Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas, Indeed!

We had a fantastic time on our Christmas cruise, even though it didn't feel like Christmas. I am glad that we weren't here for Christmas, because I would have tried to make it like our usual Christmases, and I would have failed. I would have blamed this failure on Brazil, and I would have cried for home. Instead, everyone had a wonderful time together! And, although I am looking forward to returning to our normal Christmas traditions next year, this was definitely a Christmas to remember!

Getting my "drunk" on (with Virgin Pina Coladas) before we even left the port!
All the drinks were free on this particular line. They were glad to see us coming. We tried to drink extra to make up for the lack of alcohol, so we could get our money's worth. haha

Ready to sail--cast off party in the rain.
We cast off from Santos (near Sao Paulo). I think it is perpetually rainy/misty here. But the rest of the cruise, there wasn't a cloud in the sky!

Checking out the boat--let's get this party started!

First stop--Buzios. Absolutely gorgeous!!

We took a tour boat out to 3 different beaches of Buzios for some snorkeling.

"Snorkeling" a.k.a. "swimming with gear"
(There was nothing to see--but it was still fun!)

The big kids got to go to the late shows every night, where Jaden perfected his ability to order drinks.
One night, Tessa decided that she wanted to stay up for the show, just like the big kids. Tom went back to the room with Keira. She had a hard time keeping her eyes open. But, she was NOT tired! This was the night that they had a stand-up comedian. I don't know what he was saying, but the drinks were sure good!

Santa came!
Hand sewn stockings.
Note to self: Next time you move to a foreign country for a year, don't forget to pack the stockings!

 Christmas Day on Ilha Bella.
We took a bus to a beautiful waterfall, and after slathering up with greasy mosquito repellent, we got to get in the waterfall and...

slide down the natural waterslide that the waterfall created! So fun!
We met some Mormons there. They spotted us right off--maybe it was the one piece swim suits. haha. They wanted to take pictures with us. I guess because we are from Utah. I don't know. Now, I wish we would have taken pictures with our camera. They were nice.

 Swimming at Ilha Bella

Angra dos Reis--our 3rd stop.
We took a boat out to see South America's largest population of Bottle-nosed dolphins.
It was really impressive. We were surrounded by them. (The pictures aren't that great in thumbnail form) Then we went swimming in the deep ocean again. This time, there was a jelly fish in the water with Keira and I. As I was trying to swim back to the boat, everyone was yelling, "Aqua Vida" and telling us to hurry. Tom didn't know what "aqua vida" meant, but the people sounded anxious, so he kept yelling for me to hurry. I thought they were going to leave me. I am not a strong swimmer and I was trying to hurry as fast as I could, but the waves were pushing me away from the boat, and I was dragging Keira. Everyone yelling at me did not help. It was not until I got back in the boat and the captain pointed out the jelly fish that I understood what all the commotion was about. It freaked Tessa out for some reason, and she wouldn't get back in the water after that. Later, at the beach, I kept assuring her that the jelly fish didn't come close to the shore, trying to entice her into the water. She pointed to the water, and said, "what is that?" It was a jelly fish. Doh! 

Zip line into the ocean at Angra dos Reis.
(Thankfully, Tessa temporarily forgot about the jelly fish)
When you hit the water (hard), you go skipping along the surface for a while like a jet ski. I had on a 2-piece bathing suit. I was skimming along backwards. My bottoms came off. Woo!

Our ship in the background. Notice Tessa is NOT in the water!
Tired, but fun, we returned home (to Sao Carlos) full of memories (and sand)...


  1. Sounds like fun! I am sure the people of Brazil enjoyed the "free show" you provided them. What a great memory for the kids and you guys.

  2. It sounds like a wonderful Christmas and a great way to adjust to being away from home. Keep writing - it is just like being there. We miss you.