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Divin' and chillin'

Written on: Thursday January 25th, 2007

A journal entry from: Jamaican getaway, JAN07

After dealing with the MN winter for way too long already, we decided to hunt for something tropical, and fortunately, found cheap tix to Jamaica.

Although Liz had stopped in Ocho Rios once before on a cruise, she had yet to experience Negril.  And I was only too happy to show her around what is quite possibly my favorite getaway destination.  We arrived to a perfectly comfortable day, and after some smooth talking to the immigration official (he didn't want to let us into the country without a predetermined place to stay; I had to name drop Alfred), we went through, grabbed our bag and met up with our driver from Clives, a transfer company that I highly recommend for a reasonably priced ride to Negril from Mo'bay.

We arrived and checked out a few places, eventually settling on Freedom Villas.  John and Anita were wonderful hosts, even if we didn't get to spend as much time with them as we had hoped.  Our first day was spent exploring the strip along the beach and eventually heading over to Rick's for a red stripe, some cliff jumping and relaxation.  Wow...has this place changed!  They've added on to their bar area and the tourists have flocked.  It actually made me sad to see the increase in popularity, although it was inevitable due to all the excellent reviews that exist online.  Although my heart was disappointed not to have the place virtually to ourselves like so many other times, many of my past memories were quickly visualized like the days of "old": the (now modified) diving tree where Scooby lept into the drink from ~100'...the hesitation of a new jumper leaping off the platform...and the overall happiness of everybody in attendance.

After getting our fill of Rick's we headed back to the room to change and find some dinner.  We had our first meal at an all time favorite: Kuyaba, and were even rewarded with the lookout table...a dining experience elevated above the restaurant and beach.  What a magnificent dinner and experience!

The next morning we rented a scooter and went inland to hunt down the Orange Hill Stash cache.  Johnny was very outgoing and we enjoying the trip there and back.  The afternoon was spent chillin, completely by ourselves, at the Negril Scuba Center at Mariner's.  We played and relaxed both on the huge patio and in the water, completely enjoying the gorgeous afternoon before heading back to the beach to meet up with some friends. 

We ended the night chillin' at Pirate's Cave back on the cilffs, hanging out with the owner and some new found friends.  Liz finally developed the gumption to do her fist cliff jump!  It went wonderfully and we swam into the cave to ascend the rickety ladder and jump a few more times.

The following day we headed off for some adequate diving.  We went up toward Booby Cay and did a two tanker with Sun Divers that made for a pleasant morning.  The diving off Negril is not the best I've experienced: the reefs are over-fished by the locals and the coral is marginal; nonetheless, we had a good time, expecially dropping into the crevace of the Throne Room.  Here we saw an electric ray, green sea turtle, sting ray and a lobster.  The second dive, at the Arches, provided more fish to view as well as one huge, pissed off green moray eel caught in a fisherman's trap.

After a couple hours hanging at the locals' beach, we meandered over to Alfred's for some vball: yesterday Dameon said that they only had three adequate players around these days, but with me being the fourth, we could get in a few games.  Boy was I out of shape!  Alex proved to be the stud of the afternoon, but all in all it was good to play again!

Another perfect sunset was viewed on the white sands of Negril, and I was now regretting that we only came for three nights.

The final day we woke early and headed to Alfred's for a tasty breakfast and a couple final hours in the sun.  Oh what a shame to have to be leaving today, but rest assured: we will be back!