So, Morgan and I (well mostly me since I am chronically infected by the travel bug) made a New Year's resolution to make it out of the country this year. We originally had planned to head to Rome. We wanted to go over their mainly to see the new Rome temple which was scheduled to be finished by fall of 2016. Well, this spring we got word that the construction had been delayed and the completion of the temple had been pushed back to at least Mid 2017. And now we had no trip planned... GUH! So, determined to meet all my 2016 resolutions, we found another way to get out of the country and not require a ton of planning. -A carnival cruise - Now the funny thing is, I have always been so afraid to go on a cruise. I have been a swimmer my whole life, from mom and tots classes to state team in high school so its not that I am afraid of the water or that I can't swim.. it's the fact that if something happens in the middle of the ocean then it doesn't matter how long or far I can swim if I have no idea WHERE to swim! let alone... sharks. But, I decided to be a big girl and get over it.
There were a few factors that influenced our decision as far as our destination. I wanted to see the Mayan Ruins, go somewhere that we have never been before and be gone for a week.
There are a few cruises that make stops near Ruins that you can see when you leave from California, but those stops were in Catalina (already been there) or other stops in Mexico that we were told weren't the most beautiful so we decided we would spend our week exploring the Western Caribbean. We flew into Miami and got on our ship Sunday Morning and headed off to Jamaica.
Jamaica - Wow!
When we left Miami, we had just missed hurricane Matthew. so it was a little stormy and actually started raining pretty hard before we left port. The week before we flew out I had been watching the weather app on my phone in each of the stops and it was not looking good. So you could say I was a little more than worried our nice warm week long vacation was about to be a week of rain and hot chocolate. (which I mean wouldn't be bad, it just wasn't what we were in the mood for.)
When we got to Jamaica, I was looking out the window in our room and I couldn't see storm clouds and in fact, it was pretty sunny! So with a big sigh of relief, we got our bags together and headed onto the island! The one thing that Jamaica is pretty famous for is the Dunn's River Falls. At first, Morgan and I weren't planning on doing anything other than just hanging out by the beach but then decided we would rather go out and explore what Jamaica had to offer other than shopping. (we will get back to that) Looking back, I am so very glad that we chose to explore!
Dunn's River Falls
After a short 15 min bus ride with who seemed to be Bob Marley himself, driving on the opposite side of the road, weaving all around the road to avoid the ample pot holes, we arrived at Dunn's River Falls. We weren't 100% sure what to expect all we had seem were pictures and just like mine, they don't do the place justice. The water was warm, the air was the perfect amount of humid and the trees.. so GREEN!
The Buses ran very much like shuttles going up and down ever 10 minutes and offered a stop along the way at Dolphin Cove. I have always wanted to swim with Dolphins, I got the chance to do it on our honeymoon but chickened out and again, could have but... opted out. Instead we walked around and stared at the giant sharks swimming below the bridge we were standing on...
After we past the Sharks there was a little spot blocked off but connected to the Ocean where we could swim! Remember this is the first exposure I have ever gotten to this crystal clear water and while i have always dreamed about being able to see it in person what I didn't realize was that I would be able to see all the ... creatures... so as you can imagine, I enthusiastically ran into the water and just as enthusiastically, freaked out and jumped on the rocks and coached myself through a mild panic attack.
So there I was in the water I had so longed for, in the weather I had prayed for and the only person I wanted to be with freaking out... swell. So this is what I did, I talked myself into finding comfort in the water shoes we used at Dunn's River so we didn't slip on rocks and decided the only thing that really needed protection was my toes. Ya know, because those could look like rocks and be confused as a feeding ground or home. While up on the rock I found a shell that ended up being full of something RANK! Phew! so I quickly threw that back into the water and got the courage to play with my camera and its new under water casing fresh from Amazon.com
So after swimming around we walked around their nature walk and saw these beautiful birds and then hopped on the bus to check out the shopping people were talking about. Morgan was so overwhelmed with how pushy people were. I would have been too if it weren't for my 4 month stay in China a few years ago. It was jammed packed with ... junk. We are not huge souvenir shoppers unless its practical and something we will actually use when we got home. We do however have a tradition to get a picture frame from our destination to put up when we got home but didn't find anything there. we got offered weed at every corner and was laughed at when we turned it down. Not sure if it was because it was our first stop and wasn't completely used to the whole show so we were anxious but this stop seemed to be the most rushed of them all in the sense of not being able to relax. We found a bar that had free Wifi so we were able to send a few iMessages out and I could check on my Leo Love Bug and right after I got my bag full of Jamaican sand and we were ready to head back to the ship, the clouds started to roll in and sprinkle some rain. Perfect timing. We sailed right out of the storm and spent the rest of the day/night at Sea under the sun and stars.