All Around Jamaica Again: Day 2 Cockpit Adventure

Day 2: Duncans Bay, Falmouth, Clark’s Town Trelawny

I woke up fairly early despite my late night partying on the fishing beach…this was my first full day in Jamaica and I wasn’t going to spend it in bed, comfy as that bed might be. I went downstairs and Bar and Cher were up. I told them I’d like to go take a swim for a bit and Cher suggested breakfast in an hour or so. Perfect.
I grabbed a towel and camera and took my 4 minute walk to the beach.

Walk to the beach with me if you like – I took this video the next morning:

Here is another one, just along the road by some houses:

Now mind you I have been in Duncans bay for less than 24 hours now, yet all 3-4 of the people I passed on the road or beach greeted me by name. This is one advantage of arriving on a Saturday; you can just meet everyone all at once the first day.

I parked my stuff at the “spot” – an umbrella sort of structure with a table on the beach. I put my things next to the things belonging, I assume, to the one family already in the water. This is Sunday, probably the only day you get company on this beach as it is the day local residents go enjoy the water. I see one presumably local couple with 2 kids in the water, a few fishermen over by Leroy’s, and one person (a local triathlete, I learned later) purposefully swimming back and forth out away from shore a bit.

That was it.

The water was beautiful. Calm, clear. When I went in yesterday I had to cross a few rocks in the water a foot or two out from shore, today I don’t, it’s all sandy bottom all the way. Either the sand has shifted or I’ve found a better entry point.

Barry came with me to this beach yesterday to show me one area where I shouldn’t swim…the beach shelf drops off at a point far off to my left and in that one area the current can be strong. That leaves, oh, a half mile or so of shoreline for completely safe swimming. I wade out and take a swim that completely washes away any residual red stripe in my system. Ocean water is like a reset button, if you drink at all I’m sure you know what I mean…nothing clears a foggy head like a nice swim in the sea.

After my swim I dry off and take a few photos. The local “oldest fisherman on the beach”, Mr. Edwin, comes out and we chat a bit. He is a real pleasure to talk to, one of those people with stories from Jamaica from the 1930’s on that you could listen to for hours. He informs me that as it is Sunday, there will be people frying fish on the beach all day so I plan to come back by later. I would sit for hours but I know breakfast will be ready soon and C&B have made ackee and saltfish for me at my request. So I walk back.

The breakfast is great, served with coffee and freshly squeezed juice. And spring water. Cher tells me about this spring nearby where they go get free spring water and kindly offers to show it to me since it is not far.
Now am I the type to turn down an offer to go see something like that? Heck no. As it happens I’d like to hit an ATM in Falmouth as well. I throw a sundress on over my suit and the 3 of us head out in C&B’s car. We take care of money and gas and such in town and stop at the spring on the way back. We are alone here except for one guy washing his car (note to water drinkers: the washing water is DOWNSTREAM from the drinking water, totally different pipe). This spring looks like it has been here forever, the stone troughs are very old looking, but the pipe is fairly modern.

I loved the setting…just into the hills a little bit, quiet and lush.

This is coming back down to the bay from the spring:

The previous night I’d met a few people from Clark’s Town. Cher pointed vaguely up the road from the spring and indicated it was up that way. She’d never really been there, mainly passed through. I asked her if we might go up that day.

There were other guests coming in that evening and Barry had made plans to build a new cage for their parrot, but it was decided that the day would be a great one to visit up there anyway. We headed back to Ja Jewel to meet some of their friends who had come to help build the cage. The friends were FROM Clark’s Town and got into the idea of showing us around instead of building that cage so they took the wheel of Bar and Cher’s car and we set off up the hill.

(I still feel kind of bad about delaying the building of the parrot’s new large cage, which is to be built around a tree and have lots more space then he has currently, but Bar told me they never told him about the new digs so he wouldn’t be upset with me over the delay…)

Here’s the forgiving parrot:

Clark’s Town is only about 10 minutes from Duncans, into the hills. Our first stop was a furniture shop, I believe owned by the brother in law of Gold Teeth, Bar and Cher’s friend who was driving us. He makes really beautiful large furniture…4 poster beds, dressers, hutches, tables, shelves, entertainment centers. All had elaborate carving of animals and plants and many used a combination of woods…mahoe, pine, ebony, I think…something multicolored. It was a really neat workshop and we got the full tour.

After a nice visit we went back to the car to check out a lake Gold Teeth had told us about. I don’t know about you but I have never seen a LAKE in Jamaica. Rivers, ponds, salt ponds, sure. But not a freshwater lake. So I was into it and so were bar and Cher. We drove out a bit and encountered some fairly rough road. As we were close we parked and walked the rest of the way.

This was quite a large lake, with houses around it even. GT says it grows with rain but it never goes away. They take boats out and catch perch here. Some people swim – he seemed very nervous that I might jump in (and it was hot, I would have if i had brought a towel). Apparently a couple of folks have drowned here because it appears shallow but isn’t, and there are submerged trees and such.

I have a video of this walk and the lake but it has people in it so I am awaiting their permission to post it. In the meantime, I have photos.

A goat gets out of the way of the car near Clark’s Town

“Welcome to Clark’s Town”

Furniture at the home of the artist

His front yard tree

A road

Ass of an…well you know. At the time this was hilarious.

Edge of the cockpits here.

Along the walk to the lake

One of those roads that I always want to follow….but this time I DID follow it, right to the end!

This is the end of the road:

Lakefront Property

( I did get permission to post the “walk to the lake” in Clark’s Town video I mentioned. As you may recall I said it has some people in it and I do not post photos or videos of people on the internet without their permission. Luckily, the folks in it OK’ed it so you all can walk to the lake with us.)

This track passed through some beautiful country – this is the edge of the cockpits – and I tried to get as much of it in as I could. The lake just blew my mind. I wish I’d been able to swim….


We stay around the lake for a little while but it is hot – despite the clouds that signal rain that will soon fall – and if I can’t swim, I’m as ready as anyone to move on. So we head back to the car and move on to GT’s house and have a tour of that as well as many of the houses on the lane who are all related in some way. I am offered a beer and gratefully accept it, and very much enjoy the tour of the houses and yards.

Banana Trees


Coming rain

farm equipment

As it is Sunday, church is going on. As I understood it, it was a revivalist church and the service goes on pretty much all day….you stay for awhile, go out and do what you need to do…go back in. I tried to capture the sounds…the drumming and singing and very animated preaching with my video camera but it seemed like every time I got it out, things died down. I’ve been to a lot of different types of churches in my lifetime in a lot of different places…and while I wasn’t AT this one, merely outside, i could tell it was one I might have liked to attend.
Here are two videos. In the first you can hear my hosts telling me that it would be perfectly fine to go right on into the church and videotape the service, and you can hear me decline…I’m a preacher’s kid and I know there are some things you just don’t do no matter how polite your hosts are.


In the second you can hear some of the drumming and preaching.

We needed to get back to Duncans Bay because guests were arriving at Barry and Cher’s and they needed to cook and get ready. We stopped at Silver Sands to grab some soda at their little grocery store. The shop was nice and did have things at a fairly reasonable price (Pepsi $50J per glass bottle), and it was nice to see what Silver Sands was like. I was a little surprised that the houses were so close together. This is a luxury villa community (gated and guarded in an area that hardly needs either) and the villas are quite expensive to rent. While they looked quite nice, there were literally 10 feet or so between them, and very little yard space. They did have a lovely beach, like the one I was using but not public, and the shop and a restaurant. I see the appeal, especially if you want to let your small kids run around the area, but I was frankly much happier where I was staying.

The arriving guests were Jitterbug, someone I have known online for some time now but have never met in person, and her friend R. I actually stayed in Duncans Bay a night longer than I had originally planned to meet them and catch a ride to Ochi the next day. This was a great move, I’m really glad I had the extra day there.
I wanted to go back to the beach as it was Sunday and Bar said people would be down there frying fish all day and I was sure to be able to score some if I walked over. But as we left Clark’s Town it began to rain really hard, and it didn’t stop for some time. So I spent the next while hanging out in the little bar at JaJewel watching the rain instead. I never did make it to the beach but that is just one more reason I must go back to Duncans Bay.

Jitter and her friend showed up after a bit and we really enjoyed sitting around talking and getting to know each other, laughing about our experiences in JA over the years. It’s always cool to meet people I’ve “known” but not met.

We had a nice dinner of chicken and rice and peas and after a homemade rum cream we walked down to the beach. It was still pretty wet and fairly late by now – dark in fact – so the Sunday thing was pretty well over, but it was cool to see the beach through their new eyes.

We had to leave the next morning fairly early as I was catching the Knutsford Express bus from Ocho Rios to Kingston at 10, and Jitter and R had to get on to Portland. So I called it a night fairly early.

Continue reading this series:

Thoughts? Questions? I'd love to hear them!