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It is almost impossible to believe that Summit 2016 is more than halfway through after today. At least today found us in Jamaica!

The Liberty of the Seas docked around 7:45 am with blue skies overhead. Falmouth port has a pier allowing for everyone to come and go as they pleased with no tendering or inclement weather slowing us down. I was included in the throngs of souls disembarking the ship for an excursion.

I had never been to Jamaica before this trip. I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I knew it had to be epic with a smidgen of history involved. I found out that two fellow Area 9 board members and a spouse were going to do a cave exploration and waterfall tour. Bingo! I got my ticket to join their caravan, and I bopped right along making their merry trio a fun quartet.

The first stop on my excursion was at the Green Grotto Caves just outside of Falmouth in Trelawny parish. Our fantastic tour guide, Pat, explained what would experience upon arriving at the caves, but what she did not warn us about was the wickedly funny wit that Jamaican’s have. We had exactly the amount of time mentioned to use the facilities before our guided tour of one of Jamaica’s most famous cave systems.

Odean was our Green Grotto Cave guide. His storytelling, knowledge of songs, and spooky humor made for a most exciting trip through the caves. We learned how the caves had been privately owned until the late 1990s when the government purchased them for preservation. The caves had been everything from a slave hideaway and governor getaway to a club complete with dance floor and a movie set.

Now what I have failed to mention is that we had to wear hard hats on this cave tour. Several of us thought this was a little over cautious, but most of us ate our words as we heard the crack of hardhats on the stone throughout the tour. At 6’ 10”, I was not sure that I would make it through without a least one knock to my noggin; but I made it all the way through without hitting my head. My having to duck or bend in half is a whole never blog post.

Our second tour stop was Dunn’s River Falls. I was not sure what to expect here other than a nice view from a beach and a slight hike up the side of a beautiful Jamaican waterfall. How I could have been more wrong.

The walk down the hillside to the beach was wonderfully shady with lots of birds singing sweet melodies. The beach was a beautiful sand beach with a few large rocks and the lapping of the ocean waves against the shore. I was also surprised to see the waterfall emptied right into the sea. Our tour guide then explained how we would climb the water. Yes. You read that correctly – up the actual waterfall. Not the sides. Not some beautiful manmade path. The actual rocks and free-flowing water of Dunn’s River Falls.

Our guide, Paul, gave us a few words of advice with only two real things to remember – our tour guide’s name is Paul and don’t step on the dark rocks since they are slippery. Those two bits of information now committed to memory, the climb began.

One and a half hours later, we made it to the top. Along the way, we got to go down a fall like a slide, and we did a trust fall into a pool of water. Everyone in our group was soaking wet, utterly exhausted, but smiling from ear to ear. The only thing we had left to do was get back to port and do some shopping.

Dinner brought new dining experiences for many attending Summit 2016. We all shared our stories of the day. One group did kayaking in the bay while another group went on a historical tour of Falmouth.

Everyone went their separate ways for the evening seeing everything from an ice skating show to a group from Las Vegas. This blogger worked on the next Area 9 newsletter for the evening while watching the ocean from a balcony. I think I found a new requirement for the social media/communications chair.


If you enjoyed this blog post from our Social Media & Communications Chair – Jeremy Springer – please stay tuned as we will have one new post and lots of new photos each day of Summit 2016: The Ocean Journey.