Posts Tagged With: Cool runnings

Trash the dress? Nah, I honored it!

The week leading up to and the days following our wedding was just as fun and memorable as the actual event. Since we had about 25 guests that had flown in from all over the world, it was only appropriate to expand the celebrations and have a little more adventure!

If you’ve been with this blog for awhile you know Ryan, owner and operator of SUP Barbados. He was the very first Bajan I ever met and turned into one of my dearest island family members. Aside from Barbados, we had a mini adventure to Trinidad and Tobago and a random airport hug in Frankfurt, Germany! On this day, he took out a small group of us for a sunset paddle. Recognize the other girls? Bree, from travels in Chiang Mai, New York, and Barbados back in 2014. Then there’s Denise and Ioni, my amazing friends from The Netherlands! We’ve studied together in Buenos Aires, played with in Córdoba and definitely made a mark in Amsterdam. I actually met Denise back in Spain before herhappytrails even existed!

Now, we all gather under one sun and celebrate!

Ryan took the photo of me years ago and then one of Matt on this day… unplanned!

Such a fun day! Thank you Ryan for always providing a day of laughter, sunshine and paddle filled memories.

Post wedding day was spent on the beach with boats, rafts, drinks, snacks and music. In my opinion, perfection! Cameras weren’t brought out that day (at least ours weren’t) so you’ll just have to trust it was a bright day full of more smiles, sunkissed skin and friends as far as the beach could hold. Here is the only photo I was given from the day, thanks Dani!

The last day of the wedding celebrations was spent on my favorite catamaran Cool Runnings!

If you’re interested in booking your own excursion, visit their website by clicking here.

Again with the lack of photos, just know it was a fantastic day! We did get a few snap shots of me honoring my dress though!

As I wrap up the memories of this beautiful moment in time, I want to rewind and post the video of how it all started. I’ll end here with the recording of the engagement!

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Sir fish photo-bomber 

My final post for this round of Florida will bring you to the shore on Panama City Beach. My beautiful company for the day is my ever so popular mom and our dear friend Jeanie. This has now become tradition for each one of my visits. Nothing but us girls, a few chairs, snacks, drinks and tons-o-smiles. 

Look east and you’ll find high rise hotels boasting their view of the sea. Take a gander to the the west and you’ll see a few locals surrounded by the tourists staying in those hotels.

Our little set up was perfect, not to mention able to withstand the winds that others were having such difficulty with!

(I may or may not of giggled a few times watching people battle their umbrellas). 

Since I’ve completely bailed recently on keeping the blog up to date, I’m going to fast forward slightly and catch you up to what’s been rolling along in her happy trails.

First things first, I’ve returned to Barbados!

Arriving back to my home away from home, I was greeted by my guests. That’s correct, my friends from California beat me here but made time to join me for some traditional “must do” activities! This post is all about a cruise on the  Cool Runnings Catamaran! You’ve seen happy faces on this adventure many of times in several past posts. Here we are getting the rules (or lack there of) out of the way. 

A quick sail leads us right to the underwater land of sea turtles, tropical fish and salty smiles. 

By far the best underwater photobomb I have ever encountered! Well done sir fish… well done.

 Captain Orlando, Chad, Brandon, Zack and Sean… Thank you for making it yet another fabulous experience!

On the last evening before they departed back, we met up to enjoy the Oistins popular Friday night fish fry. Denny, Shawn, Ally, Jacob, Steve and Sini… Thank you so much for your company on this magical island and I truly hope it goes into your memory book of an unforgettable vacation! Ps, I’m holding you to the family soup tradition!


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Yes please, but why not both?

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking on the posts lately but let me explain why and catch you up. I’ve temporarily moved into an extended living situation on my favorite island of Barbados. My sweetheart of a friend chose to broaden her experiences away from the island and give Help-exchange a try! If you’re not familiar with Helpx, it’s a key part of how I’ve been able to travel for so long on a “backpackers” budget. I explain it in more detail in the post How do you afford all that traveling. Anyway, Maria asked for my assistance in planning her journey and thus she’s now volunteering on a farm in Hawaii! Me? I’m house sitting for her and taking care of her two paw babies. Quick tour of my (her) house starts with the outside.  I live in the upstairs with that sweet balcony!

 The top photo is looking left back towards the driveway and main the road. The bottom pic is looking in the direction of the south coast.

 A quick peek around shows you a few of her amazing decoration choices, items that I’d have in my place too! 


 Then there’s my temporary kitty kids totaling in with 8 legs, many whiskers and 2 sassy attitudes.  Meet Regina and Anastasia. Please feel free to pet them (if they’re in the mood) and don’t dare ignore them (if they want attention) and definitely don’t expect to type at the table or do a floor workout without them doing everything in their power to distract you. 

Time to welcome my first guest. Remember Carina?  The precious German girl I met back at Oktoberfest in 2011 and have traveled with ever since. Our adventures range from Germany to North America with a little pit stop in Amsterdam and many memories made in Costa Rica. Now we add Barbados! 


The past two weeks looked like this…

Food! Of course I got her to taste all of the local delights from fish cakes and rotis to doubles and Mac pie. She didn’t shy away from the rum punch nor did she decline the opportunity to try pudding and souce (thank you Ryan!) She saw the fresh farmers market and tried a bite from the drive thru at the popular Cheffette (thank you Alex!). What holiday would be complete without a liquid beverage of choice, I offerred a fruit smoothly or Bloody Mary.  Typical Carina response, “Yes please, but why not both”? 

A fish cutter from Cuz and pit stop at good ol’ Mr. Delicious before saying hi to Coconut Chris. 

I snuck her in to what I’d like to claim as my own personal hidden gem (that in actuality is a popular shop for the locals) to enjoy a piece of heaven form the ever changing menu. Another trip to Cafe Moya is a success!


We treated ourselves to a day at Accra Beach hotel and brought along some German games. Wouldn’t you?! 

Did she make it to the beach? I can honestly say I lost track of how many times this girl found herself with red shoulders, sandy toes and a huge smile. 


There’s no way I’d let her leave without experiencing Cool Runnings (thank you Annika and Robert!) and of course my favorite Tuesday night plans of gymnastic (thank you Shane!) Live music at Mullins Beach bar (thank you Dwayne!) and the Surfers Cafe (thanks Bodie!). We also watched a BVB futbol game (thanks Marvin!) and had some girls night out (thank you Annika, Irene, Monica and many more)!

How did we get around the island (if our amazing friends weren’t able for a lift)? Only another experience that one must encounter while visiting.  The local transportation! She expressed that it was like being on a carnival ride with the lights, music, people and incredible (ha ha) driving skills.


You’ve seen this familiar palm tree in many previous post.  This time the landscape makes an appearance with a duo handstand! 

Lastly, she was one of the bright smiles in the last post, Ms. Barbados, Queen of the sea in which we experienced the annual race around the island!  (Thank you Stewart, Jason and ALex!)

Palm trees, sunsets and sandy smiles pretty much sums up our unforgettable time on this magical island.


Last stop is the airport in which we were both departing on the same day.  Her heading back to the one degree temperatures of of Bochum Germany and me… Well, you’ll see! 
Carina, you hold an undeniable light that is constantly illuminating the world around you. Your sincerity, passion for life, and genuine nature has been (and still is) a magnetic quality that I miss when you’re gone. Thank you so much for the years of tummy twisting laughter, hours of silly games, moments of connection and the depth of friendship that I truly hope others get to experience. You are one of a kind and I’m so grateful to call you my friend (or sister if you ask anyone else)! Cheers to us till next time… And who knows where or what we’ll be toasting!? XO

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We aren’t guaranteed “someday”.

So there I was skyping with my mom, making the usual wishful comments of what we would do if she was here in Barbados with me. “I would show you this place… have you try that food… take you there…” and so on. Although she’s traveled here before, it’s been years and since her last trip and I have explored the island a bit beyond her experience. Soon after several skyping sessions, I could feel her leaning farther into the reality of actually returning to this magical place someday. As most people will confirm (especially after surving a traumatic life experience) that we aren’t guaranteed someday so yes friends, you guessed it… she made it!  

 I’ll just jump right into the surprise I had been keeping from her since the moment I found out she was coming.  “Ok, I love you and just trust me (what every mom dreads hearing, right?) put your suit on, pack for the pool and hop in!”
Here’s a photo of us on the way to her (soon to find out) day of spoiling!

Welcome to Cool Runnings!

There are a few catamaran cruises here in Barbados, but only one (in my opinion) has the right to boast of their phenominal customer care. In years past, I’ve been able to experience Cool Runnings Barbados and since then shared the adventure with others. You can read those specific posts from my 2012 trip or last years Teaching a frog how to dive. 
Cool Runnings has now launched their new luxury cruise which is on a more intimate scale due to a smaller group and a range of high quality products. For me, there was a feeling of familiarity as the crew greeted us with a sincere smile and welcoming warmth (it wasn’t just the Barbados weather). “May I get you a beverage as you settle in?” Who wouldn’t want to hear that at the beginning of what is set to be a day of sailing, snorkeling, dining and optional dancing?

Before we left the dock, I took a quick loop to give you a photo tour of this stunning catamaran. 


Within moments of stepping on board you’re offered a beverage ranging from coffee and tea to juice and soda as well as a large selection of adult beverages. A serving (or 3) of homemade banana bread is passed around and then it’s time to depart! 

The crew for our day consisted of three outstanding men who seem to have mastered the ability of balancing a fun social energy with the upmost sense of professionalism. We were even lucky enough to have Robert aboard. He’s the king (more properly “the captain”) of this floating castle and made sure we all were having a brilliant time.   

The other two gentlemen were equally as accommodating making sure there wasn’t an empty glass in hand and that all needs were met. They were so on point with the passengers, you would of never guessed that Douglas and Kevin were also in control of the entire boat! 

Their capabilities went even further than that. Try stearing the boat while gripping a girl who’s randomly upside down next to you. Well done Douglas, thanks for being a trooper!  

While the gentlemen were hard at work, the guests were hard at… well, relaxing. Our only responsibility was to have a good time and judging from observation, we succeeded!    



The two stops we made allowed for some swimming with the turtles, an exploration of sea life and a piece of sunken wreckage. They give you the option of snorkleing gear and flotation devices depending on your preference. Ever witness a group of adults giddy like children? It’s silly to take yourself seriously with flippers on!

After the water play (that was so graciously guided by Kevin) everyone swam back to our home for the day. Before you had a moment to even consider hunger, they were offering appetizers. House made bruschetta and/or curried chicken on a crisp won ton. Another beverage? Of course. 

  The lunch menu served up mouth watering options for everyone. The plates were stacked and ready for all who desired the assortment of lamb, king fish, shrimp skewers, scalloped potatoes, roasted vegetables, fresh salad and sauces to top. I’m confident that everyone went back for seconds and if they didn’t, they stole a bite from their partner that did get another round.


After lunch, our empty plates magically disappeared into the world of “I don’t have to do dishes today” and we were encouraged to enjoy the catamaran as we headed back to the starting point. 


Robert, Annika, Douglas and Kevin…  you really have something special here and I’m so grateful to of been a part of this day. I was treated like royalty, met new friends (that I’m still in touch with) and got to watch my mum absorb the experience to the fullest. This is one happy girl, thank you!

For more information or to book your day of luxury, please visit or call them directly at 246-436-0911. I invite you to tell them that Erika sent you from herhappytrails!


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Teaching a frog how to dive… only in Barbados!

Cool Runnings is an excursion setting you sail on a custom made catamaran through the gorgeous waters of Barbados while providing, food, drink, dance, snorkeling and of course plenty of time to be kissed by the sun.

It’s been called the Rolls-Royce of catamaran excursions‘ in Barbados and was voted the 2nd best attraction from the popular Zagat. All with good reason, as you’re treated like royalty from the beginning.

Ryan did the honors of introducing this day trip to me and it made such a memory that when I was in the hosting position, I made it a point to pass on the experience. Here are some photos from my first experience of Cool Runnings.


On this bright morning I’m like a little kid taking friends to Disneyland for the first time!

As you board ship, you’re greeted with an open bar and homemade banana bread. Yes, breakfast of Bajan’s.


Brunch down and the first juice behind it, we’re off towards the first stop which is an opportunity to swim with tropical fish and sea turltes.

I’m going to pause here and define “dive”- a plunge into water executed in a prescribed manner, usually with arms extended and head first.

Since we have that clear, please explain to me how Bree managed to complete a dive by entering the water with both feet and hands at the same time after fully extending from what appears to be the position of a scared frog. Be mindful that we also initiated this attempt from a decently elevated height. I’m impressed.


“Under da sea!” (To be said like Sebastian from the Little Mermaid)




Back to the catermeran for our departure to the final stop which was more swimming and a Bajan Buffett! Flying fish, fried chicken, macaroni pie, salad, rice, veggies, spicy mango… and more adult beverages.


A few years back, I connected with a warm hearted guy that was an instant friend with conversation that fueled my (already raging) fire for travels. Two years later as I approached the catamaran, I spotted Raymond immediately. Expecting him not to remember just another guest, he pointed and said, “Hand standing around the world… So good to see you again!” Brilliant. Here we are, then and now.


Have you ever felt like a super-model being gently sprayed down with fresh water while gracefully perched on the back of a boat… only to see photos of it later to realize that you more resembled a giggling girl being drenched with freezing water out of a hose while trying to awkwardly brace yourself? Me neither.


Here are some random photos taken throughout the day. Good times for sure!







After swimming the clear turquoise waters, devouring lunch and enjoying one (or three) Bajan beverages, it was time for the final stretch back to the dock. What’s missing you may ask? Dancing! Music gets turned up and everyone braced themselves on deck to wiggle with it. Embarrassed to dance in front of a crowd? Eh, just blame your groove on the rocking boat!

Please take note of Hayden’s face… Was he just jealous of our sweet moves?


Dear Annika and Robert, this beautiful day and the way it left us smiling reaches far beyond a day at sea. Your kind presence and willingness to make us feel right at home didn’t go unnoticed. Thank you!


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Cool Runnings and the M.C. Buccaneer

Cool Runnings Catamaran Cruises exceeded my expectations for what I had in mind of a “day cruise”. Not only were they voted 2nd Most Popular Attraction by the globally recognised Zagat Survey, they were titled ‘the Rolls-Royce of catamaran excursions’ in Barbados. When I went to check them out on, it was clear with the awards of excellence and top ratings that this company has been raising the bar for years. I’m fortunate enough to have personally met the minds behind this company (including my host Ryan who designed the logo) and let me assure you, this is more than a business… Its a family wanting to provide a quality experience for everyone involved!
Check out their website for amazing pics of the water, turtles, and other variety of cruises they offer at .

The crew prepping for our day of snorkeling, swimming with the turtles, eating, drinking and dancing!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is Eddie our captain. He “has” to guide these sails all day with people having the time of their life to the background noise of reggae, calypso and dance hits. Do you feel for him or what?
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He let me sneak up there and chat with him and one of the other crew members. I’m sure everyone gets to go up there, but I felt special.
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Meet Raymond, remember Raymond and let me remind you Raymond in a far future post. This island guy is ready to travel and I happen to always have an open seat… Cheers till next time new friend!
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First picture is obviouslty me and Ryan and the second photo is one of our views from the catamaran.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Check for turtles before you jump in… All clear? Go!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Lunch time! More traditional Bajan food: flying fish, veggies, rice, salad and Rum Punch. (They left out the macaroni pie, friend bread fruit and plantains).
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

What a memory to add to the list… Thank you Ryan, Anika, Eddie, Raymond and all the crew members.


The M.C.Buccaneer is a cruising ship that you can sign up for a day of food, drinks, fun and more fun. Thisdj urnsy was a private party that I was so very lucky to be a part of (much appreciation to Daniel, Sean Dwayne and Mikie). This annual celebration involves a group of friends kickstarting, to say the least, the Kadooment Day that awaits us. That post is coming soon and I feel you should prepare yourself.

Here is the boat looking empty and innocent.
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As we were standing there getting ready to head out, I gazed down to see what looked like a swimming pool on the lower deck. Nope, that’s the ocean water that the was beneath us!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The crowd before departure. Take note of the fully clothed, calm adults having pleasant conversation.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

It’s Mikie again! He had the responsibility of inflating all of the safety apparatus’s -aka- the floaty animals! (As you can find in the second picture in which I’m checking for any damaged or unsafe materials).
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

These two gorgeous sisters welcomed me with bright smiles and a few more dance lessons. The first photo is with Maria followed by Michelle.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

More animals! Im talking about the people but there are some more floaties too.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Time to cool off so pick your dismount!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Dancing? Unheard of around here.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey now tiger… watch it.
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