Along the north coast of Jamaica

This is a post from a few days ago, written when I was traveling between Montego Bay and Port Antonio.  Right now, I am struggling with my external hard-disk, it is really tempting to just use all the computers on board as an anchor.

Saturday morning I left the protection of Montego Bay to make my way east along the coast of Jamaica.  It was a quiet morning, like they all had been over the past week.  I anticipated a long day of motoring, about 6 hours to Discovery Bay (where Columbus `discovered’ Jamaica on his second trip to find a shortcut to the Orient).

Much to my surprise there actually was wind out there, once I had gotten clear of the wind protection of the island, there was about a 15 knot wind.  Of course from the east (where I was going), but nevertheless, no excuse to keep the sails under the covers (I was so convinced to not find any wind that I had not even bother to take the sail covers off).  So, for a good 3 hours I beat into the wind, got hit by a little shower (which changed the wind in a more favorable direction) and after that the wind disappeared and I was left motoring my way in.  Discovery Bay is the site of a bauxite loading terminal, some of the mining is within view of the bay.

There was a coast guard dock on the bay, but they never called me on the radio, nor paid attention to me otherwise.  The first attempt to anchor was unsuccessfull, managed to cross my own anchor lines, but no holding.  Moved a little further north, and had better luck there.  There was a pier from the park on shore, where I dinghied to, but there were no cleats on the pier.  This I went over to the coast guard pier.  The armed guard had to check inside if I was allowed to dock, but then it was all OK.  Went into town (or maybe just the outskirts of town, I don’t know).  For sure this was of the beaten tourists path, Jamaican life for the  Jamaicans.  Few little bars along the highway (where they drive like maniacs, don’t think I will attempt to ride my bike here at night), entered a few and had some Red Stripe.  For a Saturday night, not much appeared to be happening here.  In one bar they were playing some dominoes, they sure play that with a lot of passion.

Sunday morning I took it at a leisurely pace and left around noon.  Next stop was Ocho Rios, less then 20 miles east.  When I stuck the nose outside the bay there was already some good wind, so the sails went up.  The good wind got replaced by a little too much wind (20-25 knots) and it became one of those typical short trips.  Because you are only going for a few hours you become complacent, it doesn’t feel like it’s worth the trouble to reef, but I still should have reefed.  So. I ploughed my way into the waves and wind, but at least on the eastbound tacks I was making some good head way.

Somewhere in the afternoon I was suddenly surrounded by a school of dolphins, they crossed my path from east to west, and there was at least a hundred of them.  They were jumping out the water four at a time, it was quite a sight.  I attempted to take pictures, but with a digital camera that is just a matter of luck (the delay of the camera is at least a second, if you take a picture when the dolphins are in the air, your best bet is to catch a little of the rings they leave on the surface).  Out of about 30 picture attempts I was lucky enough to snap 2 in mid air.  Most of the dolphins just passed by, but same (about 10) decided it was fun to stay around the boat.  I would loose them when I tacked, but than they would be back in another 5 minutes.

Ocho Rios is another nice bay, well protected from the swell, some big hotels around the water, a cruise terminal and a marina.  I anchored in the lee of the hotel, not wanting to send money in the marina.   This morning I have been lazy and just been reading.  There is a waterfall about 2 miles west of here, I could walk there, but realized that it is probably a good run in the dinghy.  So after lunch I am going to take the dinghy along the coast and have a look at these falls.

The weather in Jamaica is quite nice, not too hot, and at night it is only a few degrees colder.  Humidity is high, and just sitting here behind the computer sweat is running down my back.  Today there has been more wind than I have seen the past days, I think I will replace the genoa with the working jib, that will make sailing at the wind, and tacking, a lot easier.

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One Response to Along the north coast of Jamaica

  1. frank says:

    Well, spend the whole day attempting to trouble shoot my external hard disk, but it is foobar. I have now replaced the disk with the internal disk of the broken note book. I think the computer has now officially caused me more grief than anything else so far (and that is quite an achievement, considering that I also deal with an old 2 stroke outboard engine).

    Anyway, for the time being I can not read the svmorninglight.com email (we are behind a proxy here at the marina, and it is quite picky), so please use my yahoo acount instead (fietsx [at] yahoo.com). Uploading of pictures is also not possible at this time.

    Tomorrow I am not going to turn the computer on until after 5, that way I might get something done that day.

    Maybe you can tell that I am frustrated right now……

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