While in Jamaica we stayed on the world famous 7 Mile Beach in Negril.
Sunset on 7 mile Beach
Jamaica as a whole is pretty touristy--but Negril is less so than the main cruise stops, like Ochos Rios.
The beach is full of resorts, restaurants and bars -- but the most unique spot and definelty the most touristy (at certain times--get there before the tour busses stop) is located towards the end of this long beach strip.
Famous for its sunsets and rock jumping (more on that in a minute), Rick's Cafe opened in 1974 when the only people hanging out in Negril were its residents-- fisherman.
a very crowded Rick's Cafe
Although Rick's can get pretty crowded, we stopped on a weekday afternoon and had the place to ourselves. Our group of friends and family--about 10 -- quickly split into 2 groups as we sipped on Red Stripe, the local beer: jumpers and non-jumpers. The non-jumpers founds some tables and kept the Red Stripe coming and us jumpers prepared.
I'm not afraid of heights, but I'm also not a super fan of them-especially when contemplating jumping; but how many times would I have this exact opportunity in my life again? I was jumping. Plus, I've jumped before off of a cliff--well, a volcano really. Black Rock is a jumping destination on the Kaanapali side of Maui in Hawaii. About 30' high, ancient Hawaiians believed that this was the place where their spirits went to jump off to join ancestors forever. For me (and my friend Sue) it was just a crazy adventure and honestly the swim out there and climbing to the top of Black Rock were harder than the jump.
me jumping off Black Rock.
At Rick's, three jump platforms are built into the cliffside rocks--the highest being 35'. The idea is to start on the lower platforms and gain confidence to do the highest one last. But of course that is crazy talk!! Even the shorter jumps were still high and I knew I was only jumping once--so I went to the top (the local guys actually jump off a tree platform at 85' high, but its off limits to tourists). The water below is the clearest I've ever seen in the Caribbean. It looked very shallow because of this, but to actually hit the bottom is pretty impossible (as we were told).
I was THE biggest supporter of everyone jumping--until it was my turn. Looking down from that platform is something I never want to, or will, do again. It was different than when I jumped in Hawaii. This water was so clear--I think seeing the bottom made it mentally more frightening. On Black Rock you just see waves and lava rock---which SHOULD have been much scarier.
a bunch of us at the top trying to be brave. Note the tree platform above us for the local jumpers.
Anyway, the security guard/bartender/lifeguard/waiter guy says to me as my toes curled onto the platform edge, "just take a big leap and look straight ahead".
So I did, I thought.
I hit the water with instant pain. I started out straight, but apparently mid-air I got into some sort of quasi fetal position and hit the water with my right side. I surfaced, proud of myself, but I knew I wasn't winning any style points (according to my husband, the spectators watching above apparently all let out a guttural 'oooooowwwhhh when' I hit).
my form sucks as you can see...
The next day I woke up to THE largest bruise I've ever had (it lasted for nearly 2 months) all down the right side of my thigh. I also had a black eye-- my face didn't hit, but the pressure going in from that height caused it.
Believe it or not, I wasn't the worst case either! One of our friends hit and the salt water went straight to his sinus cavity and he had to extend his trip as he couldn't fly for days after.
In the end, I'm glad I jumped. However, my jumping days are over. Seriously---off the side of a pool is as high as I'll go now.