Monday, August 26, 2013

Jamaica

Trip Date: December 2012



We had a slight change of tradition this year in terms of Christmas with Christine's family.  Instead of skiing and snowboarding in the blustery cold weather of western Canada, we chose to head south for a wonderfully, warm vacation on the sunny island of Jamaica!


Jamaica is the third largest island in the Greater Antilles region of the Caribbean with an area of 10,990 square-kilometres.  It has a population of approximately 2.8 million people.  The capital and largest city is Kingston with a population of about 937,000 people.  Jamaica is divided into fourteen parishes, along the same idea as the provinces of Canada.  We stayed in Montego Bay, which is the capital city of St. James parish, and the fourth largest city on the island with over 96,000 people.  The official language spoken on the island is English.  
Jamaica as located in the Caribbean
We stayed at the Royal Decameron Resort in Montego Bay
Rastafarian masks in the lobby
This Bob Marley lookalike was the centerpiece in the lobby
This was the centre beach at the resort.  Instead of being built up high, this particular resort was long and took up a lot of oceanfront real estate.  As such, there were several beaches that we could enjoy, but the best part was a coral reef that stretched the entire length of the hotel that was teeming with life and was perfect for snorkeling!
The beach at the eastern end of the resort
Looking back at the resort from one of the piers
A view of the ocean from one of the pools
Chris at sunset
Chive On!
Sarah and Adam
Sisters
We decided to enjoy a few cold ones while wasting away at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville!
This is the sunset as viewed from the deck at Margaritaville
I snorkeled at least once everyday!  This is a Porcupinefish.
French Grunts
This is me swimming through a school of thousands of Minnows!

Trumpetfish
A rather large Snail
Blue Tang
This is a Puffer Fish.  I tried quite hard to get him to puff up, but he just wouldn't do it!
Flat Needlefish
A young Barracuda that was swimming near shore.  Please excuse the shaky camera, but he was swimming very fast and I was desperately trying to keep up!

Christmas Tree
Their big meal was Christmas Eve.  This is us enjoying the feast that was prepared!
Fruit decorations and carvings
Snake bread
A Merry X-mas watermelon
Christmas morning and also my birthday!
Christine getting some beach time
Spotted this Moon Jellyfish off one of the piers
I didn't get my SCUBA certification for nothing!  Christine and I booked two dives with Dive Master Nelson while we were in Jamaica.  We had heard that the diving in Jamaica wasn't as good as in other locales.  We were told the fish weren't nearly as big, due to over-fishing, and that the reefs would be severely damaged from the old practice of fishing with dynamite.  That being said, I enjoyed my time diving in Jamaica, and although it wasn't as spectacular as Tahiti, it was still great to be underwater!  Unfortunately Chris had lots of problems equalizing on the first dive, so she didn't take part in the second one.  They took us out via glass-bottom boat to the dive sites and Chris and I were the only ones diving, which was a nice change of pace!

After our first dive we came back to the resort to pick up Jerry, Rosemary, and Sarah.  They were going to go snorkeling at an off-shore reef while I did my second dive.
Almost ready to get wet again!
Under the glass-bottom boat
You'll notice a big difference in the clarity and colour of these SCUBA clips from my previous ones.  This was the first time I had the dive housing and filters for my GoPro and they made a huge difference!  See for yourself...

Most of the blue fish in this clip are called Bogas

You'll see a King Crab in this clip

This clip is from my second dive and it shows me going through Widowmaker's Cave

Watch closely in this clip and you'll see Lionfish and a Moray Eel stuck in a fishing trap

Near the end of the dive, Nelson brought out some fish food and almost immediately we were surrounded by Sergeant Majors, among other tropical fish

Just before getting back into the boat we saw this Spotted Eagle Ray.  It was really neat to see in person.

During their snorkeling expedition Sarah got to hold this Sea Urchin
They were also lucky enough to see the Spotted Eagle Ray from above
We did some exploring in Montego Bay and just had to go into this Reggae Bar.  The place couldn't have had more than six tables inside, but it was a lot of fun interacting with the locals!
Back in the water!  This is a Sand Diver.
Snorkeling in front of our resort
Caribbean Reef Squid
As you'll see at the beginning of this clip, the squid swim in perfect formation

Balloonfish
Jerry doing some snorkeling
We saw this little Yellow Stingray attempting to hide in the plants on the bottom

Ocean Surgeonfish
Caribbean Whiptail Stingray
If you watch closely you'll also see a white-coloured Flounder swimming behind the stingray

We had so much fun the first time we had to come back once more before our trip ended
Another beautiful sunset as seen from Margaritaville
Add this to an ever growing list of great trips!!  I definitely hope they continue!
Rosemary and Jerry enjoying their last night on the island

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