We found this tour online (jamaicawatersports.com) and read the few reviews here on Trip Advisor. We contacted Denise (firstname.lastname@example.org) - and received an instant response. We booked the 'non-booze' catamaran trip to Doctor's Cave Beach with snorkeling. The day finally arrived and we went to the pier - a quick call to Denise by the port lady (silly us, we didn't send email as instructed before we left USA for rendevous info - duh!) told us where to find the cat - directly behind our ship! And get this, Denise said 'you have an exclusive!' Why they didn't cancel with only 2 of us, I don't know, but I am ever-so-grateful that they didn't! The 2 of us and the 3 of them - it doesn't get any better than having your own private catamaran in Montego Bay!! It was a great value to begin with, at $35 each, and it quickly became the 'deal of a lifetime!' Let me say that the cat would easily hold 10-12 or more comfortably and you would still get all the benefits. I hope they don't have to sail with just 2 again because it can't be very profitable - and these folks need to stay in business - they deliver a quality product. The super-friendly crew was Captain Glenn, First Mate Malcolm, and Cruise Director/Snorkeler Extraordinaire - Patrice. Along with super-efficient, Denise, they make quite a team!
We sat up front and sailed out past the Carnival Valor enjoying the motion and occasional splash as we headed to the reef near Doctor's Cave Beach. Someone in another review said this was airport reef. I didn't ask but there were many opportunities to see planes coming in. Malcolm hooked us up to a buoy and Patrice took us in the water. My friend is a novice snorkeler and Patrice put her on a life ring and took her from one end of the reef to the other! It was the first time she ever REALLY got to see anything worth while. That was worth a premium, right there! The reef was super! There were many kinds of sponges, coral and different, and colorful fish - what a treat! The water was super-clear to depths of probably 30-50'. Some of the reef was in water so shallow that you had to be careful not to touch it. I followed along keeping Patrice and my friend in sight and had the time of my life. This was one of my very best snorkeling experiences (and I've had many).
When we tired of snorkeling, Captain Glenn took us to Doctor's Cave Beach. Our admission was paid as part of the catamaran fee (I told you it was a deal!). He docked the cat at the pier and we walked ashore (very close) to sunbathe and swim - heavenly. The beach was clean, there were no pushy sales people, there was food available, and the hip strip is right there if you want to shop. We didn't. We flopped down on our beach towels and savored the day. The sand was very white and soft - perfect. And, the water was amazing - comfy temp in November, clear enough to see your painted toenails. Couldn't have been better!
We had investigated just taking a taxi to this beach from the ship - it's $5-10 fare each - each way and $6 beach admission. Well, that's about $25 and this was $35. Even if you don't snorkel, taking a catamaran - just being on a boat and maybe getting out to swim, makes it worth it. Think how much better a boat is than a taxi!
I snorkeled from the beach - there is a grassy (eel grass) area at about 4' depth straight out from the beach. And, well, okay - maybe what I saw was an eel - but it looked like a snake. I'm from the South - I've seen plenty of each. Anyway, this thing was about 2-3' long and it was yellow with navy bands. I've googled and googled and haven't found it. It is said that there are no sea snakes there - well, maybe.... scared the heck out of me. Probably just an eel. Not my fave. None of this was near the beach, however. You had to walk/swim out quite a ways to get to the grassy area - just don't go out there if you are not comfortable with eels/snakes.
After an hour or so on the beach, we were ready to head back. We boarded the cat and set off for the ship dock. What a fantastic excursion! Our heartfelt thanks to Glenn, Malcolm, Patrice, and Denise. We are sold on Jamaica Water Sports! You made us want to come back to Jamaica!
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