i couldn't have asked for a better one.
it was a saturday and the sun was shining. i dispatched to pick up 37 of the greatest people we might have ever had on our boat. we could tell they'd be awesome right off the dock, judging by their response to our captain's intro speech. his speech is always the same--jokes always in the same places with the same inflections--but every crowd reacts differently. sometimes they stare or chuckle. this crowd was roaring with laughter at 8:30am. YES.
they had way more energy than i did. i was still exhausted from all the scuba diving i did the day before, followed by the dinner trip i did that night. so i chugged a couple of ice coffees and tried to power through one last time.
when we got to the cove, i offered to lead one big snorkel tour because i knew it'd be my last. we had the cove almost completely to ourselves, since there was only one cruise ship in that day. i took my group straight to the turtles. right away, i found five all in a perfect row in front of us. i told my guests about them, and smiled at the joy on everyone's faces as a few turtles surfaced for air right next to us. we found about 12 turtles that day, which is probably the most i've ever seen all at once. thanks turtles, for coming out to say goodbye.
then, i led my group over to the reef. it was more alive than ever. there were huge schools of blue tangs and sargent majors. i showed my snorkelers a live queen conch and a brittle sea star and a collectors urchin. on the way back to the boat, we saw a sting ray and a barracuda. it was probably the longest snorkel tour i've ever done, because i didn't want it to end.
we full sailed to an empty honeymoon beach on water island. we anchored in perfectly. i served water to everyone as they sat down for lunch and they were all so grateful. i sat with my friend jenah, who was riding along because it was her last day in st thomas.
back on the boat, i had the wildest, most hilarious group of eleven from maine. they were all bellied up to the bar, sucking down rum punch after rum punch, asking me about my life, and complimenting me until i was beat red with embarrassment. one of the women from maine was convinced i would be perfect for her son back home, just as another woman from texas had the same idea for her son. que two hilarious drunk women competing for my affection so that i'd become their daughter-in-law.
the folks from maine took about a million pictures of me to send back to the poor guy that they'll surely harass when they get home from vacation. i gave a young couple in that group my contact information because jordan and i pretty much sold them on taking the plunge down to the caribbean. i try to endorse it as much as possible ;)
when it was time to go, jordan walked the bow anchor into the water from the beach while i pulled it up with all my strength. normally i need help getting the anchor back on its track once i've pulled it up to the boat, but jordan had to run to get the stern anchor, so i managed to get that bad boy up all by myself! i didn't even realize anyone was watching this process until the whole boat exploded with applause when i finished getting the anchor up. they kept cheering my name as i pulled up the staircase. i was pretty taken aback by all of this, so i just laughed. and laughing makes me lose all my strength, so that staircase didn't come up too fast. really, guys? way to make a girl feel special.
on my closing speech, i thanked them all so much for coming, and for making my last trip a memorable one. they cheered so loudly that i'm sure everyone on their cruise ship heard them. i hugged half of the guests as they got off the boat, including my two new mother-in-laws. :)
what a way to end my job as a girl sailor/snorkel instructor/bartender. i seriously couldn't have asked for a better experience overall. i am so grateful.