Our time in Jamaica is over… for now… But the memories of our week down there won’t end any time soon. Had had a great time having a beachfront villa for the four of us but were happy to mix some fun excursions in with the lazy days reading, eating, playing cards and… eating. I posted the other day on our visit to Dunn’s River Falls. If you go to Jamaica it is an absolutely must. Check out the post.
Then, this past Thursday, we headed toward Ocho Rios again but stopped short, this time. We stopped at Chukka’s Cranbrook, Ocho Rios location. This trail, which cuts through the Cranbrook Flower Forest is the location of the Chukka Zipline Canopy Adventure. The seven lines range from 105 feet to 660 feet in length would have us swinging through the Laughlands River gorge, a “giant valley carved from the surrounding mountain by ancient waters”.
The facility, opened some eight years ago on the grounds of an old plantation is the closest you’ll safely get to being lost in a jungle. Our driver turned off the main road and drove for quite some time away from the beach and toward the interior of the island. We then transferred to an open vehicle and drove further up and into the interior. It was a bumpy ride that saw a significant increase in altitude. We were happy about that since we knew what would come next- much of our descent would occur on zip lines. The ride, an experience unto itself ended in what could only be described as the middle of nowhere. I quickly gained an appreciation of what Robinson Crusoe or Gilligan and his crew would have felt had they actually existed. (Although Ginger and Mary Ann don’t hold a candle to Elana and my brother-in-law’s girlfriend!)
A quick safety orientation later and we were zipping along in the canopy of the Jamaican jungle. Now Elana, Judie and Kevin can attest to the fact that I encountered ROA (Rapid Onset Acrophobia) while walking across Hoover Dam last year. I was all but paralyzed! This fear of heights surprised me since it had not previously been part of my portfolio of phobias. I had even gone repelling in the Negev Desert in college! Elana wondered if I would be okay on the zip lines since they were high up in the jungle canopy. I was thanks to the fact that we were triple secured to the zip line. Yes, we were high up but it was just fun jumping from each of the seven platforms and sailing through to jungle rather than scary.
Before we left I put my iPhone 5 back in the LifeProof case. That was all good and well except I need some way to secure it to me. After all I would be holding onto the zip-line while coming down. After some experimentation I determined that my best option was to put the iPhone and LifeProof case into the dryCASE I reviewed last January. (Check it out.) While the LifeProof case supplied all the watertight protection I needed the DryCASE came with an armband. That meant I could put my iPhone inside the DryCASE, wrap the armband around my arm, set the iPhone to record and take it from there. And that’s exactly what I did. Here’s a look.
We passed through the seven zip lines and one vertical drop far too quickly. Before we knew it the zipping was done. Fortunately our excursion wasn’t. Despite having covered a good bit of ground from the air we still had a significant walk back to the base station. That’s when we got our next surprise- a botanical tour of the vegetation.
One of our guides was impressive in her knowledge about the flora and fauna in the Jamaican interior and she shared some of it as we walked along. Here’s a look at just some of what we saw.
I’m often skeptical about these all-too-often touristy outings. This was one tourist experience that is worth the time away from the beach and the rather hefty price. (It was almost $100 per person, plus the tip, plus the transportation there and back. We even dropped $100 on a CD of pictures!) It was money well spent and I’ll definitely be doing it the next time we visit Jamaica. I’m already making plans.