Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day Four: Jamaica

Oops, I just read over yesterday's post and remembered that I forgot to include our bike ride. How could I forget that? Amazingly, I actually rode a bike uphill and down. I would like to say that I didn't have to get off and walk it a bit ... but sadly, I can't. Frank did though and he and our guide, were both nice enough to slow down while I walked up one of the hills. The ride took about 45 minutes and really worked up a sweat, but the view down to the ocean was well worth it. We rode through Cardiff Hall, the wealthy side of the golf course, which was lined with million dollar residences to match their million dollar views. Several were manned by security gates and some even had guards. Here are the pics from the ride ~

Tuesday: The Shore Dive

Finally, it looked as though we would get to dive on Tuesday. There were several divers waiting and waiting at the dive shop and somehow they convinced the staff to at least try a shore dive. Jubilant shouts were heard everywhere! I decided a shore dive in that strong current was probably not going to be much fun for me and that I would just slow them down, so I settled for helping everyone suit up. When they were all ready it was a mad push through the current to get out to the reef. I watched , so happy that Frank was finally getting to do what he came for. I was also VERY HAPPY to be watching from the shore as it seemed very difficult for them to get out there. When they finally made it and I saw them descend, I thought to myself, FINALLY! What I didn't know was that they were all miserable. Within about 10 minutes they were all surfacing with really sad (and tired) looks on their faces. When Frank finally gets back to the shore his first words were, "That was the hardest thing I've ever done. I thought I was going to have a heart attack." Good thing I didn't go! Undoubtedly, the water was really rough and the silt was very thick so the dive pretty much sucked. Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better.

Four-Wheelin It!

No more diving today so what can we do? Let's take Chukka Cove up on their "Buy One Get One Free" offer and go four-wheelin! The driver picked us up at 12:30 and we headed down to Chukka Cove. When we got there, I was searching high and low for Gene Lilly, the driver we have had on each of our previous three tours. I didn't see him or the zebra striped jeep anywhere, but guess who I did see? Tracy Wiggins! Isn't that wild? I had just said to myself the night before, "At least in Jamaica, you never have to worry about running into anyone you know from home!" Not that it would be a bad thing, it's just that everyone is always kidding me about how they can't go anywhere with me without seeing someone I know. Guess I was wrong about Jamaica. As we stood there, listening to our guide, I noticed someone looking at me and when I got a chance to look at her, she said, "Paula?" And I said, "Tracy?" Wow! It was so wild. She was there on her honeymoon with Jonathan, whom she had wed the Saturday before in Charleston, where her daughter, Hope, now lives.

Tracy and I haven't seen each other in years, but I had almost the same experience with her daughter, Hope, at this time last year, when I was taking the pictures at Nate and Nicole's wedding. Amazingly, Hope recognized me first and said, "I think I know you, you used to babysit me." Yep! Weird! Anyway, Tracy and I were among five others who were riding these four-wheelers for the first time. We hopped up on them and took a few trips around the pasture before heading up on our 4 mile trek up the side of the beautiful mountainside. It's hard to describe just how much fun this was - I mean getting dirty playing in mud puddles was always fun when I was little, but it has been a while! I laughed the whole time as I sped through puddle after puddle. I got so much mud on my shoes and socks that I ended up leaving them in Jamaica because they were just too dirty to put back in a suitcase.

At the top of the mountain, the view was incredible!

The ride back down went pretty well, too. Here we are getting back on the ATV's:

Of course, I thought going downhill my be more fun, but it actually is harder because you have to ride the brakes so much. Everything was going great.

We traveled the four miles back down the mountain all the way to the sea. When we got to the place where we were supposed to get to "cliff dive," Frank told me he had been in close contact with a fence back on one of the big curves. Ouch, he was holding the video camera, which was okay; the video camera battery, which was NOT okay; and his side, which was bruised very badly. I was so worried, and he was just glad I hadn't seen the "wreck." I think I was glad, too. I probably would have wrecked, too, trying to get back to him. He said he was going to be fine and so we walked on down to the private cove where we hoped to get in a couple of dips in the beautiful water. To our surprise (though i am not sure why it surprised us) the water was too choppy for us to get in, so our beautiful dip in the blue water was cancelled. So instead of getting all that mud off in a really cool way, we ended up waiting in line to use the water hose back at the ranch. Oh well, at least I had my swimsuit on underneath my overalls and Frank let me wear the flip flops that were in his backpack. I was pretty sure my white shirt would never be the same!

Above are photos of Tracy & Jonathan; a little tiny hermit crab; Wayne, our driver for the day; and Oral, our Chukka Cove ATV Guide. And here are two of my favorite photos from the day:

On the way home, we talked Wayne into stopping at the supermarket just before the resort. There we were able to buy some candy, coffee, and rum at the Jamaican prices instead of at the high prices at the resort. We got back to the resort, washed the rest of the mud off in our wonderful 6 head shower and then went to dinner at the Starlight Grill with new friends, Dolores, Mike & George. We had a wonderful dinner of stir fried steak, crab, and chicken topped off with pineapple carmelized and wrapped in brown sugar glazed pastry. YUMMY! We also sat there laughing at all the stories Mike and Dolores told us! Those two are a hoot! You'll have to have Frank tell you some of the stories some time. Mike had us in stitches all evening!

And then of course, another day was done and another night we went to bed with fingers crossed.

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