We sailed into the West Harbor of Port Antonio, Jamaica with a new day's sunshine lighting our way. The entrance channel was well marked and easy to navigate, although we did throw in an extra tack to avoid colliding with a fisherman on his skiff. We hailed the Errol Flynn Marina, where we'd planned to stay during our visit, and received docking directions. Errol Flynn Marina
is a Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) cruising station. Just as we rounded the corner, we fired up the Perkins to bring us smoothly into the dock.
We were tired, but very excited to see our friends when we arrived. Serendipity had arrived the previous night and had already enjoyed a restful night in the calm harbor to refresh from the passage. Nila Girl and EZ were at the docks and as soon as Rode Trip was secure Ren and Ashley stopped over to say hello. We received a very warm welcome from Paul, the General Manager of Errol Flynn Marina. Our quarantine flag was flying along with the Jamaican flag. Now all we had to do was wait for Quarantine, Customs & Immigration, and Coast Guard to give the go-ahead to explore their country.
Check-in was a simple process; all of the officials were very professional and pleasant. In between their boarding our boat, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Ren, Ashley, and Nick. Ahhh it was wonderful to have some fresh food! Ashley cooked up a feast of scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, lobster, potato, and topped with sprouts, in addition to cheesy grits, and a dazzling plate of watermelon. Brian and I shared a loaf of bread we'd baked that morning while en route; boy was it delicious once spread with butter and jam! Nick cooked a hearty plate of bacon that disappeared shortly after being placed in front of the hungry crowd.
We were first visited by Quarantine. The woman looked a bit perplexed when she asked whether we had any meat aboard and we replied, "canned meat, we have no refrigeration." We also explained our composting toilet to her as there is a strict no dumping policy in the harbor. We were asked to not bring any canned meat ashore and to use the facilities. No problem! Customs and Immigration squeezed five people onto Rode Trip. "You don't use the air conditioner?" one of the gentlemen asked after taking a seat on the couch around our little cabin's table. They shuffled papers around and requested copies of our documents. We were prepared with copies of our passports, boat documentation, and crew list. There is no cost to enter Jamaica. I would say this was no sweat...but you can imagine with a full boat of people sitting at a sunny, breezeless dock there was actually quite a bit of sweating going on! Finally, the Coast Guard boarded the boat. We provided them a copy of a crew list and a copy of the boat documentation. Free and clear!
While docked, we filled our water tanks which were much more empty than we'd anticipated. Water is $ .12/gallon at the marina. Then we invited some Finnish tourists aboard for a tour and had a good conversation about traveling. We anchored Rode Trip in the harbor; use of the marina facilities at anchor runs $12/day.
After business time it didn't take us long to hit the streets with our friends. We walked out of town to get away from the hustle (LOTS of HUSTLE) and bustle and just start to admire the scenery.
We had a bit of refreshment while walking up a very steep hillside. Ice cream for only $50 Jamaican dollars - what a bargain! ($ .50 USD)
Not only did we take in a magnificent view of the harbor from the top of the hill...
...but we also came away with a backpack full of fresh mangoes!