Negril is Irie – Trip Report Pt 1


April 13-25 we are Negril bound.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

We flew out of our home town in MO to St. Louis, MO., stayed the night and began our full day of flights and connections to MoBay. Our flight left at 7:00am, so we got up at 3am to get to the airport early – we beat everyone there, including the ticket agents and the security scan people. We waited for things to open – and pretty much everything went without a glitch, except for the pickles. A friend that lives in Jamaica had mentioned that she wanted some garlic dill pickles, so I had lovingly wrapped them in bubble wrap and had them in my carry on. The pickles got me searched at the St. Louis airport and they made me unwrap them to make sure they were really pickles…we laughed and wondered if this was the beginning of “the pickle predicament”, but no other airports were pestered by my packed pickles. We sat on the tar mac in St. Louis for 1 hour waiting for take off…not sure why, then we flew into Miami. Our flight into Miami was delayed immediately after boarding, when they found we only had one engine working, so we sat on the plane for 1 hour waiting for a mechanic to see if the problem could be solved. Rather than getting grouchy, I reminded my hubby that although we were stranded temporarily in the airplane, we were enjoying many amenities that some people in Negril live everyday without – like TV, air conditioning, free drinks and a pocket full of traveler’s checks. The plane was fixed and we were finally on our way. We arrived into Mo Bay about 12:30pm. Sala had waited patiently for our late flight arrival and we were very happy to see him!

The Drive to Negril

It was very warm and sunny, although it was much welcomed by us. Sala had great conversation and we took the country road through Sav and stopped along the way here and there to grab a Red Stripe for the road. We hadn’t eaten all day (since the airlines don’t serve food anymore). Coupled with the free drinks on the airplane and the Red Stripe, along with the heat, it wasn’t long before I was feeling the irie, almost over-indulged vibes of Jamaica. My hubby Paul and Sala both took care to see that I made out, ok. (We laughed about how wasted I was the rest of the trip.)

Kuyaba Hotel

Kuyaba is located on 7 Mile beach toward the west end of the strip. We arrived around 3:30 pm. The property was beautifully landscaped, with lots of neat concrete winding sidewalks with brick pavers along the edges. We were put in room #3, which is considered a rustic cottage. The bedroom was a very natural wood, with tall vaulted wood ceilings and curtains that flowed with the breeze. The room contained a closet and a dresser/mirror combination. It reminded me of a room a writer might use. The room did have air conditioning to use (even though the windows were screened with wood louvers that you could close) but the multi-speed ceiling fan was more than enough most of the time. The bathroom was basic; a tub shower combination, a sink and a toilet. The floor was unique, as it was 12″ wide planks that were spaced just far enough apart that pieces of daylight could peak through to the ground below. Outside our room, there was a wooden table and two wooden chairs (very comfy) and a large cage with a McCaw parrot named Charlie. Charlie was quite the show off and would swing from one foot and when we said “hello” he would wave with his wing. Across the walkway from Charlie, there was another large cage where “Buddy” lived – he’s a white Cockatoo-not as fun as Charlie, but friendly and beautiful to look at. We followed the beautiful winding concrete walkway – across the arched bridge, past the small water pool with a fountain, through the dining area to the stunning beach!

We descend the steps and wiggled our toes in the sand and realize that it was worth getting up at 3am earlier this day to get here. I took video and photos of the beach, the birds, the restaurant, the lizards, the flowers…well, you get the idea.

Sunday, 4-15-2002

We had turned in fairly early Saturday, you know how it is…the beer and local drinks in JA are much different than what we’re used to in the States. I awoke early and set off for an early morning stroll on the beach, digital camera and video camera in hand. Oh, the water and the sky – both beautiful hues of blue meeting seamlessly together…the fishermen in their boats, the groundskeepers taking time to make the beach beautiful for us to enjoy. Oh, how good to be in Negril! I head back to the room to get Paul and we set off for a walk to the Hi-Lo. On our way, we see the new Burger King – sort of sad to see something Stateside creep into this beautiful island, but happy because hubby isn’t very adventurous with food. I give in and we go to Burger King so that Paul can get a burger and fries (they even serve it for breakfast). I was relieved to see that Burger King wasn’t completely taking over the Island, at least they had Ackee and Saltfish on the menu. Paul ate and I held out for jerk chicken from a roadside stand. MMMMMMMMM MMMMMMM MMMMMMMMM!

We walk up the road towards the West End and stop at 3 C’s for a Red Stripe and then visit Negril Yacht Club for a much missed from last year Dirty Banana. The beach vendors, roadside vendors, and taxis are all working very hard to get business. You can tell that 9/11 rippled across the world and affected everyone. We hang out in the sun at Negril Yacht Club for a few drinks, watching the sun shining bright and sparkling off the water, ahhh, the beauty of Negril! The people are, of course, wonderful as they were last year and we stop and talk to many along the way. We head back to Kuyaba and swim in the translucent aqua blue water on our beach. Captain Clark comes up to us on the beach and is departing for a snorkeling excursion and solicits us to come. We thank him and tell him maybe tomorrow but he offers us a good price that we just can’t refuse and it’s a great opportunity early in our vacation to try out the new snorkel gear we bought! We grab our things and off we go. We’re on the boat with 4 others from Italy…even though there’s a big language barrier, the smiles we share in the beautiful sun are communication enough to know that we are all loving Negril. The boat takes us to the reef, not too far from Booby Cay. Captain Clark throws some bread in the water to draw the fish and I’m in the water to see what it’s all about. I grab a piece of bread and am swarmed by the yellow and black striped bumble bee looking fish eating right out of my hand. (Those pics turned out great with my disposable underwater camera!) I am at one with the sea and finally look up and realize everyone else is ready to go, so I make my way back to the boat. We head back, having some great laughs with Captain Clark and his ship mate. We return our snorkel equipment to the room and shower off. We are hungry, so we head out and about to see what’s to eat along the beach.. We decide to eat a late lunch next door at Legends – most of the prices were around $7-14$ US. Paul has a burger and fries (hmmm imagine that) and I order a tomato pizza (I love the JA tomatoes). Paul enjoyed his, while mine is ok. The drink prices are pretty good though, with a Red Stripe $75 JA and a Dirty Banana $100 JA. We decide to spend our afternoon at a place often mentioned on this board: Irie Vibes. Along the way, we pass a small but nice cyber cafe and we decide to stop only to e-mail our daughter who we left Stateside. It’s air conditioned, with a beautiful set of windows to view the beach but were weren’t planning on staying long enough to need the view, $100 JA ($2US) for 20 minutes is more than enough to get an email out. It’s a 10 minute walk from our hotel but well worth it. The staff at Irie Vibes is just as warm and friendly as their name and the Red Stripe is $50JA all the time. By the way, there’s something extra specially soft about the sand. If you go, leave your shoes at the hotel! Later, we get hungry and I stop by and grab jerk chicken at De Buss (Wow, that’s some spicy hot sauce they’ve got!) and Paul decides to try the Mr. Slice pizza across the road and about 1/2 block up….hmmmmm not sure about that pizza. We head back to the hotel about 5pm for a short nap and wake up at 7pm. Darnit!!! We missed the sunset! Rest assured, I promised myself then, that would not happen again during our trip! We set some gifts out for the housekeepers tomorrow morning and drink the night away at Irie Vibes – wow that sand is really soft!

Monday 4-15-02

Well, at least I think it’s Monday. Island time is starting to set in strong and our memories of being ruled by the clock and what day it is are slipping away. An early morning stroll along the beach puts my mind and soul in harmony. I see the little surf birds searching for breakfast as the turquoise waves gently lap against the sand. I stand in awe of the beauty of where I am and almost consider pinching myself to see if I’m dreaming, but if I am dreaming, a pinch might wake me up. After taking more pictures, I return to the room to wake hubby and get some breakfast. We decide to dine at Kuyaba, because we have heard such good things. We had a budget to stick to and hadn’t dined at Kuyaba much because the menu was priced considerably like a nicer dinner in the States ($12-22 US). Our breakfast from Kuyaba is very worth the $17 US it cost us. What a spread! Fresh squeezed OJ, (I mean we watched them do it) diced fried potatoes with small bits of red pepper, green pepper and onion, banana pancakes, 2 eggs, bacon, toast and a slice of watermelon. Mmmm – I better move on, I’m getting hungry now. After a yummy breakfast, we decide to journey on our feet toward the West End – we like to walk – ALOT. We stop and talk along the way but have decided to do no shopping until our last couple of days. (Our prior vacation had been consumed with running in and out of shops each day, seeing who had what, how much was it…..). We took some cool people pics, with their permission, of course. We stop again at the Negril Yacht Club to rest and grab a drink. Nearby we smile and spend a few minutes to watch the children singing outside the Negril All Age School. It seems like they sing a lot in school – I guess I’d sing praises everyday if I was lucky enough to live in such a paradise too! We make another pit stop by 3 C’s and sit on their large concrete deck overlooking the small rock ledges, letting the reggae sounds carry us away and the comfortable ocean breeze wisks our cares away. We don’t even need to speak, it’s just time to give thanks for being here. We finally come out of our trance like state and head back down toward the beach.

I’m hungry now, and I haven’t had my favorite JA pizza yet… I’m not much of a pizza person but we found this place last year…it’s upstairs at the Sunshine Plaza (where the Hi-Lo is) and I’m telling you they have the most awesome tomato pizza! Their menu is really great, affordable, very diverse, burgers & fries to jerk chicken and best of all it’s yummy! The second story view of the ocean is very nice. I wish I could afford to buy the vacant apartments upstairs so that we could all go and stay whenever we wanted. We make our way back to the hotel and spend the afternoon playing in the ocean and getting some sun. We head late afternoon toward Irie Vibes to wiggle our toes in the sand and have a Red Stripe. We also order jerk chicken with rice and peas ($350JA) and it was good. Before sunset, we sat on our patio at Kuyaba’s rustic cottage and play with a game of Jenga that we brought down to give as a gift. (Now room #19, as the safety deposit box didn’t lock in our first room and room #19 has a kitchenette and an extra bedroom – but I really preferred the coziness of room #3 better.) We called our local Jamaican friends about getting together but she has to work tomorrow and it was supposed to be her day off. We settled on a time to briefly meet up that night after she gets off work. We went to the beach to enjoy the breathtaking sunset behind a cloud. At this point, I’m glad I brought my bug spray – I hadn’t noticed the welts on my legs the first day or two but the sand fleas had hit me hard. And boy do they itch – a lot for a long time! The beach sunset is much more enjoyable with the sand fleas on the sand and not on me. We walk west and spend some time at Shields having drinks. We are the only ones there. Though I have dreamed of a deserted beach, we were often the only ones at the places we visited. I know it is the off season but there are often times as many vendors on the beach as there are tourists…9/11 I’m sure. I try to look on the bright side and think that at least we’re here in JA, helping the local economy. TAKE A VACATION – GO SPEND SOME MONEY IN JA – tourism is the livelihood of many locals….don’t let 9/11 take away your privilege of seeing the world. Anyway – We hear the music booming on the beach and head to Alfred’s! Finally, we’re looking for a reggae band and a bonfire, which are a part of our fondest memories from the last Negril trip! We follow the music from afar and the closer we get, the more familiar the music sounds. It’s odd and as we draw closer, we see many locals standing outside the fenced off area and I finally figure out what’s wrong…IT’S A WHITE AMERICAN BAND . The locals may have enjoyed it but I was confused and disappointed – can’t I please hear a reggae band? Please!? We head back toward our hotel and decide to have a late dinner at De Buss. They cook their chicken on top of wood limbs that gives their chicken a flavor that’s outta this world but did I mention that their jerk sauce is HOT, HOT, HOT! We got 1/4 chicken with fries for $350 JA. It was well worth it. We head to the room and anxiously await our friend’s arrival. They show up around 10:00pm and we visit and catch up for a short while and present the pickles I had so carefully brought. We laugh about the “pickle predicament”. Our friends have had a very long day at work, so we see them off and hit the bed. The beds at Kuyaba are very comfortable. Everything is clean. Not one bug, well except the occasional mosquito outside. The staff has been nice and we enjoyed the birds, Charlie and Buddy. The property does have some nice tile floor rooms with TV and all glass doors but we were happy in our room, tucked away next to tall bamboo and banana trees, with a feeling that you are in the center of a jungle. Tomorrow is the day we leave Kuyaba and go to Bar B Barn.

The Next Day – Moving to Bar B Barn

By now, island time has settled deep in my body and I’m not really sure of what day of the week it is. (Don’t you just love that part of being on vacation in JA?) It is our day to move to Bar B Barn, which is only about 4 doors down from Kuyaba but we are excited to see what our next spot has in store.

We grab a GREAT breakfast at Kuyaba ($8 US). We call our driver (Sala is an excellent tour guide) and have him meet us at noon. We intend on taking him out to lunch but he receives a call for a pick up at the airport – that’s how Sala pays his bills, so we raincheck our lunch plans, throw our luggage into the car and have him drop us off to Bar B Barn. We pull in off Norman Manley Blvd. into Bar B Barn’s parking lot and are immediately taken in by an almost life size statue of Bob Marley with his guitar. Although it is situated next to a propane tank, it’s still pretty cool. We check in at the lobby, which is more upscale than our previous hotel and we are assigned room 129. It is a second floor room with a nice balcony and wrought iron railing. Though our room has no ocean view windows, our patio is on the back and on the end, so we have a great view of the ocean, just by peeking down the corner. As we open the door to our room – all I can say is WOW! After the rustic cottage we had been in at Kuyaba, this seems like the Taj Mahal! Big bedroom with 4 poster bed, wow, a nice tile bathroom, a big closet and… oh my, a TV (it never even got turned on). The staff had taken care to place hibiscus blooms on the nightstand and dresser and arranged fuzzy plumes in the shape of a heart on the bed and placed another hibiscus bloom in the center. With a mini fridge and A/C – there wasn’t much more we could ask for. Another plus is that there are several private yards located right behind the hotel, with an alley for the local residents to reach the beach. Every day, it was great to enjoy some time on the patio and observe the yard dogs (and cats) and converse with all the locals that walked the beach access alley. Cool! We dump our luggage in the room and go relax on the beach for a likkle while. We walked to Cheap Bite to eat – I have jerk chicken with rice & peas and Paul has – ummmm- you guessed it – a cheeseburger and fries. While we are waiting for our food, a somehow familiar face comes by and is offering fresh fruit. How do I know that face? Oh, yes – it’s Gem – a dear heavy set older lady that walks around with a basket on her head – I know about her and recognize her face from JTgogo’s photo album. We buy a pineapple and she slices it for us on the spot. This is a must try while in Negril. If you see a fruit lady, ask her name and if it’s Gem, tell her I mentioned her on the internet. My food at Cheap Bite was acceptable. They mix onions in with the beef for the hamburgers but Paul was hungry and ate it anyway (maybe there is some hope for his picky palate). Not sure that the name fit the restaurant…we chose to spend the same money and eat elsewhere during our trip. We decide to walk the BLVD side of the road instead of the beach side and it’s a whole different but likeable experience. We walk toward the west end and decide to turn around at Shields and make our way back, stopping along the way to chit chat w/locals and discuss where we might stay next time. It’s definitely beautiful weather and our walk in the mid-day sun makes me yearn for a quick cool off in the water, so we head for the beach. The walk to the beach at Bar B Barn is not far from our room, with concrete walkways and red brick edging. The beachside bar is not far from the water and the concrete dining patio is right on the beach. The beach is nice, with plenty of plastic lounge chairs. We jump in and enjoy the cooling water. Paul gets out but I stay in. A little girl comes running from the alley and runs into the water and comes straight to me and says “Hi”. I’m taken back by her friendly outgoing attitude and look around to see who she is supposed to be with. I see her mother emerge from the alley and the little girl waves to her mommy and says “Mommy I have a friend to play with”. Her mom smiles and waves back and says her name is Chantel and she is 5 and they have a yard behind BarBBarn. I tell her my name and we laugh and have a good time playing with her inner tube shaped floaty. Thought Chantel looks to make sure her mom is still in sight, she seems very happy to play with me and I am that much more impressed with the trustingness and friendliness of the people on this Island. As I watch Chantal splash and play, I try hard to engrave this moment in my memory and I have to choke back the tears. (I’m like that – I cry at Kodak commercials.) This encounter makes me glad I brought a few extra toys along with the school supplies. Seeing her vibrant young face makes me look even more forward to our Torrington school visit, which won’t be for a few more days. After a while, Chantel’s mom comes by and I introduce myself and compliment her on her darling child. I ask her if I could give Chantel a toy during our stay and she says it is fine. I’m excited for my next meeting with Chantel. We head to the room and shower off and head back to the beach (with bugspray on) and watch the sunset. Ahhhhh – what a glorious sunset! The staff at Bar B Barn sets the plastic tables for dinner and light tiki torches lining a pathway up the beach, leading to the restaurant. We are hungry and follow the torches. The simple plastic tables are adorned with brightly colored fabric placemats and alternate color fabric napkins. Each table has a small vase with fresh cut flowers from the gardens at BarBBarn. We get seated for dinner and the staff adds a tall dinner candle to our table, making this, quite possibly the most perfect ending to a most perfect day. The prices at BBB were extremely reasonable for what you got! I highly recommend at least one meal there. About $7-$12 US and you could get curry or jerk items, pizza, pastas, …and, oh, did I mention burgers and fries? Ha Ha. I had curry chicken that was yummy and was surpised to be served a dinner salad & hot rolls, along with steamed veggies (cauliflower, carrots & broccoli). The wait staff here is very impressive, as is the timeliness in which our order was taken and our food was served. I will come back to BarBBarn. We enjoy our dinner with the sultry soft voice of recording artist Sade playing in the background and the frogs chiming in, adding their own blend to the music. After a dinner like that, we turn in early to spend some quality time together.

A great beginning to a great day:

I rise early, as usual, and set off to trek the beach and thank the sky and the water for being such beautiful hues of blue. I return to the room, and Paul and I decide to go for breakfast at BarBBarn (included in room price). Bacon eggs, juice mmmmm. We hit the beach for a couple of hours and enjoy the feel of paradise. We called Sala and Sienna and though Sala is busy, Sienna says she is able to meet up with us for a while today. Today is pretty much the only day I can remember it raining and the rain dampens our plans of walking to town to meet Sienna, so we catch a taxi and find Sienna waiting to meet up with us. It is good to see her again. We catch a route taxi and let Sienna know that our afternoon plans are blank and we tell her to surprise us. Sienna mentions a place she’s always wanted to go to, so we head off to the Office of Nature. Just past Riu, Sienna instructs the taxi to pull over at the dirt road and the chain link fence gate, we walk down the drive and end up on a beautiful stretch of beach. There are a few vendors set up along the beach but past that, it is virtually deserted. Sienna points us to a large tarp, held up by tall posts in the sand and tells us that is the “Office of Nature”. There are fisherman bringing large fish straight away from the boat and it is filleted and grilled on the spot.

Sienna mentioned she’d always wanted to walk that stretch of beach but hadn’t found the time, so we decided-spur of the moment, to go explore. WOW all the things we found! Beautiful water with patches of seagrass that hold SOOOOOO many treasures! We walked the beach and watched the earth move under our feet with hermit crabs migrating about. All shapes and sizes, some moving toward the water, some away from the water. We picked them up and let them crawl on our hand and then went on about our way. We saw wild white orchids, daintily dangling from a tree, a 3 foot round termite mound on a fallen tree, gigantic crab holes bigger than the size of a grown man’s bicep! We walked the beach and took pictures and then the mangroves stopped us and we could walk no more. We wandered into the bush to find a way past the mangroves in hopes of finding a way to the last little stretch of sand but a barbed wire fence and thick brush kept us from pushing on. We headed back and decided to walk in the shallows of the water to cool off a bit.

You’ll never believe the things we saw! Other than an annoying water ski boat from Riu and a paddle boat or two, we were alone. On our way back, we thought we saw something moving in the water and it was an eagle ray! Looking around there were 4 or 5 within 10 feet of us! Elegantly gliding past us, we continued and a short time later, we saw something moving in the sea grass, about 8″ of water. It was a puffer fish! Sienna used the stick of her umbrella to gently touch it, and it turned just so that we could see his eyes – MAGNIFICENT! This awesome creature has emerald green eyes with glints of chartreuse green – a sight I will never forget!

We explored many things today – a first for all of us. That afternoon was probably the most unique four or five hours of our trip. We had lost track of time and headed back, stopping at the Mini Mart outside Bar B Barn. Sienna tossed a small bag to each of us – she was introducing us to banana chips (mmmm). We had a quick drink at BBB’s Bar, Sala met us there and we went off for a bit of food. It was dark and the beach was sadly vacant. We passed many places that have seen much better times. We followed the faint smell of chicken and found ourselves at Roots. With a menu of jerk chicken and fish stew, we sat down to watch a local reggae band. Our day had been exhausting and fulfilling and we headed back to the hotel, and said our goodnites.

The Next Day

After breakfast, we swim and then return to the room. About 9:30am, comes a knock at the door – it is RastaStan and his wife Betty from the bulletin board! Good people with hearts of gold! We visit for a while, and talk about a meeting day for the Torrington School visit. We mention that we might have met a driver (Charlie) and we would check with him. We would try to contact Tami (from the board) and Joe, who were scheduled to arrive today at Blue Cave Castle. The four of us visited like we had known each other for years and the time passed too quickly. They headed back to their hotel and it was a cloudy today, so we went shopping at Time Square and then onto the Hi Lo plaza for some shopping.

We return to our room and visit with our neighbors Stu and Becky. We hit the beach and watch another incredible sunset, shower off and head out for the evening. The show is @ DeBuss tonight. They spent hours today building 8′ privacy fencing from sheets of plywood. We’re hoping for a big reggae show, we have treasured memories of a crowded beach w/bonfire and reggae good times all night long. On our balcony, we listen and wait for the bands to start. We keep hearing them announce “Bourbon on The Beach” and later walk by & see a new sign for the club that says the name has changed from DeBuss to Bourbon Entertainment Centre. We are sadly disappointed when we find that the admission charge was $7 USD per person, for all DJ music-hopefully the bands will be part of this new club scene. We peered off our 2nd floor balcony, over the fence, into the fenced area and were sad to see less than probably 100 people all night long. We decided to spend our money another day, another way.

April 19th – back to the Office Of Nature and more time with our new friends.

We have our usual yummy breakfast at Bar B Barn and headed off to RIU to look up some of our newest cool board friends, Stan and Betty. We walked the premises with no luck but decide that since we’re right next door, we’re going to take some digital pics and video of the wonderful things we saw at Bloody Bay. We had been blessed by Jah to view eagle rays, puffer fish, hermit crabs and much more, so we were in hopes that Jah would bless us with some of the same, so we could permanently capture the memories. Thank you Jah for a second encounter with a friendly puffer fish. Paul points above him with a stick and you can catch a glimpse of their beautiful emerald green and chartreuse color eyes! A graceful eagle ray gently glides past us and I am grateful to be able to snap some photos of them, along with some video. We saw several starfish in the shallows, one poor starfish looked as though it had lost an encounter with a predator, with two tentacles completely gone and another badly scarred. I wished this creature my blessing to survive and we moved on. We got to see some beautiful purple/gold fish, along with some other cool fish, including barracuda. We were happy to be so lucky on our second visit to Bloody Bay.

After a few hours at Bloody Bay, we returned to Riu and found Rasta Stan and Betty. We visited with them for an hour or two and asked the housekeeper to snap a couple of photos to help preserve the memories of our new friends and good times. She gladly obliged and we snapped a digital photo and showed it to her. She smiled with shyness and we wished her a good day. We catch a taxi back to our hotel to hang out and watch another irresistible sunset. Earlier, we had spoken with Charlie, who hangs out at BBB and has a medium sized bus. He had asked us daily if we needed his services, as business had been slow and we had told him we’d try to drum up some business for him. With already two couples planning on going to Torrington School and maybe a 3rd couple (Joe and Tami), we felt he was deserving of the business. The size of his vehicle was better suited to our needs, so we shook hands with Charlie and set up meeting times. Stan and Betty and I agreed that at 10am, Charlie would pick them up at Riu and then swing by Blue Cave and pick up Paul and I and Joe and Tami, if they wanted to go. We headed back to the hotel and discussed going to BCC late this afternoon to find Joe and Tami. When we returned, Charlie told us we had some visitors, Sala had brought Joe and Tami by! Darn, we missed them! We showered and grabbed a glass bottom boat and headed down the beach to BCC.

As our glass bottom boat cruised along the shoreline, we took pictures and video of all the great things. As we made our way up the coast, a large castle began to come into view. We had booked part of our trip on the beach, part at the cliffs and Blue Cave Castle was our cliff destination. It was great seeing it from the water! Wow, this was going to be our home for the last 5 days of our trip. I think it’s very majestic looking! By the time we arrived at BCC, the water was very choppy and we decided not to disembark. Our captain took us to the lighthouse, as well as showing off his boating expertise by maneuvering the boat inside a cave in the cliffs – the motor died and I was sure the water was going to crush the boat into the rock wall and we might all drown—-OK time to slam a Red Stripe. On the way out of the cave, a sea turtle was about 5 feet from the boat. I was so taken with seeing one of these great critters, that I fumbled for my camera and by the time I got it out, the turtle was gone. On the way back, we passed by Rick’s – sad to see that right before sunset, there looked to be only a dozen or so people there. We enjoy the ride back, as the water smoothed out towards sunset time. We arrive back at the hotel and shower off before the sunset. Just as we end with the shower, there comes a knock at the door. It’s Tami and Joe! Yes, we finally meet!

In the first 5 minutes, I feel as though I’ve known Tami for a lifetime – or maybe like the sister I never had! Paul and Joe hit it off as well, as they are both sarcastic jokers. We all sit outside on our veranda and chat and drink for a little while! Joe and Tami are a wonderful couple! So glad I met Tami through the board! We head down to the beach to share a sunset with our new friends. We watch the sun set over beautiful water. Joe and Tami decide to walk to the water’s edge during sunset and I snapped a picture at the perfect time, capturing their silhouettes kissing with the beautiful sunset glow behind them! We share many laughs that night and solidify our plans to all go to Torrington together! Tomorrow is the day we leave Bar B Barn and head off to Blue Cave Castle. We see Tami and Joe off around 10pm and tell them we’ll be in touch when we arrive at Blue Cave Castle tomorrow.

This is where I stopped writing in my journal, so the rest of this is from memory.

We gather our bags and ready them for checkout, and head off to Time Square Plaza across the street to use their internet service for a quick e-mail to our daughter who is still Stateside and e-mail my mom as today is her birthday…I pick her up something nice. Sala (a truly dear person) picks us up and takes us to Blue Cave Castle. This is our first time staying on the cliffs and as we pull into the lot for BCC, I am surprised at how much larger it looks from the waterside. We check in and get a room close to the entrance. It has a very large and neat patio area, with beautiful flowering trees. Each day, our walkway and patio welcome us with blossoms at our feet. We have a view of the courtyard and the ocean and we are close to the beautiful water garden that Susan keeps. Just then, Joe and Tami stroll in from the road, having been to the market just up the road. They welcome us and take us for a personal tour of BCC. The cave that goes down to the water is very cool – steep, but cool. They take us up to see their penthouse (which is ultra cool), but you have to climb 3 sets of ultra steep “scares” to get there.

Our room is very “castley” – guess that’s why they call it Blue Cave Castle. With an arched door, and bold heavy furniture, it feels as though we’re etched in time somewhere during the medieval times – with most modern amenities. Our room is fit for a King with a king bed and two single beds, TV, radio and hot shower too! We go for a swim with our new friends Tami and Joe and have a few laughs. We tell them of the great sights at Bloody Bay and promise to take them for a tour and tell them about the wonderful people we met from the board, Stan and Betty. We delightfully talk of our planned trip to Torrington that happens tomorrow (I think – remember, I quit writing in my journal, so I may be off a day or two). We have a great time looking around the property and drinking the evening away with our friends. We see our first cliffside sunset atop the penthouse, far high above the water. It is a very unique feeling to be that much closer to heaven, watching a heavenly sunset. We share stories deep into the night and are excited about our upcoming trip to the school.