Location: Port Antonio, Jamaica
Today was my favorite day on the trip so far. We woke up bright and early after a great night out and were treated to amazing breakfast burritos made by Carolyn, Drew, and Carly. These bad boys were *good*. We began our day by getting a quick briefing about what we were going to see on the up and coming island tour. We left our boat around 9:00 and packed in a van to set off for our day-long adventure. We drove along the coast, stopping for pictures of both monuments and vistas that appeared along the way. Our first activity occurred at Reach Falls — easily one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. Reach Falls was a small river that swirled around natural limestone bridges, caves, and infinity pools. We walked upriver through the stream, navigating these natural features and taking in some of the most beautiful natural riverscapes I’ve ever seen. The water was also refreshingly cold to counteract the heat of the day, which made the place twice as nice. The highlight of the upriver walk was a small fall where you could dive below the water, swim through a cave, pop up in the cave and hang out, then continue diving underwater until you reached the final opening through a small waterfall. It was like diving through a curtain of water! Though some of us were a little nervous to go through at first, we all did it (some of us several times), and everyone agreed that it was pretty awesome. At the end of our Reach Falls excursion, we got to jump off another waterfall, which was the best way to top the whole experience. After drying off and changing, we loaded up the vans again and headed to a jerk chicken place for lunch near Boston Bay. We got to sample some delicious local food at the home of jerk seasoning. Following lunch, we headed to a landmark called Blue Lagoon. We made the best of our time there, whether it was shopping, swimming, or renting kayaks and heading out to a rope swing on a tree on the other side of the lagoon. When the island tour was over, everyone was exhausted.
We headed back to the boat and had an hour or so to catch up on our school work. Most of us began studying for the EFR (Emergency First Response) exam we were going to have after dinner. Fortunately, our medic Tina is really good at teaching, so none of us were worried about going into the exam. We were told that the test had two parts — a written multiple-choice test which we took in the salon, and a practical skills CPR test where we showed that we could perform CPR on a dummy. After finishing the practical portion in the chart house with Tina, we were told we were free to go — only to find an emergency medical scenario waiting for us up at the bow with Eric pretending to be unresponsive and Steve pretending to have serious bleeding. Our instructors said we did well for the first scenario, but that there was room for improvement — and that we would continue to practice as the semester went on. After the test, we had an hour or two of free time to hang out onshore, do laundry, get ice cream, etc. Once we were all back at the boat at 10:30, everyone was exhausted from our long day. We all crashed out in bed looking forward to tomorrow because, in the morning, we get to go SURFING!!!