Jamaica, first port of call after two days of blissful sailing down the Gulf of Mexico.
Yes, I was a tourist and I had to remain one for this trip ashore because for Jamaica we had been given dire warnings about going anywhere other than on a guided tour.
This is completely not what Bookhound and I do.
We do off the beaten track exploring but as I was effectively on my own for this excursion I decided to be sensible.
The bit of the country that I saw presented acutely visible contrasts between the "haves" and their fantastic villas all shuttered and locked behind security gates and the "have-nots" living up in the mountains in shanties built with a few planks and some tarpaulins.
I'm not sure what had possessed me but I had booked to gorge walk the Mayfield Falls.
Can you believe that?
High up in the mountains I would be climbing UP a series of rocky fast-flowing waterfalls and swimming in the deep pools inbetween.The Kayaker does this all the time so I was probably just trying to prove a point.
As we drove for almost two hours up into the mountains through lush green vegetation along a narrow, single track, steep and very winding road it actually felt like Devon with bananas.
We are doing lush vegetation of our own this summer with all the rain we've been having; our single track lane is closing over as the hedges grow and we are starting to hack our way to the front door.
Thankfully there is no known photographic evidence of me "doing" the Mayfield Falls and should any see the light of day I'll have to pay whatever you ask.
It was hilarious and ungainly in the extreme but thanks to my Crocs I survived.I kept forgetting that the giant Texan I was following was truly about seven feet tall so pools where the water came up to his waist had me suddenly disappearing from sight up to my neck.
The big difference to Devon of course the sweltering heat and I've never been so glad to plunge into cold water in all my life and stay there.
It's not that long since I read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and her descriptions all came to mind.
"I went very early to the bathing pool and stayed there for hours, unwilling to leave the river, the trees shading it...it was a beautiful place - wild, untouched.."
Well the Mayfield Falls is hardly untouched but it is relatively unspoilt given the number of people who visit. Perhaps that's sad, but the tourist income must contribute vast amounts to the local economy.
That aside I never have a problem imagining a place devoid of people and this must have been exactly what Jean Rhys was describing.
"There are two pools, one we call the champagne pool because it has a waterfall, not a big one you understand, but it's good to feel it on your shoulders"
Actually it was heavenly and of course I came home with some of this.