In early January, we said goodbye to Aruba and set sail for Jamaica. This was an exciting time, but it did not come without some apprehension. Before any passage, we watch the weather, wind and waves. We plan our route so that we can sail as much as possible, but also try to go when the waves will be a reasonable size and direction, so that it will be a pleasant ride.
For this 515NM voyage we had great conditions. We had the wind pushing us along and we were able to go an average speed of 7NM per hour for this 75 hour trip, three days and nights.
So excited to wake up and see land.
We landed in Port Antonio, Jamaica on a Friday morning. We took a spot at the Errol Flynn Marina. Not a big place but just the right size for us and Wind Ensemble. After 6 months on desert islands, it was amazing to see a true tropical island again – green and lush with beautiful trees and flowers everywhere.
We got a very warm welcome. Customs and Immigration came to the dock to check us in and Addie met a new friend. It was really nice they accepted our Covid tests that we had taken in Aruba before leaving.
We quickly learned that having a local guide us around was the best way to learn about the community, find the best jerk chicken, and keep from getting hassled by other locals.
We took an all day and into the night island tour, up through the mountains.
We found a small local place making the famous blue mountain coffee the same way they always have. They start by breaking the outer shell off.
Then they roast each bean by hand over an open fire.
Last step is selecting only the best roasted beans. It does not get any more authentic than this.
Wow, it smelled good.
So proud of Addie, she has been trying so many new things.
Our next stop was Kingston and the Bob Marley museum.
It was a powerful experience getting to be in the spaces where he got inspired to create his iconic music.
One of the things we enjoy most about traveling around is getting to try local food.
It was a wonderful thing being back in a tropical place with so much lush foliage.
The size and color of the plants is breath taking.
We explored another part of the island and found some amazing falls to swim and play in, Reach Falls.
We ate lunch in the community of Boston which is where “jerk” was said to be invented.
This place was not a tourist trap. It was the real deal.
Then we went and swam in the famous Jamaica Blue Lagoon.
This was our first experience with a thermocline (a layer within a body of water or air where the temperature changes rapidly with depth). The water felt distinctly different from the top down to where our knees were. It is hard to capture the stunning blue color of the water on camera.
After a week in Port Antonio, we sailed to Oracabessa. It was a beautiful, calm little bay. Great for paddle boarding.
A little later, we found a local who caught dinner. I think this crab could have fed a family for a week, but he was not sharing.
A good sunset is appreciated by everyone – even the dogs.
We paddled around the corner and into the next bay to find James Bond Beach where part of Dr. No was filmed. The beach was just so, so but the water was gorgeous!
After a few days we sailed to Ocho Rios, another small bay still on the north side of Jamaica. We were able to anchor close enough to shore that we could swim in.
Also, in our view was a dolphin enclosure and the cruise ship dock (which you will see in a minute why that is important).
The rainbow found us. Rain is part of the formula for what is needed to keep Jamaica looking so beautifully tropical.
When the rain stopped we ventured into town and found the Red Stripe. We are in Jamaica after all.
Soon it was time to celebrate someone’s 17th birthday!!!
Oh my goodness, how did she get so old?
You are never too old to enjoy opening presents!
What better place to have your birthday lunch?!
We celebrated with a mom and daughter experience. The headache of these tight braids only lasted a few hours.
The dogs waited patiently for our return. Until they didn’t…. On this afternoon, Caper decided he was tired of missing out on the fun and he would just come and find us.
He jumped in the water and started swimming around the bay. He ended up over by the cruise ship where they called the port authority to say they saw a shark! One of the day boats saw him, recognized him as ours (and not a shark), scooped him up and returned him to our boat. They found us as we were leaving shore getting ready to head back to our boat to let us know about Caper’s swim around the bay. That was a scary day for us to think we almost lost Caper. He does not get as much freedom now when we leave the boat.
Addie was excited to celebrate her birthday in Jamaican colors!
She asked to go river tubing for her birthday, so we did. What a fun adventure that was!
It was great fun getting to explore Jamaica, but it was extra special getting to do it with our boat family Kent and Kathy on Wind Ensemble.
Here’s to Jamaica! Looking forward to sailing in your beautiful waters again one day.
Stay tuned as we continue to make our way around the western Caribbean – sailing to Belize next!