.
After about 40 minutes of walking, eating fallen coconuts, and tasting termites, we arrived at the launching point.
We ventured into the dark caves, linked together, lazily meandering through the Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve.
After the long journey, we were treated to lunch and all-you-can-drink Rum punch back at cavetubing.bz’s compound.
Before we got back on the ship, Mackenzie had to get some braids in her hair by the infamous Ruth Smith.
The next day brought us to the island of Roatán, where I awoke early to catch the sunrise as we pulled into the shipwreck ridden bay.
After a crazy taxi ride, we arrived at the Bananarama Beach Resort on West Bay Beach to hang out and do some snorkeling.
Amy & Mackenzie got to take a ride on the banana boat, where the whole island could hear Mackenzie yelling “BANANA!!!” at the top of her voice:
Since the West Bay Beach is a public beach, there was no shortage of locals trying to earn a buck from the tourists. These guys were at the least entertaining. Why not make a hat on the end of a dock or maybe catch a barracuda with your bare hands?
The kids had fun swimming out to the floating platform, and jumping off it as well.
The water was fantastically perfect. This was the one day I brought my D90 with me on the excursion and I couldn’t of picked a better place to make photos of paradise. I was able to do a little photo-walk on the beach alone for a little while and take in the sights.
At one point in the afternoon, my wife called me out of the water and told me to look up. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a full rainbow encircling the sun! I wanted to find an element to place it and decided that having the sun peek out from the palm fronds would be the perfect Caribbean scene.
Phew… only one more shore excursion to go. Here’s a shot of Kegan in our cabin making plans for the evening:
The next day brought us to Grand Cayman.
We decided to take it easy and took a quick cab ride to Calico Jack’s where I bought a bucket of local beer and floated in the ocean for a few hours.
We had one last day at sea before we returned to Florida. Here’s Amy getting ready for dinner:
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of one of the photographers that lined the sides of the atrium on the way to the restaurant.
On the last night, I took my wife outside to do our own photo-shoot. Here’s my favorite of the batch:
After spending a week with your service staff and if you’re lucky to get good people helping you out, you can’t help but get attached to them. Here’s Fernando & George with Mackenzie & Amy:
And this concludes my vacation presentation. I remember enjoying those “boring vacation photos” as a kid. Our vacations would go by quickly, but the photos brought us right back whenever we would view them.
Many of the pictures featured here were taken on my little Pentax point-and shoot, which, for a tiny little camera with a tiny little sensor, can be a convenient way to freeze your dirty, wet, and hot memories forever. That sounded dirty. Anyway, as usual, I have a slew of photos on my Flickr set.