Left Conception Island for Long Island, staging for Jamaica from Clarence Town. The harbor was incredibly choppy -- didn't remember it being so uncomfortable. We took refuge on land at the Rowdy Boys till the time was right to leave. Out the harbor into even a bigger chop -- a bad hour as we got the boat settled and the winds died a bit -- then a comfortable sail overnight to Great Inagua. Anchored in beautifully calm crystal clear water, we rested up for a couple of days.
With the right weather we took off through the Windward Passage to Port Antonio. The last 12 hours (through the night of course) was a screamer of a sail -- with only one sail up we still couldn't slow the boat down. We had a massive soaking as a huge wave found its way over and through the dodger. We hung on as Anhinga got us to the inlet. Inside, we found the marina, but no one was there yet, so we anchored to wait. A couple of hours later, the marine police came by and told us we could go alongside to wait to clear into the country. So, we picked up the anchor and found out we couldn't move the boat. The police pushed us onto the dock and we found a fishpot line around our prop. John dove on it, removed the line, and we were ok. But, we did attract lots of attention from everyone in the marina. (Sometimes you watch the show, sometimes you are the show... we were front and center that morning.)
Once settled in, we took care of immediate needs -- 2 months worth of laundry, an empty fridge, a hankering for jerk chicken. The marina provided the laundry facilities and a terrific restaurant overlooking the harbor. In town we found fresh vegetables at the market. We found CCs bakery and discovered the world of holey bullahs -- a new favorite food. And of course John became a devotee of Red Stripe beer.
We walked all the streets of Port Antonio, a small town with nice views from the hilltops. Hiking up to Bonnie View, a closed hotel, we looked out to both bays. This port was a great initial stop, but the town, like many we visited in Jamaica, seemed sad and dilapidated. And there isn't any nice way to say it, but it was incredibly dirty. The amount of trash strewn everywhere, both organic and plastic, made Anhinga's need to pass a sanitation inspection somewhat ironic.
We walked around the east bay to the Folly House, now in ruins and home to a family of goats. On that side of town we also found Folly Oval, where we watched the last cricket match of the season.
What was special about Jamaica was the beauty of the mountains and the vegetation. Where the rain fell, it was lush and green -- welcoming after the months in the Bahamas where the landscapes are low, dry, and rocky. We soon learned that there was a drought; farms were dry, rivers low, waterfalls barely trickling. We decided to rent a car and go up into the Blue Mountains to see more. After a couple of hours of difficult roads, we stopped at the Holywell Park (about 4500 ft up) and took a walk on their trail. From there we had some magnificent views, cool air, pretty trees and flowers, and saw lots of hummingbirds in the fuschias.
We took a break from Jamaica, flying out of Kingston to Miami, and on to Delray to visit Renee and Irv. While there, we saw a family of Egyptian Geese (which are actually ducks) first waddling across the road from the clubhouse, then taking up residence in the lake next to the tennis courts.
Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas: 23d06.154'N 74d57.104'W
Man of War Bay, Great Inagua, Bahamas: 21d05.235'N 73d51.897'W
Port Antonio, Jamaica: 18d10.988'N 76d27.411'W