Our twentieth anniversary was fast approaching and on advice from the kids, I wanted to do something that said we were still youthful.
So for months I gleaned off the grocery budget, thanks to Newel's travel schedule and kids willing to eat pancakes once in awhile ;)
It took some doing to hide all the prep from him .. and I was dying to tell ... but the surprise was so worth it.
The kids were great at keeping a secret and I couldn't have been more grateful for an oldest eighteen-year-old daughter willing and able to hold down the fort to make it all happen (along with some great friends to fill in the gaps).
That girl is amazing.
So tickets and passport in hand, I told him the night before to pack a swim suit, sunglasses, an adventure novel about pirates, and leave those electronics behind because we were headed just a little bit off the grid.
He didn't know just how far off the grid we were going.
Denver to Houston, Houston to Belize City, and when we landed in this little airport with tiny aircraft of uncertain flying ability, I think his joy in the journey kicked in.
From Belize City, we took a fifteen minute flight that landed us up the coast on a dirt airstrip where we were met by a local fishing boat captain.
These local guys loaded us up on their fishing boat and tore off at high speed toward the middle of the ocean.
To a nine acre island about twenty miles off the coast.
And there, I had him all to myself.
This was our house for duration.
We were in love with the simplicity. There was a tiny bathroom as well and meals were served in a main hall on the center of the island.
See? A pirate novel is a must. With no television, it was great aloud reading at night ... especially if you give the pirates crazy voices ;)
I was dying to swim with a whale shark.
Had to make do with a barracuda.
We tried our hand at fishing.
And now, Newel can cross catching a barracuda off his bucket list.
It may have been one of the highlights of his life.
Our local friends taught us their drop line technique and we hauled in one after the other.
Just look at those! Each was so very different and beautiful.
We threw the little ones to the circling birds.
That water coloring is straight out of my camera. I cannot believe how stunning this earth is.
Our entire catch. Way more than we could eat so our friends took it into the mainland market.
Newel and I learned to sail. We continually laughed over the lack of safety and rules.
"Just tell us which direction you are headed so we know where to send our family and friends with their boats to look for you if you don't return before dark." was the general rule.
I wondered if anyone would really come look for us.
We paid a visit to this little sandbar of an island out there somewhere. It is owned by the Smithsonian and serves as a marine biology outpost for continual study. It was so colonial and simple and the older couple who were tending it as volunteers had no experience in the field of science. They simply applied for the position and were given the opportunity.
Now, that's a job I want. What's not to love ... except maybe hurricane season ;)
These guys were everywhere and when one has been media free for awhile, one must capture and force them to play photo shoot until they desperately kamikaze off a beach chair.
Happy anniversary, babe! It's been an adventurous twenty years and I've loved sharing every bit of it with you.