Days 276-298; March 27-April 17
Total Miles Traveled: 2617
On March 27th we flew from Fort Lauderdale FL to Montego Bay Jamaica, early on a peaceful, Easter Sunday morning headed to meet Pat, Heather, Lexi, Ashleigh and Nate. We had arranged ahead for an Uber ride from the Miami City Hall so nothing could go wrong. Wrong! We came upon five different but simultaneous accidents all within a two-mile stretch of a six-lane section of I95. Next we walked into the Spirit Airline terminal greeted by a massive wall of people and the line flowing outside and down the building as far as we could see – everyone on a spring-break getaway. We looked at one another with the same thought – we will never get through this in time as we had no printed boarding passes nor seat assignments and needed to check a bag. We buddied up with a young couple from North Carolina and took on our self-assigned duties with the end result that we all got to the gate and were aboard when the plane departed two hours late. The good news was that Spirit really did manage the crowd and as we walked into customs in Jamaica, Nate came bounding up as our own personal greeter for what promised to be a fabulous week.
Pat and Heather had warned us that this would truly be a vacation – going nowhere and doing nothing while lounging in their beautiful resort on the north shore of Jamaica. Of course, our definitions of doing nothing are different but indeed we mostly sat at the beach or pool, talked, ate, talked, ate, slept, and then started all over again. A few highlights included playing monster trucks in the sand with Nate; excellent snorkeling with Ashleigh – we saw two Angel Fish; getting a foot henna designed and applied by Lexi; kayak rides; Lex and Ash parasailing higher than any we had ever seen before.
The true highlight for me was climbing the Dunn River Falls in Ochos Rios. You have probably seen a picture or climbed them yourself if you have ever been to Jamaica. I had imagined viewing some pretty falls, perhaps standing in a refreshing pool at the bottom. Reality was that Heather had arranged for an amazing woman who guided our climb (barefoot with Nate on her shoulders) from the bottom to the top, about a 45 minute rock climb into rushing fresh cool water surrounded by lush tropical greenery. Cell phone cameras were safely stored away so no real pictures but my visual snapshots will last forever! Not only an accomplishment for me but something on my bucket list since 1987.
At night Jim and I retreated to our bedroom at the Celebrity Villa just up the hill from the resort where we were well cared for by Jason and his grandmother Ruby. I highly recommend this spot if you truly want a peaceful couple get-away mixed with local flavor!
We returned to Coconut Grove and picked up Sammy at the Dog House Hotel to complete our month at the Dinner Key Marina. Captain Jim did more maintenance to the Namaste (kill switch adjusted, engine painted, new fan in the galley and another bottom cleaning for both the boat and the dinghy – stuff really grows here), got our taxes out, and managed some Miami area sight seeing.
We spent a long day at Viscaya, a beautiful home and gardens on Biscayne Bay built in the early 20th century. Architecture, life and culture of the time in Miami were the guide’s expertise. As we were riding the free trolley that day we saw peacocks meandering in the front lawns of some of the beautiful homes along the Bay. I asked the driver, “what’s with the Peacocks?” He replied, “don’t know but I’m not supposed to hit ‘em!”
Another day we went to South Beach (SOBE) using public transportation – bus, metro-rail, and bus again. It was a trip down memory lane visiting places we enjoyed in our visits to see Pat when he lived there as a young professional in 1995-6. Shopping, lunch at the Delano, walking the beach, and people watching filled the day.
Pat’s last bachelor pad!
Yet another time we went with four friends (Bob and Carol on “Time Enough” and Deb and Drew on “Shawnee”) to Wynwood, a neighborhood of mid-town Miami. This area is an old warehouse district turned high-end arts, design, boutique and restaurant phenomenon. Most memorable were the colorful murals painted on the exterior walls of the buildings and the Ferrari/Porsche and Guitar museum. It was a hot day so we covered only a small percentage of what was available but a must see along with lunch at the Wynwood Diner if ever you are in Miami!
Wynwood Diner and a taste of the art.
Bob and Carol with Deb and Drew on the Metrorail to Wynwood
(This one is for you, Pat!)
The last two weekends the local yacht clubs have hosted the Star Sailboat World Cup races out in the Bay. We have been intrigued watching them come and go, often inches apart – representing many countries, some previous World Cup or Olympic champions. The Star class is a classic 21 foot sailboat without a motor that our late friend Dick Grasley owned way back in the 60’s. Beautiful and fun!!
Heading out for the Star World Cup Races
Note from Sammy: My stay at the Dog House was OK, especially when our friends Carol and Bob, a veterinarian, (minus their kitty, Merrigold) visited. However, I am certain I would have liked Jamaica better and mostly missed sleeping on a real bed and seeing Heather and the family. I have made some good friends, Hobie and Matsu. Sometimes we run together and chase Frisbees but it is often too hot to run very long or far. I think I am in for a bath tomorrow as Jo Ann keeps calling me a rag-a-muffin. Oh yes, did I tell you that I have permanently secured my sleeping spot in the middle of the v-berth? Sounds like we may be returning to Michigan soon and while I’m not looking forward to the long car trip, I will be happy to walk around Dunham Lake with Judy and see my old friends, Gio, Mello, and Peek-a-Boo.
Thanks for the visit Bob
Thanks for the dance Hobie
Quote of the Day: Grandpa was talking about Boat Angels using the term Boat Fairies instead (see previous post).
Nate: “I went on a ferry boat once,”
Grandpa (smiling gently): “Oh Nate, you are so concrete.”
Nate: No Grandpa, I am NOT concrete!
We all tried to suppress our laughter as he would never have gotten it!
Boat Name of the Day: “Out of Africa” on the boat docked next to us whose delightful captain and wife immigrated from South Africa several years ago
Bad Boat Name of the Day: “Go Away”
Happy belated birthday to: Lisa Tulin-Silver, Jen DeKorte