This is the third and final part of three articles that describe my first trip to Jamaica, which was to install a computer system for one of the petroleum companies.
You can find a link to the first part of the story under J Is For Jamaica.
Where we left off last time, the three of us who were working together in Jamaica had spent a weekend touring around Jamaica, taking in Dunn RiverFalls, Montego Bay and Negril, and had headed back to Kingston for a second busy week in the office.
We had enjoyed our previous weekend and were eager to not waste a minute of our second one, so on the Saturday morning we got into the car and headed off around the harbour to explore what was left of Port Royal, the old pirate town from the days of Captain Henry Morgan, and featured in just about every pirate movie.
Port Royal, which you can learn more about in The History Of Port Royal, was probably the most ill reputed place in the Caribbean by far, worse than South Beach in Miami even, but it all came to an end one summer day in 1692 when a strong earthquake and tsunami sent most of the town to the bottom of the ocean.
There are some interesting ruins here, old fortifications and other buildings, and a place that everyone ought to visit at least once, the Giddy House, which used to be the Royal Artillery Store, and which was tilted at a very odd angle by the earthquake. You can read a lot more about Port Royal and see some splendid photographs HERE.
The Giddy House is tilted in all axes, so that walking inside it gives you a really giddy sensation. Normally as we walk up a slope, the walls of the building that we are in are vertical, but in the Giddy House they are at an angle, and the floor tilts both up as well as to the right, confusing the brain and making you feel off balance. It’s a really odd sensation.
We found out that from Port Royal you could get a boat ride over to Lime Cay, which is about as close to a stereo-typical cartoon style desert island as you can get, and it’s only about 15 minutes off Port Royal, so we decided to return the following day.
On our way back to Kingston we stopped at Morgan’s Harbour, a marina and resort that had some jaw dropping yachts tied up, and we spent a couple of hours enjoying drinks, local food and the music of Bob Marley.
Other than my friend Jorge and myself, the third person was from the software house that had written the system we were installing, and since he did not swim, he decided to stay behind in the hotel on the Sunday while Jorge and I packed our snorkeling gear and drove back to Port Royal.
There we obtained the services of a fisherman who took us out to Lime Cay, and promised to come pick us up in a few hours.
Lime Cay is wonderful! It’s a small island off from Port Royal, and the sea was fairly calm as we were motored across to it, in an open boat that was about 15 feet long and was powered by an outboard.
There were quite a few people on Lime Cay when we arrived, and a handful of nice cabin cruisers anchored as well. We found out that Sundays is the most popular day there for the locals, and some people had brought over the typical Jamaican oil drum barbecues and were offering Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas to eat. Others had coolers with beers and soft drinks. Saturdays are less busy, and apparently during the week when it’s really quiet, it’s clothing optional too!
The island is small, surrounded by soft fine white sand, and has a clump of palm trees and other vegetation in the middle that offer some form of shade. With it being 380 meters long and only 80 meters wide, it’s definitely small, but on a hot sunny day it was pretty close to paradise.
Jorge and I snorkeled around the whole island in several goes, saw a Barracuda and plenty of other sea life, including Rays, Snapper, Kingfish etc. I got a nasty sting off some coral, but it was a perfect day.
Finally the boat came to pick us up, and it also picked up a few other people. It was barely better than a rowing boat, with low sides, and as the waves had got up by then, the sides of the boat were a scary 6 inches above the water at times. Spray kept coming over the front of the boat, and since there was no protection, those who were in the front half of the boat just got soaked, period!
We got back to the hotel tired and burnt, but having had a fantastic day.
We had a night flight back to London the following Saturday, but decided that we ought to not waste the day, and the two of us drove out to Lime Cay again, this time for an adventure.
With it being Saturday the island was almost deserted, and there was no food or drink to be had either. The boy who took us over there looked barely 13, but we got there, and had some good snorkeling, even though the sea was not quite as smooth as the previous Sunday.
By the time the boat arrived to pick us up about mid afternoon, we were wary that the clock was ticking and that we needed to get back to the hotel, to pack our bags, and be ready to head to the airport for our flight home.
We got under way, and had only made it about halfway back to Port Royal when the engine stopped. That left us bobbing about in the ocean, and although the boy claimed that he had enough fuel, when Jorge shook the tank it was obvious that it was empty. So GREAT, stuck in a small boat in the middle of the ocean, bobbing up and down and out of fuel.
Time after time the boy tried to start the engine without fail, but without fuel we knew it wasn’t going to work. Several other boats went past, but a good way off, and despite our waving to try and get their attention, it was a good half hour or more before we finally did get someone to come over, explained the problem, and got a tow back to Port Royal.
Off back to the hotel, to pack our bags, check out, and off to the airport.
This was my first trip to the Caribbean, and the first of 4 in total to Jamaica for work, but a wonderful experience that served only to heighten the travel bug in me.
Stay tuned for more travel stories…