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Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

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Denver, Colorado
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Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

First off, I want to apologize as I am about to share an actual novel with you all so I'll be splitting the report into multiple posts. Second, I need to say that we had an absolutely amazing time, and we will definitely be going back! Third and finally, I want to address the safety thing that has come up. We drove everywhere ourselves, left things on our beach chairs to go for swims, and even walked on the beach after dark a few times. We may have just been lucky, but I felt totally safe the entire time I was there. We did exercise caution, but on the whole, Provo was so clean and nice compared to several other islands I've been to, and overall I was pleasantly surprised! So here we go...

Day 1 (Sunday):

Arrived in Provo around 2:30 after a (thankfully) fairly uneventful morning of travelling. It took a little while to get our bags, but for the most part going through the airport on arrival was pretty smooth. We were immediately taken by shuttle to the Avis office to pick up our teeny little car. We literally got the cheapest possible car, basically a two-seater, manual, no radio (or clock?! Really???), but the AC kicked butt, and it got us where we needed to go!

We went straight to the Beach House but had some issues on the way there, as we weren’t exactly sure where we were going. In retrospect, I think we should have taken a cab to the hotel and had the car dropped off for us. My husband is a great driver, and he got used to driving on the island quickly, but we had one near-death incident on our first driving attempt which was definitely due to a combination of driving on the other side of the road and being a little lost…

But we made it unscathed! We were presented water and cold towels upon our arrival and taken to our rooms where I wasted no time in getting ready to go down to the beach. Sadly it was overcast that afternoon, but the beach was still gorgeous, and the drinks were still delicious so I was in no mood to complain.

We spent the rest of the evening in lounge chairs until we got hungry, at which point we threw on cover-ups and made the two-minute walk to Somewhere. We enjoyed the live music and rum punch specials, and we absolutely adored the conch ceviche and fish tacos. The ceviche was the best we had all week, and I’m literally salivating thinking about it. We sat up on the upper patio, which was pretty packed by the time we left (which was fairly early considering our 3:30AM wake up time earlier that day). We spent the rest of the night on our balcony listening to little storm that rolled in and the band in the distance.

Halifax, Canada
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1. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

Sounds wonderful...can't wait for the rest of your report!

Denver, Colorado
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2. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

Day 2 (Monday):

This was our day to relax and recover so we took the opportunity to sleep in and have a late breakfast. We had breakfast at the Beach House restaurant every morning, which was delicious all week, although I could have used a little more variety by the end. This morning we both had the classic eggs benedict, and I had what would be become my daily glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.

We had beautiful weather this day and seeing the beach and water all lit up in the sunshine was completely breathtaking. The shades of blue in the ocean were beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I wish I could have captured it better in pictures!

We again ate at the Beach House restaurant for lunch. I had the tuna entrée, and my husband had the burger. The burger was delicious, but my tuna was literally out of this world. I have eaten tuna in hundreds of restaurants, and that was the best tuna I’ve ever had. I seriously regret not ordering it again during the week.

We went back to the beach afterward and walked over to Bight Reef to do some snorkeling. The reef itself was pretty if a wee bit sad-looking, but we saw a lot of pretty fish and a sea turtle, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever. The fish here were pretty aggressive (in a fish kind of way) which I’m assuming is from all the people who feed them. It was pretty funny to be followed around by them.

This was the only night we didn’t have specific dinner plans, and we ended up deciding to go to Sailing Paradise. We drove there ourselves, and upon our arrival we discovered some sort of team or group having a motivational meeting? We honestly couldn’t figure out who they were or what they did, but the leaders of the group spent about an hour telling the others that they needed to be more devoted to showing up to practice. No idea what kind of practice. Anyway, we had the seafood platter while enjoying the “show”, and it was very good. We’re not huge fans of fried food, but it was very well done and not overly greasy or heavy at all.

Newport Beach...
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3. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

I can't think of a better more romantic place to honeymoon! So glad you got off to a great start (not including you're near death experience!) Whew!

Can't wait to hear more!

Hahaha! I love to eves drop on meetings like that! So funny!!

Grace Bay in it's glory is really something, isn't it? Beyond words.....

Edited: 21 June 2013, 02:23
Denver, Colorado
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4. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

Day 3 (Tuesday):

First diving day! We had breakfast bright and early and were picked up by Chubby’s Taxi at 8:15AM where we met a few of the others in our group. We dove with Ocean Vibes, and they were fantastic. All our gear was set up and ready for us, and there were only about 12 divers on the boat. We were all given dive computers, and all of their equipment seemed to be in really great shape. We set sail for West Caicos and after about an hour, we were ready to get in the water. Naturally, immediately after I jump in, I see a shark swimming right below me. I was totally cool about it, of course, to.tal.ly cool.

During our two dives, we saw many more sharks, barracudas, rays, lobsters, starfish, a nearly invisible peacock flounder, and a ton of different fish including puffer fish, parrotfish, and lion fish (boo). We were given full lunches between dives which was really awesome. Our max depth was about 95ft on the first dive and 80ft on the second dive.

The dives were both amazing, but sadly I had a lot of trouble equalizing during the second dive and bam… ear barotrauma. I basically thought I was going to die. I thought our vacation was over at that point. I was probably also overreacting a little bit, but man, I was hurting like heck. Thankfully the pain went down after relaxing on the beach for a few hours when we got back, and my hearing is basically back to normal now.

That night we went to Mango Reef for dinner. Daniel (I believe his name is..) was a huge joy to hear perform. We sat there for hours listening to him and left just as he was finishing up his last song. We had the conch fritters for an appetizer, I had the curried grouper, and my husband had the tuna steak. We had what was described as chocolate ganache for dessert, but it was really more of a mousse. Still good, but not what I was expecting. Everything was very tasty though, and the music and beautiful sunset just made everything even better. We also had the company of a lovely kitty, which greatly pleased my inner-crazy cat lady. I genuinely loved how each restaurant we went to had its own resident cat(s).

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

Day 4 (Wednesday):

Breakfast and orange juice at Beach House and then we set out to do some ‘splorin’. Our first destination was Taylor Bay, and I was SO confident I was going to be able to find it. Y’all. I could not find it. I mean I knew where it was, but I couldn’t figure out which road to take to get there because they all said they were private! If I would have saved the directions before we left, we probably would have made it, but alas, it will have to be saved for our next trip. The funniest thing about it was that there were two other cars of tourists who also clearly did not know where they were going because we kept passing each other on various back roads.

So instead we found a good stopping point on Chalk Sound to take a bunch of pictures of the amazing water and peek at some of the houses in the area. We then made our way to Sapodilla Bay (or Sopaipilla Bay, in my husband’s words) where I waded through the shallow water for a couple of hours while my ginger husband sat under a palm tree and watched thanks to his already sunburned back.

We had reservations in the gazebo at Las Brisas that were clearly not necessary as the place was empty, but you never know, and shared a surprisingly tasty conch pizza, which was even too large for us to finish. We contemplated renting a kayak, but it was pretty windy that day, and we would have had to start with the wind and paddle back against the wind. After a few rum punches at Las Brisas, I was not confident in our ability to do that, and I didn’t want to be the two tourists who got stranded in the middle of Chalk Sound because they were too drunk, tired, and sunburnt to make it back.

We headed back to the hotel and chilled for a little while before deciding to go on a walk down the beach. I really liked the Beach House a lot (review is coming, by the way), and the one thing it really has going for it is how amazing that part of the beach is. It’s so big and quiet compared to other parts of the bay, and I think that completely makes up for the fact that it’s a little further from stores and restaurants especially if you have a rental car. Hardly any of our car rides were longer than five minutes anyway. Back to the report, we walked quite a ways down the beach (past the horror that is Beaches.. so.. many.. children..) before heading back and getting ready for dinner.

This evening’s dinner was at Bay Bistro where I had the herb-crusted mahi mahi in jalapeno cream sauce and husband had the ribeye. Even though my mahi mahi was just the tiniest bit overcooked, the delicious jalapeno cream sauce more than made up for it. I even asked for more after I mopped most of it off my plate. And again, I made friends with the restaurant cat. I think they were making me miss my own kitty at home. We had some sort of flourless chocolate cake for dinner that was superb. It is not hard to please me with hot gooey flourless chocolate anything.

Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

Man, you guys, I really need to apologize again about my word vomit. I just really wanted to recap everything so I could remember for myself in the future.

Day 5 (Thursday):

Second diving day! Also off West Caicos. Pretty similar to the first, but we also saw the most gigantic crab I’ve ever seen. That thing looked huge.. and delicious. I was really unsure I was going to be able to dive thanks to my prior ear explosion, but thankfully I was all right. First dive max depth was 100ft, and second dive went to 85ft.

All the divers we went with that day knew each other and had dived (ugh just spent the last five minutes googling the correct past tense of dive) with Ocean Vibes previously, so we were just chatting and sharing stories which prompted Andre the divemaster to discuss his encounters with sharks and the time he had to “punch” one and fend a group of five off with his spear gun.. I was slightly skeptical, but I was still a little weary on our next dive.

We were so close to making it back to the hotel without incident when I realized I left my sacred beach hat in the cab. It is extremely hard to find a hat to find my dang huge head so I was not happy about this. Luckily the hotel was able to find Chubby’s number and save my beloved hat. Tragedy averted. We then walked down to Somewhere to have a mid-afternoon snack of ceviche and piña coladas. Man, I miss that ceviche. We were pretty tired at this point so we just went back up to our room to cool down and get ready for our private beachfront dinner.

We had scheduled the tasting menu and wine pairing for our private dinner through the Beach House, and I’m so glad we did. Our courses consisted of a caprese salad amuse bouche, tuna tataki/tartar, scallops, grouper (I think??), beef tenderloin, and fruit shortcake-type dessert. We started off with rum punches and had wine expertly paired with each course. They also graciously accommodated my inability to drink red wine due to migraine issues. I have to give a shoutout to Frantz, our server, who was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about our meal. He was running back and forth all night and still provided great service. Also to the famous (infamous?) Magic Mike, who made appearances at all of our meals, and this one was no exception. This was our best meal of the week and also definitely the most expensive x 1093756854. It was probably the priciest meal of our lives ever, but it was so worth it. When else can you do things like that but on your honeymoon?

Detroit, Michigan
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7. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

AH, a sea turtle lover. Thought I was the only one here who has this passion of my sea turtle friends. DR. JIM

Newport Beach...
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8. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

Wow! Sounds great! Love your writing style! Hope you have pictures to share......

Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

agent6256: I LOVE sea turtles! I forgot to mention the one I saw on our second dive day. I was the first of the group to see it in the distance so I took off to get a good look before it swam away! They're so graceful and wise-looking.

Day 6 (Friday):

Full day tour with Island Vibes! We were picked up at our hotel in the morning, and there were only 6 other people on the boat with us for the day. They had a ton of beverages waiting for us including “attitude adjustment” a.k.a. rum punch of which we consumed many. We started with a snorkel right off the bat, and my husband and I were the first ones in the water. Being divers, snorkeling is not our favorite thing ever, but there are a lot of things you see in shallow water that you don’t see deeper. The colors of the reef here were so bright, and we saw all kinds of fish. We also saw a ton of ridiculously huge lobsters, which was kind of a tease since we couldn’t eat them.

I free dived (dove????) to about 30ft to nab my ideal conch. It was tasty and beautiful and is looking great perched currently upon my entertainment center. They also speared some grouper for us to grill as part of our BBQ lunch. At this point we did some island hopping, starting at Little Water Cay to see the iguanas and cleverly pose with them for pictures. I’m pretty sure we went to Half Moon Bay next where I sat my butt down in the turquoise water for the next hour and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of absolutely nobody being around. Fortunately, the Beaches catamaran piled high with bodies left right when we got there.

While we hung out on the white sands, our lunches were being prepared for us, so I decided to do some more ‘splorin’ on the windward side of the island. I hadn’t seen a single wave crash upon the shoreline during our trip, so I was pretty sure the waves were just too afraid to mar the beautiful Turks & Caicos shoreline, but apparently it does happen in some places. Our lunch of rolls, conch ceviche, corn, potatoes, chicken, ribs, and grouper was then ready and, man, was it good. We chowed down and then were presented with what can only be described as “s’more bananas,” bananas stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows, wrapped in foil, and cooked on the grill until everything melted down to gooey goodness. We have recreated this simple but delicious dessert since we’ve been home.

Our next stop was to go beach combing, and it began to sprinkle a little bit during our time there, but that did not stop my determination to find a sand dollar. There was a mom with us on the trip who was equally set on finding one so we both had our masks and snorkels on as soon as we got there to search the water. Sadly, there were none to be found, but we saw a couple of huge red starfish so it was still a neat place to look around.

The rain cleared as quickly as it came so we did one more snorkel. The water was a little rough, but the reef we were at was absolutely gorgeous and full of life, and I definitely needed a workout after that meal. Our last stop was to park off the bay and jump off the boat to our heart’s content. I jumped once and managed to smash my leg against the water so I resigned myself to taking pictures of the jumpers before we headed back home and were dropped off right in front of the hotel.

It was a BBQ kind of day as we planned to go to Chinson’s (which, if you were wondering, we found out is short for Hutchinson’s) for jerk night. I started off with my usual rum punch, and we ordered the platter that came with jerk chicken, jerk pork, and grilled shrimp. I was literally in food heaven, and angels probably made the spicy jerk sauce that came with the meat. We went back to the hotel after that and decided to have a dessert at the bar, and it will probably not shock you that I ordered the molten chocolate cake, however, it may surprise you that I somehow managed to not gain any weight on the trip. The conclusion of this day can only be described as food coma+sunburnt+exhausted=in bed at 9:30.

Denver, Colorado
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10. Re: Honeymoon Report: June 2-9, 2013

PattyNewportBeach: Thank you so much! We do have a ton of pictures, and I'd like to share some, but I'm not sure how I want to go about doing that so I need to figure that out first!

Day 7 (Saturday.. last full day.. womp womp):

Breakfast at the Beach House like usual and off we went to the Regent Palms spa for our morning of pampering. My husband isn’t eager to admit it, but we’re both huge spa fanatics. We were led into the locker rooms and then into the treatment area, which had a gorgeous reflecting pool that we lounged by while waiting briefly. Soon two lovely women took us into the cute little hut to start our treatments. I’ve read some commentary of this spa questioning why they don’t have any services with a beach view, but honestly I enjoyed the quiet (and air conditioning because man was it hot that day) of being inside. Plus, you can’t even see anything when your face is stuck in that little hole.

We started with a ginger-infused salt scrub, which was extremely invigorating and made my skin feel like butter. Fortunately, the only parts of me that got seriously sunburnt were my forearms and cheeks/nose so there wasn’t much they had to avoid scrubbing. That was followed with a rub down with warm sachets filled with oils, spices, and pebbles and felt amazing. The last part was a traditional massage that started a little too light at first until I asked her to massage a little deeper, and she definitely took my request seriously. Things were hurting afterward, but in a good way.

We hung out for a little while longer and then went to Hemmingway’s for lunch. I had the jerked chicken sandwich, and husband had the fish and chips. It was not the best meal we had while we were there, but it was perfectly fine, especially with the addition of a piña colada. We wanted to do some shopping while we were in the area so we drove to where the map told us the stores were on a mission to find some T&C diving shirt souvenirs. I specifically wanted a tank top, and that was surprisingly hard to find. If any of you have a store in the area, I would totally recommend stocking tank tops because it took us 10 stops to find one. Thankfully, it was an awesome tank top.

We spent the afternoon hanging on the beach and doing some more snorkeling while trying not to think about the fact that it was almost time to go. We saved Coco Bistro for our last evening due to all its rave reviews. We started with the shrimp satay, and I ordered the tuna, and husband had the wahoo. So our food was definitely good, and please don’t flame me, but I was just a little bit underwhelmed. Maybe my hopes were too high because I had heard such good things about the restaurant, or maybe we were just generally pessimistic since we were leaving so soon, but our dinners throughout the week were just so fabulous, and I didn’t really feel like it stood out in any way. I do have to say that the chocolate banana bread pudding was outstanding. We did enjoy the evening, but I don’t know if I would save it for the “last night special dinner” next time.