Our next stop in Jamaica was on a beach where we awaited our boat to go snorkeling. It was certainly a beautiful area, and this is Paul sitting with our wonderful driver, Ainsworth. We booked him and all our excursions each day–snorkeling, touring the Blue Hole, etc.–on our own, not through the cruise packages. It was much cheaper this way and provided more variety. It really isn’t terribly expensive to hire a driver or boat for the day or half a day if you prefer.
Our boat arrived and off we went for another fun snorkeling adventure!
Then Ainsworth took us to a special place for the best Jamaican lunch ever–jerk chicken, pak festival (similar to a hush puppy), fried plantains. Delicious!
We also had an opportunity to sample various flavors of Jamaican rum.
This was my favorite. They call it “BTB” — “Better Than Bailey’s.”
We also wandered about town a little and saw the colors of Jamaica.
On Grand Cayman we went on a snorkeling adventure, and saw some of the beautiful homes on our way out of the harbor.
The first stop was in a shallow area that stingrays frequent. We actually got out and swam with them, touched them, fed them and took lots of photos.
But I didn’t last long in the water because I was so frightened by their huge bodies and tails. It was really scary to be that close. But soon we headed to another spot where we snorkeled a bit deeper and saw a lot of other fish.
And, believe it or not, we came home with this beautiful conch shell!
The other special event on that Sunday in Haiti was a snorkeling excursion. This was the first time we traveled in the back of the trucks, and it was fun.
We transferred over to the boat with all our gear and the journey began!
Here is a video from our journey:
They took us to a sandy shoal where they could anchor the boat and the children and families could get out and play. For those who were good swimmers, we could go out into the coral reef and see the wonders of nature. It was absolutely stunning!
The thought that occurred to me was that this was an adventure between God and me. I was seeing things that no one else was seeing. I couldn’t film it and if I tried to show it to someone else it would be gone before we got there. It was a private time with God, enjoying His unbelievably beautiful creation. The most impressive fish that I saw were small, chubby black fish with bright fluorescent blue spots all over. They were impressive!
Although I prefer a real reef, I didn’t mind seeing the beautiful tropical fish at Discovery Cove. We thought the snorkels were pretty funny though, so we couldn’t resist taking these goofy pics.
It was fun, too, swimming with the stingrays, once I got over my Steve Irwinian fear. Sarah explained to me that the encounter that killed “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin was especially sad because these creatures are not aggressive or out to stab you at all; it just accidentally pierced him in his chest. There is some controversy about his death, though, and it’s interesting to read about it at this site. Here are some pics of our encounters with the stingrays, which we were able to touch as they glided by.
And now, back to the goofy pics for your entertainment.
One of the things Sarah and I did while in Florida was swim with the dolphins. We have some great photos of each of us with the dolphins but since they are copyrighted, we can’t share them here. But we do have some of our own taken at Discovery Cove.
Sometime after this photo was taken I decided to trade my swimming vest in for a wetsuit, just so I could see what it would be like to wear. I also told Sarah I wanted to look like a professional diver — after all, everyone else wearing them looked cool. What do you think — do I look like Jacques Cousteau?
Discovery Cove is fun — they have an artificial reef (not nearly as pretty as real ones, but the fish are beautiful), a river to swim in that has a realistic current to pull you along, a bird sanctuary, and the dolphin swim area. All the supplies are included with the cost, which is steep but all-inclusive: snorkeling gear masks, vests, wetsuits, snacks, breakfast, lunch, towels, sun screen, lotion, shampoo, unlimited snacks, specialty drinks (including alcoholic), birdseed and food, lockers, rafts and water toys, etc. We really enjoyed our day there. It was an experience we’ll never forget.