Posted on March 23, 2017
Relax into it
Ocho Rios is the most hilarious shrine to American-style capitalism we’ve seen since Florida. Cruise ships pull up here (one’s expected tomorrow), and the streets are suddenly flooded by tourists cramming the duty-free shops, snatching up shot glasses with pot leaves on them, and filling bus after bus for guided tours of the area. When there’s no cruise ship, there are the hotels—at least three huge complexes lining the beach here in the harbor, with more around the bend from where we’re anchored. There are glass-bottomed boats. There’s a dolphinarium. We can see a Flow Rider near the hotel disco on the eastern shore. Coming in, we had to dodge one of those jet-pack water rocket things. It’s hilarious.
Consequently, Ocho Rios gets a bad rep among the cruisers, with its noise and harbor traffic and plastic-vacation packaging. We are seeing things differently here on Milou.
We had a rough run from Port Antonio; the waves were bigger than we expected, and from a bad angle, so no one was feeling their best—especially after two weeks of sitting in the shelter of the Errol Flynn Marina. Even more exciting: a half hour after getting underway, we realized that our roller furler was quite, quite broken. That’s the device we use to wrap our big headsail around the forestay, and we were suddenly unable to stow the sail properly. Down it came, smoothly onto the foredeck (thanks 100% to the copious McLube we sprayed all over the place last time we put it up), and we were without a genoa for the nine-hour slog.
Fortunately, we had friends in the anchorage, guiding us to a safe spot in the crowded harbor. More fortunately, we have the time to address the problem without stressing out. We’d strongly considered making the hop from Jamaica to Cartagena this week, leaving during a beautiful weather window that actually predicts the winds north of Colombia laying down for a spell. In the end, though, we decided we weren’t done with Jamaica; we’d rather cruise the north coast for a bit, and wait for the next stretch of good weather to head south. Good decision, in retrospect; if we’d left, it would have been a stressful scramble to get ready, and we would have just ended up turning around with the furler issue.
We considered running to Montego Bay for repairs, but then we had to ask ourselves: why? We think we can make the repairs with what we have onboard. The next weather window won’t come along for two or three weeks, most likely. How long do we want to hang out in Montego Bay? Maybe not for the better part of a month.
Ocho Rios has amazing grocery stores. We can all get ice cream cones. There’s a movie theater. We have catalogued restaurants serving Thai, Indian, and cheap Chinese food. These are unheard-of luxuries, and the beaches are pretty nice, too! We’ll restrain ourselves a bit, and at some point we’ll need to get to laundry and fill our water tanks, but it’s no hurry. Our theme for the week: Relax Into It.