Ya Mon! Jamaica

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ( Helen Keller)

I first became acquainted with Jamaica in watching early James Bond movies as British agent 007 prowled bravely for the latest “bad guy” there amidst hidden coves of clear aqua coastline, mystical backdrops of blue shaded mountains, and colorfully dense expanses of tropical greenery. This imagined reality of Jamaica as a secretive natural paradise would thus provide the main impetus for repeated tourist returns for my wife and me to this island.

I also vividly recall some memorable moments we have faced during past visits to Jamaica decades ago. For we have fearlessly ascended by foot the slippery slopes of Dunn’s River Falls, gotten lost on local buses in dense jungles to seemingly nowhere, indulged in unfamiliar sensory tastes of breadfruit, mango and ackee, and intently listened to impassioned “Rastafarian” calls of protest fever. Ya mon, Jamaica has always satisfied our travel urge for daring, exotic adventure.

Landing near the historic setting of *Falmouth Bay on a quiet Sunday morning on the first stopover of our early December cruise, our time to explore on shore would be limited. Booking a one hour, rafting excursion along the Martha Brae River inland into a dense tropical wonderland , we would once more satisfy our continuing quest to actively explore Jamaica’s treasures. By settling into a more relaxing pace for this latest adventure, we soon realized that this jungle slowdown had also added a romantic twist to our upcoming wedding anniversary celebration. Settle into your easy chair then and experience this “chill-heavy” version of our latest visit to Jamaica in the following photographic display. Happy New Year. USFMAN

From our cruise balcony, a first glimpse of Falmouth Bay revealed the striking color arrangement of the Jamaican flag.

A more detailed glance at Falmouth town and the mountainous region beyond revealed the rugged environs we would encounter today via our river rafting tour.

We stopped at this welcome sign to admire the friendliness of two Jamaican locals playing a “laid-back” island tune.

On most afternoons, dense cloud cover “build” up in high humidity over the famed Blue Mountains producing heavy rainfall along the tropical shore. Luckily, today was cooler and drier than normal.

Traveling along the western shore by bus, I noted a striking contrast between luxury tourist facilities lining the beachfront vs. distasteful living squalor to the inland side.

A “tacky looking” souvenir village once served as the set of a famous James Bond movie.

This historic church remains as a religious hub/cemetery serving the Falmouth community.

Our rafting adventure began at this jungle like entrance with dense vines and colorful flowers straddling over the free flowing Martha Brae River.

Getting on our awaiting log raft in bare feet presented a slippery challenge.

As we sat in the rear of our raft, our friendly local guide O’Neill steered the boat expertly through the awaiting currents and narrowing jungle passages.

As our bus headed back to the port for our mid afternoon departure, I meditated silently about the the pristine natural beauty of the Jamaican shoreline.

*Falmouth has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations and has been honored as a Jamaican National Monument. Functioning in the past as a major trade center of sugar, slave, rum, and logs, Falmouth was once considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the western world.

 

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