If you were to imagine a tropical island to retire to, our next stop would be what you'd see. Cayo Levantado, in the Dominican Republic has the white sandy beaches with palm trees and light blue waters. You can see our ship in the distance, moored off shore. A catamaran dropped us off at the dock and we walked to the sea lion encounter.

manta ray

Manta Ray

We were greeted by a small female sea lion who would perform the land demonstration. Her handler told us the differences between them and seals, and we learned that she was one of a few females. Because of their territorial claims only one male stayed with his harem. A photographer with the encounter group shot all the sea lion photos.

After a fishy smooch we walked into the surf until the warm water was up to our waists. Down from the beach trundled the male. He was not fully mature yet, but weighted in at 450 pounds! They can get between 700 and 1,000 pounds.

He swan in front of us as introductions were made, then another fishy smooch for all. Next he went to each group and stood between us for a group photo. It seemed as though he was as tall as me but was more solid, like a line backer.

breadfruit

Of course once we were comfortable around him he came back and using his huge front flippers gave us a thorough splashing.

Everyone was relaxed around them, and they gave a great performance. We were able to purchase a CD with all the images they shot of us plus a few island images.

There was plenty of time afterwards to play in the water and lounge on the beach. Along the road to the dock local merchants were selling their wares, and we picked up a couple of T-shirts.

Our ship sailed that night and arrived at Labadee, Haiti in the early morning hours. The island is leased to Royal Caribbean for a port of call. The adventure of the day was snorkeling! We were picked up at the dock by a catamaran and when we reached 2-3 miles from the ship they stopped and said we had arrived. I looked around and couldn't find a dock, or beach. Where do we get out? Well, we were over a coral reef only about five feet deep. Our captain was also our tour guide and lead the group across the reef. The edges sloped down to a dark forty or fifty feet, but we stayed in the shallows. I started taking photos with an underwater camera I had bought for the occasion, but it stopped shooting after a few frames, I tucked it into my pocket and swan around, enjoying the sea life below me. This was also Maggie's first time, and we're planning another excursion.

One afternoon in the Centrum they held a demonstration on how to fold the towels into different animal shapes. Maggie was "volunteered" to take part, and made a sea turtle. She also received a brochure on most of the animal creations.

There were celebrations and theme parties throughout the cruise, and this is the snack table for the 70's party. We stayed for a while then slipped off to our cabin to get some shut eye.

All in all we had a marvelous time, and these photos only show a small portion of the entertainment that was available. We hope to book another voyage within the next year, maybe to the Bahamas or Bermuda. And then there's that Alaskan cruise some time between now and our 40th anniversary...

Caribbean Cruise 2011

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beach

sea lion

female kiss

male kiss

group

splash

me

underwater

underwater2

maggie towel animals

snacks

my fair lady