Beach exercise

Beach exercise

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Jamaica

The one port we had not been to before on a cruise was Falmouth, Jamaica.  I have been to Jamaica once before over 40 years ago aboard a USCG ship but that time it was in the town of Ocho Rios.
   
Falmouth  was founded in the early 1700's.  During the colonial period England and Spain fought over possession of the island, with England prevailing in the end.   During this period sugar cane was the major crop and the island was covered with plantations growing this crop.  Once the Europeans arrived, the native population was forced into slavery for labor across the island.

The town of Falmouth has a brand new cruise terminal with fancy shops located on the dock premises. Jamaica continues to have some economic issues, but has a number of good natural resources and interest from some large countries for integrating it into the international trade route ports.





Our guide told us this is the only coffee served on Air Force one $$$



We chose to visit the Good Hope Plantation about 20 minutes from Falmouth in the hills. The plantation was started in 1774 when John Tharpe bought the property. At  one point it was the largest plantation on the island with over 9000 acres. Tharpe owned over 3000 slaves for the many properties he owned.  It has a fascinating and complicated history to lengthy to discuss.  But a primer can be read here.

What makes the plantation particularly interesting for the visitor is the fact  only five family since Colonel Williams purchased the property in 1742 have owned the property. All the buildings and most of the furnishings date back to at least 1774.

The gate house still has the original roof.









This also the original roof of the house.




The pool was added for the tourists.


All the plantation accounting was done in a separate building.

 
Colonel William's wife is buried in the house, where she died at the age of 24.  Colonel Williams died from unknown causes. Today, it is thought that he may have died from lead poisoning due to his frequent baths to relieve pain in his own designed bath tub lined with lead.





On the property is the remains of the sugar processing operation.








The guided tour gives you a insight into life here in the 1700's and the relationships between the Europeans and the natives of the island. For those interested in the history and culture of the island it is a must see.

Today the property is a tourist attraction and operates an adventure park.

Some views from the drive back to port.








Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ports of call

The Oasis of the Seas voyage was our second Royal Caribbean Cruise line trip.  It is inevitable that making trips to the Caribbean  will often have  repeat ports of call.  This time there were two repeat stops.  This was fine with us, as we were taking this with a group and really enjoy being onboard the ship as much as the ports of call.

Our first stop was Labadee, Haiti.  This is a regular stop for RCCL cruises, as they own the resort property that makes up this port of call.  It is a beautiful area with beaches, water sports and all kinds of activities to enjoy if you are so inclined or you can just relax on the beach.  We just enjoyed the beach and some shopping at the onsite local crafts building. The crafts area has some very interesting items.  Anneke wanted to get a few more of the mahogany wooden bowls that are made locally. With the great weather, it was a very pleasant time ashore.

















The other repeat port for us was Cozumel, Mexico.  The last time we were in this huge touristy area, we chose to take a full day tour on the mainland of the Tulum Mayan Ruins.   There is another ruins on the mainland I would like to visit, however  because of the very high temperatures, we decided that a ten hour trip in a bus was not what we wanted to do.  So we took a very short walk ashore and returned to the ship to enjoy the lack of crowds while most of the passengers were ashore doing their thing.