We passed through the town of Black River and the scenery began to change. The lower part of the river is very wide and open, with sweeping views of the mountains and morass (wetlands).
It’s an angle on the land that you really can’t get from the coast, or anywhere else. You’re at sea level and there aren’t buildings or anything else blocking the views for miles. The Black River morass is the largest freshwater ecosystem in Jamaica, 14,000+ acres.
It gradually narrows into a “mangrove alley”.
That’s where the crocs like to hang out. Hi there buddy 🙂
The Jamaican (American) Crocodile is a saltwater croc and I’m going to quote Dennis here, because the kids asked him about them. Their favorite place to hang is in the brackish water of the lower river near where it meets the sea. If it rains a whole bunch and the river gets “too fresh”, they will swim out to area beaches (so keep that in mind next time you’re having a cold red stripe at Cloggy’s or anywhere near Black River, really). The salient point here (see what I did there?) is that they like salt. They do not like completely fresh water. Remember this before you call me crazy when you read the next post.
They are endangered. They don’t attack people unless provoked or too near a nest, for the most part. I think I read about someone getting bitten years ago while spear fishing in the river but I can’t find the article now. Anyway, they mostly chill and eat fish, OK?
So today we saw a couple, Dennis is really good at spotting them and we motor on over to get close and take pictures.
We also saw a lot of birds. I’m sure intrepid birding type folks go out really early in the morning, or at dusk, to see them specifically. We just saw normal “we’re here for the ride” daytime birds.
Dennis tells us about the egrets and night herons we are seeing.
Black River is super duper clean and clear. It’s just that the river bottom is dark, so it looks black. Dennis explains for the benefit of a mom and daughter who joined us and my own kids.
We continue on our way upriver….it’s getting hot and I am ready for a swim 🙂
Continue reading this series:
A Boat Day (3 – swimming with crocs)