This is part of the ninth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from The Bahamas
3/5/03 Another night at sea under power with the wind picking up early morning allowing us to motor sail. Arrived at Port Antonio, Jamaica at 7 am. This quiet peaceful bay has undergone somewhat of an overhaul with a new marina facility. Being Saturday and requiring Police, Customs, Agriculture and Immigration officials to visit us on the boat it took till 2-30 pm before all the procedures were finalized. The motorcycle unloaded, legally or not, we didn't ask, the marina manager indicating many motorcycles had been landed temporarily without problems. We strolled the small town of 14,000 people before crashing early, thankful to be near land and off the boat for a while.
4/5/03 Jim had looked to hire a motorcycle here yesterday but without success. Prices are considerably higher than in the Dominican Republic so he is still negotiating. We left the bay that Errol Flynn made famous, owning the island offshore where he entertained the well to do in lavish parties. Taking a ride around the eastern side of the island, all the way into Kingston and up over Mountain View Road. A small narrow twisty ride through canopy rainforest. The roads were bumpy with light traffic, a few roadside fruit stalls and jerky chicken or pork. Spicy and barbecued, a local delicacy. We rode through a few Rastafarian towns where almost everyone has long dreadlocks usually bundled up under a turban, looking a bit like an Indian Sikh. We talked to a few locals, usually about the motorcycle where every sentence ended in "yamon" often with a light touching of clenched fists between us, the local handshake. Friendly people at this end of the island, short on tourists, crime heavily policed, but where there were still a lot of "space cadets" relaxing on Sunday drunk or stoned.
5/5/03 Worked on the motorcycle, new rear brake pads and a new engine mount, dirt roads destroyed both pretty much in South America. The new marina here offers swimming pool, hot showers, security and laundry facilities. Even though we are anchored in the bay it's $US 3.00 per person a day to be here.
6/5/03 The captain's friends left the boat to fly home early this morning and wanting to get off the boat for a while ourselves we rode west to Montego Bay. The road making in Jamaica has been poor and we bounced across uneven asphalt at about 50 km/hr. Jamaica and Haiti were the birth places of Caribbean tourism, their positions slipping lately, infrastructure and crime problems. Noel Coward lived on this north coast as did Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, all the books being written here, and even a beach named after the super spy. There are only a few public beaches, most are private with big walls around, spoiling the beachside scenery. A couple of dollars offers seclusion, some watersports, showers and change rooms.
7/5/03 Stayed in town but most tourists are at the all inclusive hotels or at Dr's Cove to the east. The area seems to have lost its former glory, beach erosion and old infrastructure ageing the place. Just a day for riding. Jim had hired a scooter for two days and wanted to get the most from it. Across to the south coast and back inland to Maggotty, orange groves, freshwater crayfish sellers, rough roads and a small old cottage for the night.
8/5/03 Jamaica is a big limestone plate lifted up and eroded. The inland is hill after hill of dense vegetation where the rivers flow underground and the people grow yams in the poor soils. Regularly amongst the dilapidated wooden houses or small concrete dwellings there will be an enormous new house. Usually a Jamaican who has returned home from working abroad, deciding to settle back in their home village. We rode through this hill country slowly working our way back to the north coast at Ocho Rios and its cruise ships. Two different worlds. Back to the boat to find the captain as uncooperative as when we left two days earlier.
9/5/03 We are getting anxious about the end of the trip, hopefully in Cuba. Will they allow us to leave the boat and travel the island independently with the motorcycle or will we have to leave when the Monsoon leaves, the alternative plan to return to the Dominican Republic to separate from the boat not appealing. The captain has been caught before with passengers unable to be landed in some countries and the tension surrounding this unknown is probably the cause of some of the friction between us. Just final preparations, washing, shopping and internet along with lazing around the marina swimming pool, reading guide books, gleaning information on Cuba.
10/5/03 Loaded and wrapped the motorcycle, hopefully for
the last time on the Monsoon and left at lunch time. A varied 18 hour crossing
of squalls to 38 knots and lulls of 13 knots with the wind often abeam and
at other times on the nose. We sailed most of the time, motor sailing occasionally,
rotating 4 hours on and 4 hours off, reflecting on the 3 months association
with the boat, how much we enjoyed visiting the different island countries,
beautiful tropical waters, different peoples. How lucky we were to be on such
a comfortable boat and yet how much better the trip could have been were
it not the home of the captain in which we were living.
Move with us to Cuba
Story and photos copyright ©
Peter and Kay Forwood,