Jamaican Vacation

For the first time in thirty years, we took a big vacation. A Jamaican vacation at Sandals Ochi. This is what I asked friends who knew to not comment on what we were doing. Leaving the homestead, even with someone here at the house, was a concern. One blog about Jamaica then back to homesteading in Maine. There are seeds germinating, eggs to hatch, a bakery to launch into full time, a lack of spring, freezing rain and sleet and lots of good things to talk about. Not that a lack of spring, freezing rain and sleet are good things.

We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. I suggested a trip to Alaska. Steve countered with Jamaica in April to get us out of mud season and into sunshine. The older I get the harder winter is on me. A season I once loved is now absolutely dreaded. Six months with snow on the ground is too much. Jamaica was exactly what I needed. We left April 8 and returned very late on the 13th.

We didn’t want to be with the noise or party crowd on Seaside so we stayed Mountain Side, across the street from the beach. We shared a two-suite house with a private pool. Our neighbors were lovely people. We were never in the pool at the same time. After they left we had the pool to ourselves for two days. We drank coffee at sunrise by the pool and cocktails after dinner each night.
I had a bucket list for Jamaica: swim in the Caribbean Sea, catch a mahi mahi or merlin while deep sea fishing, and zipline in the rain forest.

I don’t remember where we were! Maybe deep sea fishing.

Mystic Mountain – Ocho Rios

We planned to leave Sandals for excursions every morning and hang out in our pool in the afternoon but changed our minds. Our excursions off the resort were limited to one – Mystic Mountain, where I fulfilled a long-time wish of ziplining in a tropical rain forest. It was fantastic. We took the Sky Explorer up and down the mountain. Up was a little uncomfortable because of the lack of seat belts but looking out over the Caribbean Sea to the left, mountains to the right, and flowers and birds all around was great.

The bobsleds are a roller coaster ride. I’m an adrenaline junkie. Steve and I were hooked together in our bobsleds, and I sat in front. The person in front controls the brake which controls the speed of the ride. Brake? mmm…no thank you. This is not my video. I didn’t take a camera so videos are embedded from You Tube.

Ziplining in the rain forest was everything I hoped for. There’s a choice between five and 12 lines. We were limited to three hours from drop off to pick up (Sandals provides transportation to their endorsed excursions, included in the cost of the stay) so we opted for five. Gear up, hook up to the line, sit down, wheeee!

We spent one morning deep sea fishing on the Cheryl Ann. My second bucket list item was catching a mahi mahi or marlin in the Caribbean. Check! I caught a mahi mahi! I wanted to see the mahi because I’d read it comes out of the water green and yellow, turns to almost white, then bright blue. It does. It’s a beautiful fish that tastes like haddock, or so I’m told. I wanted to have it cooked for me but it was more work than I wanted to do so I gave it to the guide and captain. Fishing is all fun and games until the police show up, and they did. The came within 100 yards of the boat, stayed two minutes, and then left. “They are looking for someone who broke the law. That is not us.”

Cheryl Ann, Ocho Rios, deep sea fishing
“Here fishy fishy fishy,” our guide called while we hung out in the sun on the Caribbean Sea
jamaican vacation, deep sea fishing
Sitting here, reeling in my mahi, was incredible.
Mahi Mahi, Sandals Ochi, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Cheryl Ann, deep sea fishing
Mahi Mahi caught in the Caribbean Sea

I hopped out of the chair after I caught my fish and continued to scan the surface. I spotted a blue marlin, and then two jumping together. The captain circled wide to get ahead of them. We watched. We stared. We started to lose hope and then BAM! The rod dipped, the line went out, and then the rod straightened. Twice. The hook didn’t set and the fish got away. Still, it was thrilling to see blue marlin jumping and know that we almost had one. We didn’t catch any other fish. This is the slow season. Some day I’m going back in September or October when fishing is best.

Kelly's Dockside, sunset
Kelly’s Dockside at sunset. My phone camera doesn’t do justice to the colors.
jamaican vacation, kelly's
Kelly’s at night
Gecko, Ocho Rios, Sandals, Ochi
Geckos are one of my favorite childhood memories of living in Asia

I am an introvert. Even in this off-season vacation when it was rather slow at the resort, there were a lot of people for me. I needed some time to decompress so we found a pool sit by. The tree frogs sang and a feral kitten crawled up in Steve’s lap for a pet, a bath and a nap. We didn’t swim in any of the big pools.

I might take a real camera with us when we go back. Or maybe not. I liked not having to carry it around and keep track of it while we were on vacation. Yes, we’re going back. We loved it so much we made our reservations before we left.

Now back to homesteading, baking and plans for the future.