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Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial


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I have a couple of questions for you, but I can't see anywhere on this site that I can send you a personal message. So I guess I'll post here!

 

What brand of snorkel gear do you prefer? And is it the same brand that you buy for Sakari? Or do you use something else for her?

 

If we only snorkel in one of these ports (Belize, Hondoras) which would you recommend? I've read that Belize has the second largest reef to the Great Barrier Reef, but also have read some reviews that aren't as favorable about it.

 

Any help/advice you can give would be appreciated. Have a great day!!! :D

 

This site does not allow you to do private messaging. :rolleyes:

 

I have only used one type of snorkeling gear and that's US Divers and I have been really happy with my purchase. Sakari has not learn to use a snorkel (she claims if she can't "dive" down with it and still breathe, then what good is it). She uses just goggles (and not the face mask with the nose covered) and will only use Speedo goggles.

 

I don't think I can honestly answer you Belize vs Roatan question. Many on here believe that Belize is THE place to go...based on being the second largest barrier reef. BUT, I swear when I read on places to go, I hear this comment no matter what port I'm in. So...I honestly have no idea.

 

The thing with Belize, you would have to take a tour over to Ambergris Caye by either boat or plane. For Roatan, everyone seems to like West Bay and snorkeling right off the beach. I did it once, and it was nice, but at that time Sakari was only 3 years old and we were struggling with her swimming abilities at the time, the water was churned up, and I didn't make it to the place everyone goes (the path that leads off to the drop off). I might try it again some day to get the real experience. What I suggest on this is to go to THIS THREAD and read up on it. We have pictures, maps and everything else posted in that thread that will give you an awesome idea about the place and could probably make up your mind. Just know this thread was started back in 2011 (when we went) and it 17 pages long of information and questions!!! :eek:

 

I hope that helps. :)

 

I'm not sure what she was referring to , but if you're on Verizon, you can use your reward points to buy Carnival giftcards worth $100 for only $90. So you do save a little. Then just have them put onyour account when you check in.

 

 

I answered what I was talking about HERE

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We are cruising around the same time again!:) Perhaps I will see you in a port of call! Where is your next cruise? Ours is on the NCL Dawn Repositioning, from Boston to NOLA by way of San Juan, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grand Caymen, Jamaica and Cozumel. I love the itinerary and did this last year as well.

 

 

:D I could only WISH mine was OUT of NOLA this time. We will be out of Port Canaveral and hitting up the Eastern Caribbean once again. We will only being going to St Thomas, Tortola (new port for us), and hopefully make it to the private island this time (last time with the family we had to miss it due to the weather). You cruise sounds much better to me!!!:)

 

If you and your party are half and half on this "visitng the ruins issue" and ever do decide to do the Mayan ruins in Tulum (from Cozumel), there is an absolutely fantastic, gorgeous beach at the ruins( google it:D) They usually give you ample time to soak there after the tour. There is no snorkeling but the beach is like paradise. And I am sure the tour guide will not stop a mermaid and her mom if they just ask to spend the entire time they are there on the beach while the other people go for the tour ;)

 

We are absolutely no half and half nor either 1/4 and 3/4. No one is interested in doing the ruins. I'm sure maybe some day we will. But Sakari is going to have to grow out of the "I only want the beach" attitude. Who knows if that will happen. However, that beach sounds like heaven. I will definitely look it up. Is it doable just to go to the beach or is it just too far away to travel there just for the beach only?

 

btw: just looked it up. That beach does look amazing!

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Did you like the Escape? I have it booked for next year (it was a random booking done on the ship) and I'm not convinced if I'll be keeping that date they used or not yet.

 

Ahhh, no need to go away after a cruise. Just start reading up on everything, including reviews and reports, and that way when you decide to book again, you'll have an idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. I get ideas all the time by just coming on here and reading. It helps me pick places I want to go in the future.

 

After my next cruise in ....1 month, 29 days, 20 hours, 33 minutes, and 9 seconds from now, we will probably not be cruising again until Spring Break next year (April). We did a birthday cruise for me in Feb this year and then already had a March spring break cruised booked and it was rough that close together. Plus, I don't think they enjoy when I take Sakari out of school for a week at a time. Oops.

 

Sorry, I don't have any advice on what you listed. I'm just not a "mayan ruins" type of girl and if it doesn't involve the beach, I usually don't pay attention. LOL

 

However, in Cozumel, I think you should check out Dolphin Discovery at Chankanaab (over doing it in Roatan). It's an amazing place, located at a National Park, and there's awesome snorkeling there and plenty of other things to see and do there as well (they even have a zip line and some type of alligator thingy there too) since I was there last. There's iguanas walking around everywhere too. Plus, from most reports (and even when I did my swim with the dolphins) they usually throw in a swim with the manatees there too. PLUS, if you really watch their site, they usually have discounts for booking early OR you can sometimes find a Buy one, get one for $1 pricing too. I don't know what you are paying for it at AK, but thought I would just mention it.

 

I have 2 reviews in my signature from Chankanaab if you are interested in seeing what it's like there.

 

Then if you needed something to fill in for Roatan, I highly recommend Little French Key. I don't think I have found a nicer private island to date. We discovered it and go back every time we are in Roatan now. It's pure heaven on earth there! (Several reviews in my siggie for that too).

 

Yep, cruised out of Nola a few times before and LOVE NOLA. Depending on where you stay there, most everything is within walking distance.

 

My Spirit cruise was out of NOLA in 2011. My Star cruise was out of NOLA in 2012. My Jewel cruise was out of NOLA in 2013. So you could say I like it. Honestly, I would probably prefer cruising out of there than any other place.

 

I really wanted to thank you for everything you said. That's the reason I do these reviews, to help people out, get ideas, maybe bring some laughter to those who read it, and most of all to have fun with it. :D

 

Hey Kim,

Thank you so much for your response! We LOVED the Escape. Mind you we didn't have a lot to base it on. We were a party of 4 (32,33, 33, 35 years old, 3 females, one male-he's a trooper) all very laid back and easy going and just need a comfy spot, a cold drink and we can laugh and entertain ourselves :)

The food was amazing!! My wife and I are both vegetarian and I was concerned about what the veggie options would be. HA! I'm sure I gained at least a pound a day lol The only specialty restaurant wife and I did was food republic, while our friends went to Cagneys (we didn't see any point in us going lol). It was SOOO good. Worth the upcharge but we LOVE asian food! The service was awesome everywhere we went. The staff were ALL so friendly, I don't remember one rude/unhelpful encounter the entire week. I would absolutely recommend it! Especially if you are aiming to sail the fleet, just keep that booking and go for it! I have looked at a lot of pictures of the other ships and it seems like the Escape got the bathroom storage/counter space thing figured out too!

The shows (for the most part) were incredible! Million Dollar Quartet -wish we had booked in to see it more than once!! I LOVED that show. After Midnight-did not love it and started falling asleep. I felt bad :/ But we saw a lot of people just leaving the theatre (and had read about that happening previous to departure)

Howl at the Moon- you seem to love comedy and music. So this show you will go more than once, it's never the same and they are incredible!

Absolutely GO!!!

 

I'm not a mayan ruins kind of girl either...it's my other half thats the history buff...the things we do for love LOL

I'm a swim with the dolphins kind of girl! :D

 

Thank you for your suggestions, i will look them up. I did just read about LFK in your review and it looks INCREDIBLE!!

 

Thank you again!

Heather

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DAY 6: ST KITTS

 

We were just in St Kitts a few months ago and honestly, it didn't really impress me too much. It was probably just the experience we had, although not bad it was not really great either. I will admit that those mountains and our driver just made me a nervous wreck. I had picked out two different places to go to that time: Reggae Beach, located all the way at the end at Cockleshell Bay or go to either Ship Wreck or Carambola, located at Frigate Bay. Since we had a rather LARGE (over 100) group from our roll call going, we picked Carambola.

 

So...this time I decided to head to Frigate Bay. I also knew that by going here it wouldn't be as long of a drive AND we would not have all those mountains to go up and down as well. (Although pretty, I was still a bit of a wreck by the time we arrived).

 

I debated on going to Carambola or Ship Wreck and decided for the sake of the family, who enjoys the luxury look of the beach over simple and practical, I would go to Carambola. So that will be what we did this day.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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Alarm set for 6:45am and I jumped up and got the family moving. We headed to the buffet for breakfast and I got my usual...but discovered the pastries today as well.

 

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The sun was coming up and it appeared that it was going to be a beautiful and sunny day.

 

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There was a few clouds hanging over the mountains, but they would quickly pass.

 

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Hercules was there to help us out

 

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We rushed Kendra and B, who never show up until about 7:45am to eat, and heard the psshhhrrrrp of the loud speaker and everyone jumped and we headed for our room to grab our beach bags and some ice in our bags for our pop and we were off the ship at 8:15am just in time for the paparazzi to catch us.

 

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Man, cruises are supposed to be relaxing...I look like I haven't slept in days!

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We walked outside the port gate, told the taxi driver where we wanted to go, and off we went. It cost us $4 for each adult and they said the kids were going to be free. Awesome!

 

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Oh crap, it looks like we were going to have to endure a mountain after all. Hold on....

 

 

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But the views are so beautiful up here. I have to say it was definitely a different experience being in an enclosed vehicle instead of an open air taxi. I felt safer, but yet you couldn't get good pictures. I guess that's the trade off you get.

 

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Last time we were here, they were working on the roads and tunnels and they had all the detours. What a difference a few months make...they now have the tunnel completed! Gosh I remember the sharp turn we had to make last time and that is now gone. You don't have to go that way anymore. Whew!

 

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Here was the sign signaling that we were already at Carambolas.

 

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WE HAVE ARRIVED...BRING ON THE FUN!!!

 

 

 

Ok, I hate to do this to you...but that's all I had time to put together. Carambola is going to be another heavy picture day and I need to gather the ones that I want to use in the review (so many of them almost 300 pictures I took there that day). So, I'm going to work on that some more tonight. (I did manage to get some homework done when I first got home today so 1 paper down and only 3 more to go this week :D)

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Hey Kim,

Thank you so much for your response! We LOVED the Escape. Mind you we didn't have a lot to base it on. We were a party of 4 (32,33, 33, 35 years old, 3 females, one male-he's a trooper) all very laid back and easy going and just need a comfy spot, a cold drink and we can laugh and entertain ourselves :)

The food was amazing!! My wife and I are both vegetarian and I was concerned about what the veggie options would be. HA! I'm sure I gained at least a pound a day lol The only specialty restaurant wife and I did was food republic, while our friends went to Cagneys (we didn't see any point in us going lol). It was SOOO good. Worth the upcharge but we LOVE asian food! The service was awesome everywhere we went. The staff were ALL so friendly, I don't remember one rude/unhelpful encounter the entire week. I would absolutely recommend it! Especially if you are aiming to sail the fleet, just keep that booking and go for it! I have looked at a lot of pictures of the other ships and it seems like the Escape got the bathroom storage/counter space thing figured out too!

The shows (for the most part) were incredible! Million Dollar Quartet -wish we had booked in to see it more than once!! I LOVED that show. After Midnight-did not love it and started falling asleep. I felt bad :/ But we saw a lot of people just leaving the theatre (and had read about that happening previous to departure)

Howl at the Moon- you seem to love comedy and music. So this show you will go more than once, it's never the same and they are incredible!

Absolutely GO!!!

 

I'm not a mayan ruins kind of girl either...it's my other half thats the history buff...the things we do for love LOL

I'm a swim with the dolphins kind of girl! :D

 

Thank you for your suggestions, i will look them up. I did just read about LFK in your review and it looks INCREDIBLE!!

 

Thank you again!

Heather

 

Thanks for all the info on the Escape. I'm sure I'll keep the booking, just not sure if I'll keep the date. I have to get this fleet completed soon...they just keep adding more on me and it's never going to happen at this rate. :p

 

Yes, LFK...definitely look at all 3 of my reviews and pictures. I can't even begin to describe how great and beautiful this place is. To me (IMO) incredible isn't even a strong enough word for it. ;) :)

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I sure hope that the next time we get to St Kitts I will be able to get in the water! That cruise, or rather my horrendous mobility issues during the cruise, was what convinced me I had to quit procrastinating and get my right hip and both knees replaced. St Kitts was probably the worst day of that trip for me with regards to pain, so that, along with the bad roads are my memories of the island. Now my "repairs" are complete and I can hardly wait to go diving on our next cruise! While St Kitts is not on our next itinerary, I do want to go back there and be able to enjoy the island, maybe even go diving!

 

I am really excitrd for Sakari that you are considering letting her do bubble makers! Just know that she will be even more excited about being underwater than she is now. I mean, I love snorkeling and all, but nothing, absolutely nothing compares with strapping a scuba tank on my back and going under the water. It may take Sakari a while to get used to all the gear, but once she does there will be no getting her out of the water! :eek: :D

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I sure hope that the next time we get to St Kitts I will be able to get in the water! That cruise, or rather my horrendous mobility issues during the cruise, was what convinced me I had to quit procrastinating and get my right hip and both knees replaced. St Kitts was probably the worst day of that trip for me with regards to pain, so that, along with the bad roads are my memories of the island. Now my "repairs" are complete and I can hardly wait to go diving on our next cruise! While St Kitts is not on our next itinerary, I do want to go back there and be able to enjoy the island, maybe even go diving!

 

I am really excitrd for Sakari that you are considering letting her do bubble makers! Just know that she will be even more excited about being underwater than she is now. I mean, I love snorkeling and all, but nothing, absolutely nothing compares with strapping a scuba tank on my back and going under the water. It may take Sakari a while to get used to all the gear, but once she does there will be no getting her out of the water! :eek: :D

 

I showed Sakari the video they had for the scuba program for kids and it's all she talked about last night. She wanted to do it last night! I will be calling today to find out more information about signing her up. The website it a little confusing. I think it's 3 days at 2 hours each and then you do monthly "dives" (probably in their pool). The first session this month is this friday! :eek:

 

 

Can't wait for your pics at Carambola. We were there 3 years ago. Love it!! So peaceful and beautiful! We did this same cruise when the Valor was the ship. S. Caribbean are my favorite ports of all. We went in April, and it was warm then too.

 

They are ready and coming right up soon.

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We came out of the restaurant building and onto the beach.

 

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We were the first ones there!!! We had our pick of chairs and followed this guy looking for the perfect spot.

 

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Sakari had already removed her cover-up and her and B were checking out the water.

 

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We headed down toward the end because it looked like an interesting spot.

 

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This is where we decided.

 

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Immediately the swimming and exploring began. Even though it was still early in the morning, the water was warm and it was already hot. Holy moly those are some bright swimming trunks B. (Just kidding, this is what happens when you forget to change the setting on your camera to underwater).

 

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The morning pictures turned out kinda crappy. I'm not sure why. The water must have been stirred up a bit or something because they didn't end up very clear. Sakari was off exploring and had morphed into a mermaid.

 

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I spotted some fish

 

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Over to the right of us was a dock of some sort. I headed that way and there were a bunch of rocks up against it.

 

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I think she's swimming faster than her tail is today.

 

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Oh look, I spotted an Azure Damselfish

 

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GASP...it's one of those fire worms that stung Sakari back at Little French Key one year. I pointed at it and told her to stay away and not pick it up.

 

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Sea urchin. Don't this "stuff" at the bottom of this area remind you of a dirt mop? It was weird looking.

 

 

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Feather dusters...

 

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So there really wasn't a whole lot to see over by the dock. I was kinda disappointed. So there's an area that runs up and down the beach that has rocks and "sea life" and that's where we would do our snorkeling. It pretty much looks like this:

 

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It's nothing to write home about, but it would have to do. It still gave us a place to "look out" for things. But I wouldn't say this is much of a snorkeling area.

 

 

I seen these (I assume some type of coral?) everywhere.

 

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However, I have never seen a pink one. It was actually pretty.

 

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We found some black spiny sea urchins. Of course I pointed at them and ask Sakari if she would like to pick one up today. I got that "look" from her and I think she learned her lesson from the day before.

 

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A lonely three striped damselfish

 

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A yellow tang. I honestly don't see a lot of the yellow ones. You usually see more of the blue ones.

 

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Does anyone see what's here? Yea, I didn't either, but Kendra is a pro at spotting these. She has found every single one of them when we have been snorkeling in the past.

 

 

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Mr Octopus

 

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Love the color of these feather dusters. They were like a white color with a pretty blue tint. I had never seen any that color before.

 

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The hubby had followed us out and decided to join us...from above the water. It must have gotten too hot for him back on the beach. (This entire area of snorkeling is not deep, you can stand up there). So I found this

 

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And decided to let the hubby hold it. He has never held one before.

 

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I hated to see all this trash in the water. Of course it's no fault of Carambola. This could have came from anywhere...from the weather/ocean bringing it in, to inconsiderate people on the beach, to the wind whisking it away from the beach. You just never know. I still hate to see it though. Especially bags that critters can get caught up in. I watch so many of those "rescue" videos online.

 

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So I was in the water with a lady and her daughter. She approached me and we started talking (she had been snorkeling too). She ask me if I knew if we were allowed to snorkel "on the other side" and pointed on the other side of the dock. She said she walked over there earlier and there was lagoon type area with steps leading down in to it. I had never heard anyone mention this and knew I had to go explore and see what she was talking about.

 

This deck part you see in the picture, that leads to the left of the picture, is the dock. The rocky area is where I was headed. It was like the property next door or something.

 

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It was nothing but rocks everywhere and man it hurt my feet. But I made it and it was BEAUTIFUL over there!

 

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The steps she was talking about...this area was AMAZING and so pretty. It reminded me of Chankanaabs lagoon.

 

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It looked like a prime area for snorkeling (or even diving) and with all the rocks down there, I can only imagine the things to see.

 

The only problem is, the steps led down to the water and really not into the water. Once getting down in there, I'm not sure how you would get out...short of having to hoist your body up with your arms...and this fluffy girl won't be doing that any time soon.

 

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I could see fish everywhere. There were just so many of them. The place just really looked amazing.

 

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I kept putting my foot down on the last steps, as several crabs scurried off of the steps and back into the water, scaring the crap out of me at first, and sticking my camera under the water to see if I could get any good shots of the fish that were crowding the steps. There were hundreds...seriously....until I would put my camera in the water and then they would disappear. It reminded me of my aquarium at home and the fish going back and forth at the top waiting for me to feed them. But once I stuck my camera in the water, they would flee for the most part.

 

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The other problem was, once again, I forgot to put my camera setting on underwater. So I end up with a bunch of "RED".

 

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I didn't realize it at the time of course. I walked away hoping that I ended up with a bunch of pictures that made it look like I was actually under the water over there. Fail

 

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I decided to walk back...over the rocks we go. There was a road that leads back to this area and I did see a white truck back here at one point. I still don't know what this area is for though. Can anyone tell me?

 

This picture shows where it's located in relation to Carambola.

 

 

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The dock area

 

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After sitting down to massage the battle wounds on my feet, I look over and see this on the dock....

 

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Why were the kids talking to some stranger and is this stranger danger or a friendly local stranger? I had to go investigate.

 

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Do you see what B has in his hands? A monkey!

 

This guy sat over at the dock for hours. The kids were over there playing with the monkey for hours. It would crawl all over them and let them feed it and hold it and they were busy jumping off the dock over and over too.

 

 

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