Three Finger Cove: Billy ~ Book Six

Chapter Three

The Cover household and guests were up, showered, dressed and down in the Kitchen Nook by 7 a.m. Mr. Ken had set out one breakfast taco for everyone, knowing they would have a light breakfast onboard the plane as they flew to Hobby International Airport in Houston, TX.

They boarded the 14-passenger Gulfstream 650 at San Antonio International Airport at approximately 10 a.m. and were in the air about twenty-five minutes later. The flight attendant knew to have breakfast foods and hot coffee on board, so as soon as they reached cruising altitude, he got busy feeding their nine passengers.

After the attendant took everyone’s meal order, Mr. Ken called for his traveling companion’s attention.

“While Jayson is getting our food ready, I want to talk to you, well the boys’ especially, about how I see this week. As I mentioned before, after we are settled into our rooms, I want us all to walk around the ship together, so we all have the same understanding of the layout.

“Also, I want you all to download the Carnival Hub app on your phones. It will tell you what is happening on board the ship the entire cruise. I also want you to accept the chat app. That way we can text one another, and stay in contact, if there is a need. I have pre-loaded one-hundred dollars each into your Sail and Sign (S&S) accounts, so it should not be a problem.

“And speaking of staying in contact, Robert and Eric know this, but for you other boys I want you to know you have free reign of the ship. That is unless I, Mr. Dan or Mr. Wayne tell you otherwise. We will eat dinner together every night at 6 p.m. You can wear nice shorts and a polo shirt, to dinner” began ‘dad’ Ken before being interrupted.

“You mean our school clothes?” piped in Matthew.

“You got it,” smiled ‘dad’ Ken.

“On the first formal night, I want to get good photos of all of you, so that is why I had you bring your suits. We need to be ready and downstairs at five o’clock, so we can be the first ones in line. With so many of us, it will probably take an hour,” began Mr. Ken, before again being stopped.

“But there are only six of us ‘dad’, why will it take so long?” asked Kevin.

“Hmmmm, because I want individual pictures of each of you, and then I want a group picture and then one of me with each and every one of you. I want Kevin and Kyle to have a picture together, etcetera. Then, if Mr. Dan and Mr. Wayne want any special pictures those will take more time.

“Now as for your freedom on the ship. You can hang out with your ‘brothers’, but I’d like you to meet other kids, and do stuff with them, too.” And again, Mr. Ken was interrupted.

“But dad, this is supposed to be a ‘family’ vacation, isn’t it?” questioned Robert. “And we don’t get to do many things with you because you’re always so busy, so I, for one, want to do some fun things with you.

“They have this neat ropes course, and then there is the miniature golf and the water slides. I know there are six of us and … and only one of you, but I bet my ‘brothers’ want to do the same with you, too, dad!”

Together, the rest of the boys all voiced a “Yes, ‘dad’ we want to do that stuff with you, too.”

“‘Dad’, we understand what you’re saying about us having other friends on the ship, so we aren’t bored and stuff. But, we … well, like Robert said, we want to do stuff with you, too,” pronounced Charles.

“OK, we’ll play that one by ear, then. But this is our vacation, too,” said ‘dad’ Ken, as he pointed to his two adult companions. “They have an adult’s only area, and we three might be up there relaxing. But I promise you, I’ll make sure we do stuff together as a ‘family’ on board the ship. Even though we’ll all be together on our three excursions,” chuckled ‘dad’ Ken.

“I see our food is ready, but one last thing. I want us all to have fun without falling overboard. Now, let’s eat!” laughed the owner of The Cove, and host of the Spring Break trip.

The large group was met at the airport by their driver driving a Mercedes Sprinter Passenger Van, very similar to what Mr. Ken had purchased the previous year, which was converted into a limo-van. The boys helped their chauffeur load the bags, and then the group of nine were on their way to the Port of Galveston and the Carnival Breeze.

At the terminal, the boys helped to off-load the bags at the Baggage Drop off area and the group walked to the other end of the terminal, for in processing. There, Mr. Ken pulled out the folders he had Mr. Chris make for him that he had planned to pass out on the airplane, but was now happy he hadn’t.

There was so much going on between getting off the plane and to the limo-van and loading and off-loading the bags that any one of the boys could have misplaced his folder. Now, all ‘dad’ Ken had to do was give each boy their folder, and let them process in one at a time. Mr. Ken went first to show everyone how easy it was.

Robert and Eric stayed back, having had their one experience of going through the procedure to watch that their ‘brothers’ didn’t have any problems, and to be ready to help if needed. Mr. Dan and Mr. Wayne went through an adjoining line and waited for everyone before going through the metal detectors. The Covers didn’t need the Health Questionnaire after all, as Carnival stopped using them.

“Mr. Dan,” called out an excited, but whispering Kyle, “what about your gun? Will you get into trouble if they find it?”

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent heard the simple exchange and called his partner over. The two of them wanted to have a talk with the boy and the man. They all had a good laugh when Mr. Dan produced his Sheriff’s credentials.

The Sheriff’s Lieutenant told the officers he did not have his service weapon with him, as he knew he was leaving the United States and wasn’t permitted to take it with him. Still, Mr. Dan was held up until his credentials could be verified by the TSA agent’s supervisor.

“That was close,” offered a smiling Dan Fischer, to his friend Mr. Ken.

“I’m sorry Mr. Dan if I got you into trouble,” said Kyle. “I didn’t know, and I was afraid that they’d keep you from going with us if they found your gun,” apologized the contrite youngest twin.

“Kyle, that’s OK. You tried to warn me, and you did whisper. But we were close enough to the TSA guy that he heard you. I guess I should have told all of you about not having my gun, since we are going out of the country. Boys … it is better to ask the question than to not ask it and have it blow up in your face at a later time. Now … let’s get on board and start this exciting vacation.

True to his word, Mr. Ken had three adjoining cabins. But these weren’t just any cabins; they were Junior Suite Balcony cabins. The boys had to check out each of them to see if they were different in any way. They had each gotten their cabin cards, which acted as their on-board credit card. ‘Dad Ken’ also gave them each a lanyard for them to hook the card on to and wear around their necks, so that way they didn’t lose them.

The nine cruisers then downloaded the app Mr. Ken told them about, and then activated the text feature. Before long they each had sent a text message to one of them to make sure the chat feature worked. After that, they headed out to explore the ship.

As Mr. Ken had done on the Disney cruises, they started their self-guided tour on the top most deck. As they walked each deck, the boys used the app to show them where they were and what important features were also there. That was the one and only time the boys were able to see the Serenity area and what their ‘dad’, Mr. Dan and Mr. Wayne could use to relax away from them.

After the group saw the important areas of the main guest decks, they headed to the Lido Deck and lunch. Right off, the boys started bickering where they wanted to eat. They had the buffet, Guy’s burgers and Blue Iguana Cantina to choose from, and they all wanted to go in different directions.

“Stop!” yelled Robert. “Listen to us! We’re doing it again! We’ll all eat together, so we can talk about what we saw. And, we’ll all stay together until after the emergency lifeboat drill is over. Are there any questions?” ordered big ‘brother’ Robert.

The three adults just turned away and lightly snickered at how Robert corralled his ‘brothers’ and told them how it would be.

“I’m tired of burgers. They look and smell good and all, but … look at that line. Let’s go inside, find a table large enough for all of us, and see what’s on the menu and get our plates full. Some of you can stay at the table to reserve it for us while the rest get in line. When one of us gets back the ones at the table can get their plates full,” offered Charles, as his older ‘brother’ did, in a take charge mode.

Charles decided he’d stay and asked one of his ‘brothers’ to stay as well. Mr. Dan volunteered saying he and Charles could talk some while the rest, ‘Fed their faces’. Everyone laughed and then got into the buffet line.

It wasn’t long before Mr. Wayne returned to allow Mr. Dan and Charles to get their lunch. But the two both said they wanted one or two more there as the place was getting more and more crowded and they didn’t want to lose any part of the large table they had put together.

While everyone was eating, Kevin was looking at his S&S card and seeing a sticker on it asked what it was all about. ‘Dad’ Ken told the boys they had the unlimited bubbles package, which meant they could have all the sodas they could drink. But he reminded them not to get sick.

“‘Dad’, is this like what we had on our Disney cruise?” asked Eric.

The younger boys snickered as what they perceived as a faux pas calling Mr. Ken ‘dad’. But Robert told them all that just as Eric was their ‘brother’ their ‘dad’ was his, too. The boys looked back and forth to one another, and then just sat there as quiet as a mouse.

“Boys, the Unlimited Bubbles sticker shows the people behind the bar you can get any soft drink any time you want them. They also have ice cream machines you can use at any time as well. Wouldn’t chief just love to have one of those? But I warn you boys … do not overindulge on the sugar,” laughed Mr. Ken.

After telling the boys they had unlimited sodas for the cruise, Mr. Ken told Dan and Wayne they had a sticker on their S&S cards that told the bartenders they had the Cheers package. The man explained they had unlimited adult drinks. He added it didn’t kick in until 6 a.m. the next morning and if they ordered a drink today, it would come out of their S&S account. Hearing that put great big smiles on both men.

“You didn’t have to do that,” spoke up Mr. Wayne.

“Wayne, you two are doing me a great big favor by coming along and there is no reason you two shouldn’t be rewarded and enjoy yourselves at the same time. Matter of fact, I have the Cheers package, too, and I intend to use it,” laughed Ken Thomas.

About the time the Covers finished their lunch an announcement was made that everyone should start heading towards their Muster Stations for the emergency lifeboat drill.

“Mustard station?” asked an incredulous Matthew.

“No, it’s Muster, M-U-S-T-E-R. It means gathering or meeting place. That’s where we would go if we ever had to abandon ship,” chuckled ‘dad’ Ken. The Covers all headed to their assigned station.

After being told what to do in case of an emergency and shown how to don their lifejackets, the boys were ready to run off to explore the ship by themselves as soon as the drill was over.

“Boys, it’s almost 4 p.m. Don’t forget we eat dinner at 6. We’ll meet outside the restaurant where I showed you. Don’t be late,” advised ‘dad’ Ken. “Ohhh, and stop by your camps and meet the other kids.”

The boys ran off to places unknown. The adults went looking for a bar to get a cold adult drink. Even if it would be charged to their S&S, since the Cheers package didn’t kick in for another 12 plus hours. They did have a hundred dollars loaded on it.

At dinner the Covers talked about their day. It was Kevin who asked what they could do with that one hundred dollars on their sail card. Mr. Ken told them they already spent five dollars on the app text feature and laughed while saying it.

‘Dad’ Ken told them they could go to the Cherry on Top and get some candy, or go to the Warehouse arcade and play the games there. He did warn them that once that one hundred dollars was gone there was no more. He asked the boys to be frugal with their largess, especially in the beginning as they had a whole week to get through.

That night the boys wound up at the Dive-In Movie and stayed together. It was close to 11:30 p.m. when they arrived back at their cabins. The younger boys were concerned they would get into trouble for being so late. It was Eric who told them he had texted ‘dad’ where they were and would be back after the movie.

That night, Robert and Eric were staying with Mr. Ken. Charles and Kyle were with Mr. Dan, and Matthew and Kevin bunked in with Mr. Wayne. There were some awkward moments in Mr. Dan’s and Mr. Wayne’s cabins as the boys weren’t sure how they should dress to go to bed. Not ever staying overnight with either man, they didn’t know if they could sleep in their boxer briefs, as they usually did, or should they use their sleeping shorts and t-shirt.

Robert and Eric knew what they could do, as they were with ‘dad’ Ken last year. In the other two rooms, the men were prepared for that uneasy situation when it came time to go to bed. Both men told the boys to do what they usually did at home. But both men explained to them if they were embarrassed to do so to just wear their sleeping togs. The boys opted for their boxer briefs and t-shirt.

Sleeping in their boxer briefs was nothing as compared to the next morning when the boys all woke with their morning friend standing tall. None of them were brave enough to run to the bathroom to relieve the pressure in their bladders, but they all knew they had better, and soon, or they’d pee their beds.

Charles was the first to run to the bathroom, as he held his hands in front of himself. Kyle saw what his big ‘brother’ had done, so he ran as fast as he could and opened the bathroom door as fast as he could. Charles had already pointed his one-eyed snake into the toilet bowl and Kyle quickly joined him. The boys had seen each other’s boy parts, both soft and hard, so this was a no-brainer for them.

Mr. Dan had heard them talking about what to do, so he just waited to see what they would do. He wasn’t looking directly towards the cabin door, and, as such, the bathroom door, but he did see Charles covering himself and then Kyle as they ran to the bathroom. He smiled to himself, realizing he was seeing another aspect of having children at home, and what it would mean if he ever had kids.

In the other two cabins it went almost the same way. Matthew and Kevin tried to hide their inflated members from Mr. Wayne, but the man saw their condition as they headed to the bathroom. He too smiled at what he remembered doing as a young boy himself.

Robert and Eric remembered from last year how upset Mr. Ken got when they pranced to the bathroom, without trying to hide their morning boners. This time they had placed their sleeping shorts in their beds and put them on before going to the bathroom. Mr. Ken was pleased they at least tried to do the proper thing.

When the boys had relieved the pressure on their bladders they walked out onto their balconies after exchanging texts with one another. Only the two oldest Covers had shorts on while the four younger Covers were out there in their boxer briefs and t-shirts.

The adults used the facility after the boys went out onto the balcony. After that, they talked on the cabin phone to decide what they would do. But because they couldn’t do a conference call they went out on the balcony to talk back and forth.

“What do we have here, boys? Shouldn’t you all be wearing shorts?” teased Mr. Wayne, when he saw the four boys in just their boxers.

“Mr. Wayne, no one can see us out here and what would they see if they could?” argued Charles. “We all have our shirts on and they are long enough that no one could figure out we were out here in just our briefs. It looks like we have shorts on to me, or maybe our swimsuits.”

The adults didn’t say anything about what Charles had to say. What they did talk about was what everyone was doing for breakfast. The boys said they were going to get dressed and go up to the Lido for the buffet. Mr. Dan suggested they wear their bathing suits and crocks, so if they decide to go swimming afterwards, they wouldn’t have to come back. That’s what the boys did.

What four of the boys forgot was they were sharing a cabin with someone not their dad. When they went in to change, they immediately took off their briefs and t-shirt and then went looking for their swimsuits. When Mr. Dan and Mr. Wayne walked back into their cabin to change themselves, they were greeted with white bare butts, some of which were bending over to don their swimsuits.

“What do we have here?” teased Mr. Dan.

“We’re sorry Mr. Dan. We’re used to seeing one another without clothes on and …well, we forgot we weren’t in our rooms at home,” explained Charles.

Kyle then added as he continued to put his swimsuit on, “But we all have the same equipment, so it shouldn’t really matter. It’s just that yours is much bigger than ours, I bet.”

Mr. Dan laughed out loud and just shook his head. “Boys … I don’t want you to feel, ahhh, embarrassed by me seeing your, ahhh … your ‘equipment’. I did appreciate your trying to hide your morning condition as you ran to the bathroom this morning, though.

“As you know, I don’t have kids. So, every time I am with you boys, I learn more and more about what it is like to be around kids, what, 11 to 14 years of age? Now, let me get dressed and we’ll all head up to the buffet as a ‘family’.”

While the nine Covers ate, Robert wanted to talk about what he saw on the app that he felt they should all try to do together. The teen explained the events were on different days, so if they talked about it now it would be something to look forward to during the cruise.

Robert started with the Ropes Course that was open every day the weather permitted. He mentioned the pools, but focused on the area called WaterWorks that had slides they could all do as a ‘family’. The teen also mentioned there were Dive-In Movies, as they had done the previous evening, during the week in the evenings, and shows in the theater as well.

The one family orientated show he wanted them all to go to was called Hasbro: The Game Show. The teen explained the Game Show was supposed to have giant versions of some of Hasbro’s board games, and said he had heard they picked people from the audience to play. Eric added it would be fun if one of them were picked to play.

Before the group split up, ‘dad’ Ken told the boys he was going up to the Serenity Deck to relax and get some sun. He reminded the boys they had to be all showered and dressed before five, so they could go down to have their pictures taken before dinner. Mr. Dan told the boys he was going to join their ‘dad’ up in the adult’s area and relax.

Mr. Wayne, on the other hand, asked his cabin mates, Matthew and Kevin, if they were game enough to try out the ropes course. Of course, the boys couldn’t wait to get to do that. But when they got there, they learned they needed to have closed toed shoes, so they had to go back to their cabins to get their sneakers on. Once back up at the Ropes Course, and fitted up with a harness, they were able to do the entire course of 20 challenges.

Since that was the first Sea-Day and there were about 2000 boys and girls on the ship, the pools and WaterWorks were extremely busy. The other Cover boys tried their best to enjoy those activities, but they spent more time waiting in the sun than they did in the water. The two adult Covers fared better as they had the use of two spas up on the Serenity deck.

By four o’clock all the Covers were back at their cabins. Mr. Dan was again surprised when Charles and Kyle took their showers together in the large shower/tub. Sure, they both couldn’t be under the showerhead at the same time, but they could get wet, lather, rinse, and repeat until they felt clean.

When the two boys came out of the bathroom, they had their boxer briefs on and told Mr. Dan they were hot and were going out on the balcony to cool down. When they got out there, Robert and Eric were already out on their balconies and before long, Matthew and Kevin were out on theirs and told their ‘brothers’ about the fun they had on the ropes course.

While the boys were out on the balconies, the adults got ready for the evening. The men had no problem walking around in their boxers after their showers, but they didn’t walk out on the balcony to cool off. They had already adjusted the room temperature, which had cooled off some, by the time they had finished their showers. When the men were almost fully dressed, they opened the balcony doors and told the boys to come inside and get dressed.

The Covers were downstairs by 5 p.m. and stopped at the background scene Mr. Ken had selected earlier in the day. Each boy had their picture taken with three different poses. Then, the twins had their pictures taken as brothers. After that, Mr. Ken had his picture taken with each of the boys, and so did Mr. Dan and Mr. Wayne. The last pictures taken were the large group photos. All nine stood for their picture and then each man stood with the six boys.

But, before they left for dinner, Robert asked if he and Eric could have a separate picture of just them. That started a round of two and three boys wanting funny pictures together, too. The people waiting behind them were fit to be tied the Covers took so long.

Elegant Night meant the main dinner entrées were prime rib and lobster. The Cover boys had never had either of them, and were going to opt for the chicken breast. Mr. Dan convinced them they needed to try both of the main courses. He told them they would have the opportunity to try many different foods on the cruise, and this was the right time to start.

Mr. Wayne spoke up and reminded the boys the foods were something they wouldn’t normally order in a nearby fancy restaurant back home. Mr. Ken then added that if the boys didn’t like it, they could then ask for the chicken.

The Estate Master then told the boys to also choose an appetizer from the list at the top. He suggested the Shrimp Cocktail. Again, the boys never had that, and they were reluctant to even try it. But, again ‘dad’ Ken told them to order it, and if they didn’t like it, he would eat them and they could get something else. The boys all laughed at their ‘dad’s’ offer.

The meal turned out to be a huge success. The boys loved the shrimp cocktail and wanted to order more, but ‘dad’ told them he didn’t want them to ruin their main meal. When the boy’s prime rib and lobster dinners were presented to them, they all tentatively took a bite of each of them. First the prime rib, then the lobster. It wasn’t until after their first bite of the lobster that Kevin asked what that yellow liquid was for.

The three adults chuckled at Kevin’s question. It was Mr. Wayne who told the boys to try another piece of lobster, but this time to dip it into the liquid, which he told them was clarified butter. Each boy did what they were asked, and the smiles on their faces told the whole story.

The conversation at the table was full of what each boy had done during the day. Kevin just had to tell them how much he loved the ropes course and what he liked about the different obstacles. He told everyone he hoped to do it again before the cruise was over.

Then, when the waiters served the Covers their dessert, they also brought out two small cakes with a candle burning on each. They presented them to the twins and then began singing Happy Birthday to them. The Covers joined in and wished the twins a Happy Twelfth Birthday.

After dessert, Mr. Ken mentioned their excursion the next morning and what to expect. He added they would get their excursion tickets later that night, and there would be directions on what to do when they docked.

‘Dad’ Ken explained to them when they arrive at Cozumel, they would all need to be up and ready to go ashore by 8:15 a.m. The boys moaned some, but Robert set them straight. He told them for them to have fun they had to make some sacrifices, and getting up early was one of them.

As soon as dinner was over, the boys wanted to go change into their school clothes. ‘Dad’ Ken told them to be back at their cabins by 10 p.m., so they could get a good night’s rest. He added their 7 a.m. wakeup call would come earlier than they would want.

The next morning on the pier, the boys were surprised at the size of the catamaran that would sail them to their first stop at Cozumel’s top snorkeling reef. After reaching their intended spot, a safety briefing and explanation on how to use the snorkeling equipment was given by the crew. The Covers strapped on their gear and descended the boat’s stairway to float above the aqua-scape beneath them.

When all the people on the excursion were content with seeing the brain coral and all the beautiful and different fish, the multi-hulled watercraft proceeded to Fury Beach. The beach was a private strip of sand where everyone could round up some friends for a spirited game of beach volleyball, or opt for the water activities, such as the Aquaglide, the water trampoline, and attempt sea kayaking

On the triple-hulled boat heading back to the ship, the boys couldn’t stop talking about the fish they saw and the water toys that were out on the lagoon for them to play on. They also thanked their ‘dad’ for taking them and then to all three adults for playing with them out in the water.

Matthew then asked, “‘Dad’, could you get us some of those water toys we played on for our home? They sure were lots of fun to play on, and the one was like a see-saw that would be fun for smaller kids.”

‘Dad’ Ken let the question hang and changed the subject.

Back on the ship, the boys wanted the adults to go to the WaterWorks to ride the water slides with them, and then to swim in the pools. Mr. Dan laughed at the face his friend Ken Thomas made at hearing the request. But, the three adults, still wearing their swimsuits, did acquiesce to what the boys asked. And with so many people still off the ship the pools and the WaterWorks weren’t over crowded, so the Covers had a good time playing and swimming together.

Instead of going to the main dining room for dinner that night, ‘dad’ Ken made a command decision. The Covers will go to the buffet to eat that night. He was worn out and could see the tiredness in Dan and Wayne and knew the buffet would be a good choice for everyone. They also didn’t have to worry about what to wear.

While the Covers ate dinner, the boys asked about tomorrow’s excursion. Mr. Ken told everyone, off the top of his head, they would do some cave exploration, cave tubing and ziplining. The man told everyone they would have to wait until tomorrow to see what the excursion would be like.

After dinner, ‘dad’ Ken told the boys to get lost, have fun and make some friends. He added he and his companions were going to have a few adult beverages and to text him if any of them decided to get married. Everyone had a good laugh. He added for the boys to be back in the cabins by 10 p.m. The boys all took off.

At Belize, the Covers had to catch an early water shuttle into the port and their excursion. Since there are no deep-water ports at Belize, for cruise ships to dock, the large cruise ships had to drop anchor about 3 to 5 miles out.

After about a 40-minute shuttle ride into the port the Covers caught up with their excursion. The group had a scenic countryside tour of Belize, then they hiked a short distance through a lush tropical rainforest as they made their way to a limestone cliff that was the launching pad for their zip-line adventure.

“‘Dad’ … do I … do I really have to do this?” asked a tentative Matthew.

“Well, ‘son’ there is no other way to get back to our ship. We have to go forward. We can’t go back,” began ‘dad’ Ken, before Mr. Wayne pulled Matthew aside.

“Matthew, listen … I’ll go before you and then … and then you come right after me. I’ll be the guinea pig and if my 165-pound body can get across your 80-pound skinny butt should have no problem,” offered the boy’s mentor.

“But, it … it is so high up,” argued Matthew.

“Yes, it is. But your ‘brothers’ … they are going before us, so we both know if they all get across the zipline it is safe. Trust me. I know that once you start across, you’re going to love it,” added Mr. Wayne, while he not only ruffled Matthew’s hair; he pulled him into a tight hug.

Mr. Ken saw and heard what his Estate Master had done for Matthew. He smiled at the exchange knowing the youngster looked up to the man and would probably follow his advice and lead. The owner of The Cove didn’t say a word. He decided to let the two stay together and wait to see what would happen.

Mr. Dan said he’d go first in order to be at the other end for the boys as they came over. The guides held up the next person for the zipline until Mr. Dan was safely on the other platform. The boys then went in age order.

When there were just three Covers remaining, it was Mr. Wayne’s turn and as he went out on the zipline he called out to Matthew how much fun it was as he slid over to the other platform.

Matthew was already harnessed up and when he saw his mentor standing on the other platform he looked to ‘dad’ Ken to see if he had to go. Mr. Ken hugged the boy and reminded him of what he and Doctor Doug told him about not worrying about the things he can’t control.

With trepidation, Matthew hooked up to the line and with some fear still in his eyes he stepped off into the void. Everyone could hear the youngest Cover scream as he began his slide across the 500-foot chasm. But, then, they heard faint laughter. Then, they all heard screams of laughter as Matthew finished his first-ever zipline ride.

“Mr. Wayne, Mr. Dan did you see? Did you see? Did you see? I did it, I did it!” said a joyous Matthew, with a grin so big it looked like it went from ear-to-ear.

‘Dad’ Ken arrived at the platform just as the young Cover’s ‘brothers’ were hugging him and congratulating him on doing the zipline. It was a party-like atmosphere, but the guides told them they had more ziplining, yet to do. So, after Mr. Dan was safely across the 700-foot jungle ravine, Mathew went next followed by his ‘brothers’ in reverse age order.

For the second leg of their excursion, the Covers changed from a harness to life vests, as their guides led them to a Mayan sacred underworld. The guide led them through a large Mayan chamber, and told them interesting facts of Mayan history and religious practices.

It was then time for the intrepid explorers to enjoy floating on inner tubes through a chamber where high ceilings and a stalactite-lined wall gave them the feeling that they were in a Cathedral, since the nature formed spikes made it look like a mighty pipe organ. As they continued to float down the river, they came across beautiful and dazzling crystal-encrusted cave formations, which was just a taste of what was to come

They finished their guided tour by disembarking their tubes for more cave exploring. They were shown pottery dating back to 300-900 AD, which were used by the Maya in ancient sacrificial ceremonies. Lastly, they hiked through a tiny passage where they emerged in front of a ‘frozen waterfall’ stalagmite column, which glittered as a rimstone dam that took their breath away.

By the time they finished their four-hour-long tour they were all very hungry. The large group participated in a tasty Belizean lunch that was included in their tour. Mr. Ken did bring some cash to buy them drinks with which to wash it all down. Before they boarded the bus to return to the ship, Mr. Ken bought several photo packages to digitize, and then present to each of the explorers later.

That night they ate in the main dining room. That was so the boys would have a chance to eat other foods they normally would not or have not experienced otherwise. The boys all had a double serving of shrimp cocktail, and, almost purred, as they ate the ten-medium shrimp with the red cocktail sauce.

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