Tuesday, April 10: Falmouth, Jamaica

 

After a few days at sea, we could see land. Lots and lots of beautiful, lush land. At breakfast we looked out the windows to see before us gorgeous Jamaica.

Falmouth is a newer port in Jamaica, only a few years old and the port area features a handmade market. Already I knew we were off to a good start. We bypassed all of that, however, as we had scheduled a snorkeling stop and tour of Montego Bay.

Eventually we met up with Richard, our guide, and Delroy, our driver, who took us about 25 – 30 minutes from the port to Doctor’s Cave Beach.  At the beach, we met up with our catamaran and Michael lead us out into Montego Bay and our snorkeling stop.

I must confess, I had a little anxiety about snorkeling again. I’d eventually gotten the rhythm the last time we’d gone, but it was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. This time, however, my mask fit properly and it made all the difference in the world, resulting in fewer stops to “right” the seal.

Anxious to get started, I used the “elevator” method for entering the water, simply leaping off the side of the boat. And even though it took my breath at first, it didn’t take long for me to find my groove. I even slowed my breathing to a pace where I literally felt as if I was floating, floating on air. Cynical and I kicked along side-by-side and below us were schools of beautiful fish. So peaceful. So beautiful. It’s a feeling and a sense I’ll go back to many, many times. It’s a place I’ll escape to in my mind. It was truly that wonderful. At one point, I caught myself breathing too rapidly, and I simply told myself, “Slow down” and it worked. In my entire life, whether running or nervous, been able to control my breathing. But, in this moment, I did, easily.

Eventually we swam back to the boat and began to cruise the bay. It was absolutely gorgeous. The wonderful, incredibly blue water. We eventually made our way to the top deck of the boat and enjoyed the gorgeous view of Montego Bay and the Jamaican coastline. It was then that I really exhaled, really began to breathe it all in and relax. This is a good life, this life of ours, and in those moments, moving through those clear blue waters with my beloved beside me, that I was grateful, thankful for my life, all of it.

We had a little rum punch and before I knew it, we were invited by our hosts to the “party” on the lower level. The ten of us skipped down the steps without a clue what awaited us. Once we’d all taken our seats, our captain and his crew launched into dance and music in what was perhaps the most awkward and entertaining moment I’d had in a long, long time. Thankfully, the three teen boys on our cruise joined in and that seemed to satisfy the dancers, meaning they quit asking us to join them.

The catamaran approached the shore, the dancing was over, but so was the rum punch. There on the shore stood Richard, our tour guide, ready to escort us to lunch at a place called Margaritaville, but oddly not like the Jimmy Buffet, version. We did get a little time on Doctor’s Cave Beach, where we waded into the gorgeous waters and sunk our toes into the beautiful white sand.

Soon, per Richard’s instructions, we met him and found our way to lunch. Much like a “family” (again per  his advice) we were seated on a deck overlooking the bay. A breeze kept us cool, along with, of course a margarita. Cynical, along with the other guys in our group, took advantage of a huge tubular slide that dumped into Montego Bay. Nice luncheon of (you guessed it) jerk chicken.

And then it was time to leave our little paradise. On the ride back, even as Richard spoke, I closed my eyes to solidify the feeling and the memory in my mind.

Back at the pier we took some time to shop at the market. Cynical got fresh coconut milk, a newfound love of his. We haggled a bit with the vendors and took our wares back to the ship. Tired, happy, rejuvenated by the sun and definitely glad we’d chosen to snorkel and tour beautiful Jamaica.

Moving a little slow that night and realizing we’d probably not be ready in time for dinner in the main dining room, we opted for dinner in the buffet area before going to an ice show and visiting the musical venues on the ship. The ice rink, I must explain, was not like the larger ones we’d seen, but still sizeable. However, I was convinced, throughout the entire performance, that they skaters would, as they’d been used to larger venues, crash and burn. They came sooooo close to the walls. That being said, it was a cool (pun intended) feeling to be snorkeling one moment, and watching an ice show the next.

We bounced from watching a string duo to a piano bar to a cabaret performance to a 70s night disco party. And then we collapsed, but only after admiring the towel handiwork of our steward: a dog. I’m not sure why these towel animals make me so very happy, but they do.

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