Tuesday, February 5, 2013

FTV 2/5/2013 Horseback Riding in Jamaica

On my second day in Jamaica, I went on a horse riding excursion in Sandy Bay. Bernard was our bus driver and tour guide for the day. As we road by the Lucea Courthouse, Bernard explained that the clock we see on the top was intended for the island of St. Lucia in the eastern Caribbean. However, the captain of the ship confused both places and “landed” the clock – a gift from Germany for the people of St. Lucia. The  Lucea townsfolk refused to let go of the clock. The clock was installed in 1817. Today, the clock, with the top of its tower in the shape of the helmet worn by the German Royal Guard, remains a landmark in Lucea.

Next, Bernard stopped along the side of the road so we could admire the giant water wheel on the Tryall Estate. It is over 200 years old, 10 meters in diameter and is the only waterwheel in Jamaica which is still operational. The wheel is powered by water from the Flint River which is carried along a 2 mile aqueduct. The wheel originally powered the sugar crush that was produced on this sugar plantation  but was partially destroyed during the slave revolt of 1831. It was rebuilt in the 1950s.

When we made it to Chukka Caribbean Adventure Tours, everyone was very welcoming. The ranch is located at a beautiful beach in a gorgeous part of the Sand Bay district. We were each given a helmet and a horse to ride. My very sweet horse's name was Ed; he was a beautiful light brown horse with a long mane. We did a practice ride in a corral, in our group we had some cadets who had never ridden a horse, and a few cadets that were experienced horsemen. I was kind of in the middle group because I worked with horses in high school so I'm not afraid of them, and new the riding basics. After we practiced in the corral, we took a short ride out to the rolling hills of Jamaica. It was muddy from the rain shower we had earlier but Ed was tough and trotted along. We made a big loop around back to the ranch where we dismounted the horses and got our swim suits on. The instructors changed the horses out of their saddles and into blankets; for our swim with the horses! It was an experience of a lifetime! but my horse, Robin didn't seem to like the water very much. She must have still been in training because the instructor had the rope attached to her which he used to lead the rest of the horses around. We had so much fun!

After our horse ride, it was time to hit the beach again. We stopped at Doctor's Cove, named after the Doctor bird. The Doctor Bird (Trochilus polytmus) is the common name for the Swallow-Tail Hummingbird, the national bird of Jamaica. The feathers have a shimmering emerald green and black colour, a trait which is peculiar to this family of birds. The bird is able to fly backwards, this causes the feathers to make a humming sound when it flies (giving this avian family its common name of the hummingbird).

On the beach there where huge tubes and a floating "rock" wall. We spent the remainder of our day here and watched the Superbowl. Well, tomorrow is our last day in Jamaica, and I must say I am going to miss this beautiful island.


To learn more about this island and its natural wonders try one of these webquests:

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