Monday, October 5, 2009

Jumping off waterfalls into neon blue waters!!

After arriving late on Saturday, we basically ate some dinner and relaxed to the sound of the ocean and the warmth of a typical Caribbean night. The next day we woke up to hot and humid 40 plus degrees, and headed to the beach at Mammee Bay. I was really looking forward to what would come the next day, as we would head out really early in the morning, visiting Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios and then off to White River, to the Blue Hole near the small town of Exchange, Jamaica.

The next morning we left early, and went directly to Dunn's River Falls, where we arrived at around 8:15 am, about 15 mins before the park actually opens. We waited patiently, and finally got in. We were the only tourists there. We had the whole falls to ourselves. Our plan had worked, by getting there early, we avoided all the tour buses. We also went on a day we knew there would be no cruise ships at port at Ocho Rios. This also eliminated other potential tourists. We felt as if the falls were our own personal playground. We also spotted a Jamaican Hummingbird (also called the Doctor Bird, because of it's long needle type nose), flying and hovering just over our heads.

We parked the van, and hiked about 15-20 minutes to the larger 30 foot waterfall. We were the only people there, as this spot is not very popular with tourists, and usually only has a few locals around. It's an awesome feeling, to leave a tourist filled town like Ocho Rios, and drive about 30 minutes and be in complete solitude, with some of the most dramatic river scenery in the country.

This is a video of me jumping off a 30 ft. waterfall into the neon blue waters of the White River. I think I almost missed the actual jump, barely clearing the waterfall!!

There is also a really cool cave, which you access by putting your head right through the waterfall on the side. You feel the water hitting your head, then your shoulders, it feels like small water knives as it hits your skin. The hole itself is not larger than your actual body, so once you try and push in, you feel claustrophobic instantly. You have to spin your body around, so you are no longer heading into the hole head first, and you need to then climb down with your feet first. Our local guide, PJ or Repeat as his friend's call him, went in first, and guided and helped me into the cave. It took me a good 5 minutes to spin around in the tiny enclosure. I finally was able to spin around, and proceed feet first down the small cave. I quickly slipped into the water, and was now behind the waterfall, in another small enclosure. You could see the light coming through the falls, it was such an odd experience, being behind such natural power, and yet, being so calm and in your own world. We finally, dove under the water, and swam right under the falls, popping up in the main whirlpool.

From this spot we headed to another smaller waterfall, about a 10 minute hike downstream. This spot is called the Blue Hole, since the water here is even more brilliant, and neon blue can't even describe the colour of the water. The falls here are in a horseshoe type shape, but much smaller, around 15-20 feet high. The jump here was easy but much more fun, as you don't worry about smashing your body into the rocks!! lol There is also a cave which you can swim to, by going under some rocks beneath one of the falls. Temperature in there was at least 10 degrees cooler.

After we drove back into Ocho Rios, and passed by the bauxite factory, which was the filming location for Dr. No's evil hideout in the James Bond movie. It's the one that blows up at the end of the movie. From here, we went to the Ocho Rios Market, to look for some crafts, art and Blue Mountain Coffee.

All in all, a pretty busy day.

PS. Thanks to PJ and Jermaine for bringing us out to some of these hidden spots...peace!!

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