What’s that Crunchy Stuff Under My Feet

We traded in a blizzard for white sands and turquoise waters as far as we could see. I saw coconuts in the wild for the first time, ate conch straight out of the water, and saw some of the most beautiful fish without glass between us.

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On a whim, I bought tickets to Providenciales for my week off with Richie who was on winter break. We left the day after I returned from my turn around flight, which was a hell of a three-day trip.

First, we flew to Dublin in about five hours, no issue. Then, we taxied to Cork, which took about two and a half hours. A long taxi like this usually means I end up sleeping later and have less time to walk around and explore for the day. Trips with taxis involved usually mean I am just going out to get dinner. However, the next day, our flight back home from Cork got cancelled due to the blizzard closing down basically all airports in the northeast. Luckily for us, our other base, Stewart in Newburgh, stayed open, so we got a roster change email stating we would be deadheading (flying as passengers but still on duty, also known as flying passive) from Shannon and then taxiing home from New York. So another two hour drive to get to Ireland’s west coast (if you’re keeping track, I’ve now hit three destinations in two days). We barely made it to the airport, but because we had the first officer for the flight in the car with us, they had to wait.

Upon landing in Stewart (a very tiny airport, about six gates in total, but with an extremely long runway due to its status as a military airport) we were met with a madhouse of diverted airlines. We were definitely happy that Shannon Airport allows preclearance, where we go through customs there instead of once we land, essentially making the flight domestic, where we can just jump off the plane, grab our bags, and go…to our three-hour taxi ride home.

It was a long night that I wasn’t expecting, but I finally made it home to some mashed potato pizza and a day of unpacking just to pack again.

Trekking through over a foot of snow in the middle of the night to the airport with nothing but shorts, bathing suits, and laptops in our bags was a little strange but the upside was that they were pretty light and easy to get through the unplowed snow.

We landed on a rainy Saturday afternoon, putting on our jackets out of habit before the humidity hit us at the door, telling us we definitely weren’t in Connecticut anymore.

Our first day was met with heavy rain until well into the night, making us nervous for the rest of the week. But if living in New England has taught us anything it is to never trust a weather forecast; we were told clouds and rain all week and were met with sun every day after the initial rain storm.

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It was a week in paradise, riding bikes to the nearby beaches with pure white sand and turquoise water, taking a boat ride to snorkel at the barrier reef with unlimited rum punch, and eating outside on the deck (with more rum punch of course). We not only realized how polluted the water at home was (come on, Lighthouse is brown) but now we got spoiled and never want to swim in any other water again. It was a big difference from the freezing water in Maine. We forgot for a while that it was January.

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The highlight was definitely our boat tour on our last full day, snorkeling and exploring Iguana Island, where we not only saw tons of animals like iguanas and blue crabs, but also got to walk from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean in about ten minutes. We then enjoyed a lunch of fresh conch salad and sandwiches before coming back to the beach.

This was one of my more relaxing vacations and I loved every second of it. I can’t wait to go back to more islands in the Caribbean. I know Richie is even wondering when we can move down there. Maybe someday.

Oh the crunchy stuff? It was coral. I am a terrible person who destroyed an ecosystem because I lost my shoe and tripped. I have scars on my foot now if that helps anyone be a little less mad at me.

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