November 23, 2010

Jamaica Mon!

Hello again after surviving Jamaica!!
We arrived in Port Antonio on the south east end of Jamaica around 2:00 am on the 16th. We had thunderstorms and rain after catching the fish south of Cuba. We pulled into the designated anchorage which is apparently fed by several rivers. The water turned from clear blue to a muddy brown with trash and bottles floating by, Yuck!!
We woke to the sounds of crowing roosters and the sounds of a small town waking up. Car horns honking and the noises of trucks and buses.
A boatboy named Pressley showed us the way to Errol Flynn Marina. This is a nice little marina with lots of history from the old movie days. Nice docks at reasonable prices.
The Marina lets several "boatboys" work on the docks. Little did I know I should have printed contracts with prices to have any work done! the $50 boat wash turned into a $80 boat wash! And the guy was still acting unhappy?
Daria is Coo Coo for coconuts so we asked a local to go pick some for us. We negotiated a price of $1 a piece. When he arrived with the goods, the price went to $2 another strange deal!! We were not buying!
Leaving the security of the marina, you find yourself in the heart of the small town. There are at least a 100 vendors selling fresh produce, souvenirs, tee shirts, and whatever other tourist junk you could think of. the vendors are hungry!! The cruise ships don't stop by much any more? Go figure! Sad, but hey you are what you eat right?
After two days of putting up with vendors dragging you into their shops, I needed to get out of there!! We fueled up the boat settled our tab and headed up the coast to Ocho Rios, which must mean 8 rivers because there were allot of small rivers. We anchored in front of the Sandals resort. that night they were having their beach party. Just about the time everyone made it through the buffet line and the band got playing there came along a big ol Thunderstorm!! I think there was dessert served inside!!
From what we saw, most of the resorts are all but empty. We heard they were selling all inclusive rooms for $99 a night, ones that usually go for $250.
The next day we set out to see Dunn River Falls. We were bombarded by several people right off the dock with prices all over the place. We decided to walk into town to see what the deal was. A guy named David approached us with the "story" we could walk there. He led us down the road and up this hill acting like a real guide. Well, He told us he had to get to work and wanted to get paid for his time, he got $20 out of one of us and $10 out of the other! And come to find out 10 minutes later we were not even on the right road!! We had been Had!!!!!!
After a 10 minute $30 cab ride we were at the right place. A "Real" tourist trap!! $4 beers at the gate going in along with $15 admission. ($5 beer on the way out!) For this you get the privilige of hiking up a man made waterfall! The vendors on the way out were so rude you just wanted to get out of there! Imagine 50 huts selling the same thing! All wanting you to buy their junk. They all have a sad story and guilting you into buying from them. Again, not buying it.
As for the rest of town around Ocho Rios, There is not much to say. It is a cruise ship town. When the ships leave the streets roll up. The only life is in the resorts, which are all inclusive for a reason. You do not want to go out at night! The people have grown accustom to the tourism and the money that it brings in. But now the tourists are not coming.
On the 20th we picked up anchor and headed to Montego Bay, sounds romantic? Well....same story, empty hotels and jobless people. Olaf and Kristi jumped ship to continue their adventure in another direction. We done some grocery shoping, wich is in jamaican dollars (840 to 1) The ticket rang up $44,812!!! Having enough of Jamaica we cleared out and weighed anchor at 8:00 setting sail for the Cayman Islands! Adios Jamaica!!!!