Hello from Samsara! This is Margaret, and the folks at Samsara Cliffs Resort and Legends Beach Hotel are letting me guest blog while I’m here on my Negril vacation, since I love to write and there’s plenty to write about here!
We arrived last night very late, thanks to several flight delays courtesy of American Airlines. We slept well and woke up early starving. Breakfast was fantastic: A made-to-order omelet, fried plantains and homemade muffins. I won’t bore you with all the details of our first day, but two things stood out from the rest and that’s what I want to write about.
First off, if you wear glasses, do NOT come to Negril (or indeed anywhere in the Caribbean) without contact lenses or a prescription dive mask. The snorkeling here is unbelievable! The glorious beauty that is available to feast on — literally steps from your door — is only viewable underwater. If you can’t see anything but blurs without glasses, you will miss it all unless you’re prepared. I had NO idea how gorgeous the reef is until I saw it with my own eyes. Unfortunately, I am nearly blind without my glasses and I can’t wear contacts. It simply never occurred to me what a handicap this would be here in Negril, until I jammed my daughter’s dive mask over my glasses and took a look at the reef. If I was very careful to not dip my head too low, I could watch the fish swimming amongst the coral, but the instant I tried to get closer, water came in around the edge of the mask, putting salt water in my eyes and that stings pretty bad. The dive mask would not seal over my glasses temples, so this magical experience was not going to happen for me on this trip.
I tried snorkeling without my glasses and that was beautiful too but I could not see the fish. All I could see was the gorgeous display of colors and the gentle movement of the ocean current and sunlight, as I swam along with the sound of my own breath in my ears. It was very much like meditating, but not nearly the same experience I would have if I could see clearly.
When you come to Negril, do be sure to bring contact lenses or a prescription dive mask so you can snorkel and see the real sights of the sea. It is indescribable. The nice lady at the front desk will loan you a mask and snorkel so you can see the reef, but you need to be able to see without glasses!
Secondly, I met a groundskeeper here named Melvin. He knows everything! He can name every palm species in the garden, every flower, and the name of every strange sight that meets your eyes is at the tip of his tongue. My teenage daughter and her friend wanted to experience coconuts for the first time in their lives, and they thought they wanted the brown kind we get in the supermarkets at home. Melvin brought them two giant yellowish-green coconuts that he hacked with his machete, and had them drink the coconut water over a glass of ice. Then he split them open more, and showed them how to eat the coconut jelly inside. Melvin is awesome!
Cecilia in the dining room advised me that sometimes in the morning you can see dolphins through the windows on the left side…I shall look for them tomorrow with camera at the ready. Today I captured the sight of a rain coming in over the water. Just as lunch was served the sky started to darken. Melvin and the other guys who work here scurried around bringing in the lounge chair and bali bed cushions. I thought it was a storm, but Cecelia laughed and said if it was a storm, I wouldn’t be able to stand at the window and watch it come in!
I’m actually glad the rain came this afternoon; we were all getting sunburned and needed to be chased out of the sun. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing pool and ping pong in the game room. If you hit it just right, it’s actually possible to hit the bartender with a ping pong ball! Shhhh… it really was an accident.
Tomorrow we plan to ride the shuttle to Legends in the morning, and I will write about whatever interesting things happen. Until then, respect! (Our driver from the airport, Gregory, told us respect is very important here in Jamaica, and they say that a lot.)