After 2 weeks of lecture and taking enough notes to fill a 100 page notebook we had our comprehensive exam. It was an exam that contained 2 types of questions. The first type of question was general exam fare asking us to define a term or describe a theory. The second type of question involved having a fishbowl in front of us and then asked us to identify the phylum or class that the animal belonged to or to describe what affect the animal had on the environment. The questions were diverse starting from the individual organism and branching out to include questions on issues that changed ecosystems. It was challenging but fair.
The highlight of the day was going out to town to Ocho Rios which I believe is in St. Ann’s Parish. If anyone has ever been to the famous Sandals Ocho Rios resort, we passed by there and we also passed by the RIU resort which is an upscale Spanish resort also on our way to Dunn’s River Falls.
As I understood the tour bus company that took us to Dunn’s River we were all to have a guided tour hiking up the falls. They said that we were to wear shoes to go up the falls in, no flip-flops, just sturdy shoes or sneakers. I figured we were going to do some serious treks on some narrow trails.
We got to Dunns river, met our tour guide "Noel" who instructed us that we couldn’t bring personal items or handbags as we will get wet. People were holding towels. We were told that they would do us no good. At the time I thought that maybe the trail would take us "under" the fall. You know how sometimes you see a vacation brochure with two adventurous types walking under a fall. I thought that is what he meant.
They lead our entire group to the entrance of the bottom of the falls where we will walk up. It is unlike anything I have seen before. The fall empties directly into the ocean. Its beautiful- only 25 feet of sand separated the falling water from the breaking waves.
We were instucted to hold the hand of our neighbor and to proceed to walk forward up the falls. I looked for this trail we were supposed to hike and then it hit me. There is NO TRAIL we have to LITERALLY- WALK UP THE FALLS.
It was unbelievable, no railings, no steps, no stairs, no elevator. Just you, your neighbor, and the poor guy in front of me holding my hand and hauling my 5 foot 11 inch frame behind him as millions of gallons of fresh water course down on you like the Great Flood!
It was UNBELIEVABLE and AWESOME, nowhere in America am I aware of an adventure like this. We actually climbed UP the falls. Amidst the rushing eddies and great torrents of water our hands and feet searched for purchase. Surprisingly the rock face of the falls provided good traction. There were about 100 or so people with their guides climbing the same fall. The Imagination and the Carnival Cruise Line were docked and we climbed the falls with people of every nationality. I felt like I was in Times Square or Broadway Ave in NYC. The massive amounts of people that Dunn’s River Falls accommodates probably accounts for the fact that no algae grow for long to cover the rocks.
The view from the falls at distinct locations where the fall leveled off were amazing. It was like a picture from a postcard. Absolutely Beautiful! It replaced my image of paradise.
Oh yeah, let me mention at this point WE ARE ALL FINE! Nobody got hurt doing this and there were retirees off the cruise ship that participated, so it was fun for all ages! WE ALL HAD A GREAT TIME!
After Dunn’s River Falls we all went out to eat at a local seafood restaurant. The restaurant was very nice, casual too. It had poinsettia plants on the tables, tablecloths and cloth napkins; ambient lighting glowed from cylindrical hanging lamps. This set the mood for some very good eats. The menu had whole Jerked Fish (head and all), Fried Conch, and Escovitched Fish with Bammy (a local side dish) and a whole lot of other seafood delights. I paid 1180.30J for the meal- about $20 American- a very cheap price for a seafood restaurant.
Afterwards we returned back to the Discovery Bay Marine Lab. On Wednesday we have our final proposals due for our research project. We will fill you in on that soon.
Just to let all our families and friends know. – Love you and miss you. Oh yeah, and its about 85 degrees and sunny in Jamaica, Yah Mon!