China Reef

Big scuba day – China Reef w 4 other divers. No wetsuit. Water inTENse blue pounding blue sonic blue, fall backwards overboard 60 ft down to reef. Vibrant purple chalices of hard coral that looks like it was fluttering in waves and then frozen. Sting rays. No nurse sharks, as had hoped. Discovered a family of white lobsters, two adults two children under ledge. We stared at each other, they waved their foot-long feelers at me. Vast fields of drapery-like coral hanging from ledges. Fish and coral colors so vibrant it’s hard to believe nature could produce. Is this for real? One never gets used to it. I remember now why diving is so addictive. Surge lifted my bare back up into an outcropping of fire coral, stung like a string of bee stings, rash lasted for a week. Safety decompression stop at 20 feet for five minutes, hovering in the blue like babe in the womb, gazing out at creation. Maybe I should reconsider my belief in God?

Jerk pork and patties from guy riding bicycle on beach with a metal basket, the real deal.

Ride snafu heading for Treasure Beach on the South coast – our scheduled van broke down. Driver Jinx Elegant sent another bus but two seatbelts needed to mount baby car seats and it seems few Jamaicans pay much attention to seat belts, despite laws (same with motorcycle helmets – required but cops don’t seem to care). Trip to Treasure Beach 90 mins through farmland and shacks. Hand written signs on most everything, often spelled phonetically, advertising “Barkefast” or “de buss jerk chicken.”

Jakes amazing cozy organic cottages, all unique. Stayed in one named “Sweetlip.” Attention to detail — if there’s an arched branch near the sea, they plant a green floodlight in the cliff, nestle in two wooden chairs facing the sunset and ring the circle with stones. Mosquitos here heavier than in Negril. Doing battle with nets over beds, burning mosquito coils, rubbing Cutter on babies bodies.

Saltwater pool w freeform mosaics tucked into the cliffs. Small reefs just off main shore entrance. “Jack Spratt’s” just up the beach for dinner. Big jamaican sound system w big reggae, finally non-Marley / Tosh. Curried conch and Festival (similar to buttermilk donuts but without the glaze, delicious). Another amazing sunset.

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