We slept late the next morning. After that exhausting drive from the day before, we felt that we deserved it.
When we finally got moving that morning, around 7:30 a.m., we went upstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. This time, they were open for business...though you wouldn't know it! No one was there except the wait staff. It was then that we realized that we were the only ones staying at the hotel. Seriously! Now how often does something like that happen?
Since we had the place to ourselves, that meant that we had the pool and the beach to ourselves, too. We spent the morning swimming both in the pool and in the sea. It was a perfectly relaxing day.
Of course, as everyone knows, there was no way that we could just sit around the hotel all day, doing nothing. Just before lunch, we decided to take a drive into Black River to get some cash out of the ATM and to grab a bite to eat. From there, we would figure out what else we would do that day.
We decided to eat lunch at a place called Cloggy's On the Beach, just outside of Black River, on the other side of the bridge. It had been recommended in the Lonely Planet guide, so we decided to give it a try. Cloggy's is a beachside seafood restaurant with a "catch of the day" menu that includes different kinds of fish, shrimp, conch, and lobster. You can also get rice and peas, festival and bammy. We ordered shrimp and fish; so the server took us into the kitchen so that we could pick out our fish. Since it was for Mary, we let her pick; and she selected a small blue fish that was just the perfect size for her.
We ate our lunch under a ramada on the beach, where we had a nice view of Black River. Our food was great, and we really enjoyed the atmosphere there: it was very laid back and friendly. We left there feeling very relaxed and happy.
Over lunch we talked about what to do with the rest of our day. It was decided that we should do the Black River Safari (if we could get in) and, if we had time, the Pelican Bar, too. So we drove back up the street to Black River, to the Safari building, to see if we could get on a boat.
We were in luck! When we arrived, a tour boat had just left, and the agent at the ticket counter offered to call the boat back to let us on! That way, we didn't have to wait an hour for the next boat. We gladly accepted; and in just five minutes, the boat was back at the dock for us. As soon as we were on board, the boat left again, to begin the safari.
The safari was not only fun, but interesting. This guided tour took us up the Black River, while the tour guide gave us a history of the area.
Of course, the exciting part of the tour was seeing the crocodiles! Only ten minutes into our tour, we met George, one of the resident crocs in the river. The tour guide pulled up alongside of George; and George swam up to the boat, to play with our guide for the amusement of the passengers.
After George swam away, the tour continued. The boat entered into one of the forks of the Black River, where the waters were tranquil and the banks of the river were covered with mangroves. It was very peaceful there - so peaceful that I could have stayed there all day, enjoying the quiet.
We stopped for a moment in the mangroves, and the tour guide took pictures of those passengers who were brave enough to step out onto the mangrove branches. The branch was horizontal and sturdy enough to hold both me and John.
As the tour continued, we saw two more crocodiles, for a total of three. The third one appeared at the end of the seven-mile tour, just before we turned around to head back to the dock.
The whole tour lasted a little over an hour; and once it ended, we realized that we still had time to do the Pelican Bar!
The Pelican Bar is the realization of a dream of a man called Floyd. Floyd had once envisioned building a bar on a sand bar out on the sea; and so, he went to work to fulfill his dream. Built on stilts on a sand bar, one kilometer out to sea, the Pelican Bar is a sturdy, thatched-roof bar. It is a popular tourist attraction for those visiting the South Coast; it is also frequented by local fisherman, who stop there for a beer at the end of a long day.
When we heard about the Pelican Bar, we knew that we would have to go there. To get there, though, we would have to hire a boat, and we had no idea how to go about doing that. So, we asked our tour guide; and he immediately hooked us up with a boat taxi.
A few minutes later, we met Landon, who took us on a walk through town towards his motor boat: a fishing boat, with an outboard motor. It took him a moment to get the motor started; and then we were underway.
Along the way, we stopped to pick up another passenger: Dee, the bartender. Apparently, we were going to be opening the bar for the day...
Sure enough, after a twenty minute boat ride, we arrived at the Pelican Bar, where we discovered that we were the first customers. Landon drove the boat right up to the ladder and helped us climb out of the boat and up to the bar. Then, once we were safe, he parked the boat at the dock and joined Dee at the bar.
The Pelican Bar consisted of two structures: the current bar and a second building that was once a bar, but after hurricanes made it unstable, it is now just a storage shed.
The inside of the Pelican Bar was much as we had imagined it to be, with benches and tables set up around the perimeter. The floor was nothing more than a patchwork of planks and boards that were surprisingly sturdy. In the middle, there was the bar, where they served Red Stripe, Red Stripe Light, and Heineken. They also had soft drinks, such as ginger beer.
We ordered a pair of Red Stripe Lights as well as a pair of ginger beers (one for Landon); and with that, we all relaxed and enjoyed the bar.
It wasn't long before business picked up. We were soon joined by a group of college-aged people - three men and two women - and, a few minutes later, a British couple on holiday. They all did like us: they knocked back Red Stripes and enjoyed the lazy afternoon out at sea.
We spent two hours at the Pelican Bar, drinking Red Stripe and swimming in the shallow, warm water around the structure. John even climbed up into the hammock and kicked back with his beer. (Unfortunately, getting out of the hammock was more difficult that it looked; John managed to cut his foot open on a log when he landed in the water!)
Although we could have easily spent several more hours there, whiling away the afternoon, we decided to leave after two hours. While Landon brought the boat back around to the ladder, we gathered up our things and made our way down. Once we were all in the boat, we said goodbye to the Pelican Bar and started back towards shore.
Halfway back to shore, John motioned for Landon to stop the boat. He looked awfully desperate for Landon to stop; I thought he was going to be sick! As soon as the boat came to a stop, John jumped into the water. Seconds later, I heard him sigh happily...obviously, he could no longer hold it... Once he was done, he climbed back into the boat, and we shoved off again.
As soon as we arrived back at shore, Landon took us right up to the Black River Safari dock and let us out of the boat. We thanked him for the wonderful afternoon (and tipped him well, too); and with that, we made our way back to the car.
On the way back to the hotel, we took a drive through Bamboo Avenue: a section of A2, between Middle Quarters and Lacovia, where the highway is covered by a canopy of overgrown bamboo trees. It was very beautiful; and we stopped along the way to take pictures.
When we arrived at the hotel, we spent some time relaxing in our room before dinner. That evening, we ate at the Yabba Restaurant at the Treasure Beach Hotel; that was when we discovered that we were not the only ones at the hotel anymore. Another family had checked in that afternoon, and they were also having dinner at the Yabba.
After dinner, we returned to our room to retire for the night and to make plans for the next day...
Return to Jamaica!
Return to Naked in the Woods.
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