After 4 days of sailing with our first yellow fin tuna caught, we arrived in Jamaica. Sailing into Kingston was kind of scary. We knew that the clearing in process was strict and you would have to announce your arrival. We had even read that you were suppose to do it 12 Nm out. So we called out on VHF 16 when approaching and no answer. After a few tries we got a visit from the Marine police and we could ask them about the use of town dock in port royal and the Customs and immigration next to the dock. We got some really confusing answers but we could use the town dock. So when we got to port royal we called customs and immigration and no answer again. We were fortunate that there were a lot of locals on and around the dock and they helped us to tie up the boat and to run to the customs office and notified them of our arrival. We were tied up at 13.00 with our Yellow flag up waiting on Quarantine that first needed to check the boat and all its crew. It took them about 45 min to get to our boat and they needed to see our yellow fever vaccination card and to check our health. We were all in good shape thankfully, apparently you can get a very thorough health check. So at 14.00 we were done with one out of three, still not allowed to leave the boat. Then it took about 2 hours for customs to arrive (really unfriendly and disrespectful guy). It took him about 30 min to check all papers and do the paper work. Because our first stop were outside Jamaica’s Royal yacht club Marina he wanted us to go there and tell them to send Immigration over. Now I was really upset, we had done the last stretch on engine just to get into Jamaica on time and not to get charged to pay overtime. According to the official website for clearing in, all instances that are affected ( that you are out of business hour) must be compensated. So at around 15.30 we left the town dock to get to the royal yacht club as fast as possible.
On our way to the yacht club the drive belt on the main engine broke and we had to do some sailing. Really not the best timing, when in a hurry. We got to the mangroves just outside the Marina and dropped anchor. Of course we failed to get it to stick the first time because it had pierced a empty water bottle, and had to redo the procedure again. Then we lowered the dinghy and set of into the marina. We told the marina staff that Immigration were supposed to meet us and they called their office to check.
Now we had to wait. .. we grabbed a red stripe (a local Jamaican beer) and had a seat. Immigration arrived almost at 20.00, but at least we did not have to pay for anything, if you don’t count the beers we had waiting. We were now finally checked in into Jamaica.
So because there was a fee to use the dingy dock that included the marina facilities, we decided to make the most of it and use the pool and their WiFi for the next day. Looking up what to spend our time in Jamaica doing and upload some photos.
Wednesday we decided to go with the bus and have a look at Kingston. We were told not to take too much money with us and to leave our jewelry at home due to risk of theft. We started our exploring from the bus station in downtown and walked around that area for a bit. We walked through loud and huge market tents (most likely jubilee markets) that cover the multiple streets with the tents covering the whole street with no visible sky. After walking around in downtown an we decided to check out emancipation park.
Walking from downtown to new Kingston we did get a lot of people looking strangely at us. At a road cross we were contemplating on what way we should take. A lady stopped and asked if we were lost
Andreas answered – No just figuring out were to go
The lady pointed down a street and said
Just don’t go that way
Andreas replied We just came from there
She got quiet an started walking. Oops……
The city is huge, we walked the whole day and saw only a tiny bit of it. In New Kingston we ended up on a live broadcast for a Jamaican radio show. Being pretty much the only white people there, that also seemed a little confused. We where easy targets. We talked about our trip and were we where from. I ended up learning the host to say
Being close to Christmas I thought it was fitting. It took him a lot of tries until it kind of sounded right.
Thursday we had decided to check out the Port royal and explore fort Charles, an old fortress out there. We walked out to the main road and waited at the bus stop. Within 5 min a car stopped and asked if we wanted a lift out there. We jumped in and that is how we met Marsha a fantastic Jamaican woman that worked as a teacher at the Caribbean maritime school. She was going to Gloria’s for some food with her friend Abby. She took some detours and pointed where we should go and what we should see, she even offered us a ride back. She also Invited us to join them for brunch but we had just eaten and wanted to check out some sites she recommended and let them have their Brunch together .
The fort was unfortunately closed for renovation, so we walked on to a old colonial building that used to be a Naval hospital built around 1818 . We stood by the gate looking at the building when a guy came up to us and asked if we wanted a look inside and he let us in. The building was huge and gorgeous, over looking the whole Kingston harbor.
After a few pics we want back to Gloria’s and continued talking to Marsha and Abby. Marsha told us that she had a friend from Sweden (Gothenburg) that was supposed to meet them at Gloria’s but had car issues. So she decides to set us up. So she took us over to his family house, this is how we meet Syran. He is originally Jamaican but moved and now lives in Gothenburg. The world is so small sometimes. He and his family was on vacation visiting his parents and sister.
We got invited for some drinks and spend the afternoon there. Afterwards Marsha drove us back to the marina and she and Abby got to come aboard Chibidarra for a visit. Her husband Cmax was on his way to the marina. He helps out a friend on a luxury fishing boat and they were going fishing early the day after. We got invited to that boat Safe passage for some beers on board
We had hoped to buy dinner at the yacht club but when we got there the kitchen was closed. So i went with Marsha and Abby to buy KFC/ which apparently is the best KFC in the world.
Andreas convinced Marsha to take us out in Kingston on Friday and help us try the Jamaican jerk chicken. We started Friday by the pool before going by bus (taxi) into Kingston to check out Devon house. It was owned by Jamaica first black millionaire and the residence operated as a museum. We went there for their famous ice cream, I bought the cone with one scope and Andreas and Anders took a container. Theirs were more expensive had two scopes with less ice cream making me the winner of the choice. Marsha also recommended the patties (lobster or goat) which was delicious (we took the curry goat one).
We spent Friday evening at her friends house for a game night. Playing heads up with some really competitive Jamaicans. We went to two different places a bar named Jangas and a club. In Jamaica you order the whole bottle and chasers to your liking, not just a drink. So needless to say the memory of the club is a little cloudy.
Marsha also thought we should take a trip to see the mountains above Kingston and have Some blue mountain Coffee at their coffee shop. We were a little late so we missed the sunset going up but we did get to see the Kingston city light.
On Sunday we had plans to leave, Marsha thought we should come with them to the keys (lime key) An island just outside but we feelt we needed to move to have some time in Negril and Black river, and we had told the customs we were leaving. We saw the images and it seemed to be a big happening there on Sundays if you’re ever in Jamaica.
Over and out Hanna