I jumped off a cliff last summer, right after my wedding.
I landed in the ocean, which I highly recommend. :)
You can do it, too, if you ever happen to be at Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica. Rick’s Cafe is legendary for being one of the oldest establishments on the coast, having great sunset views, showcasing lots of live reggae music, and (of course) cliff diving. There are multiple spots to jump and always quite a crowd watching and cheering. Boats from resorts along 7 Mile Beach stop to take in the show as well.
I thought about doing it on our previous trip to Negril and didn’t get around to it. On our honeymoon, though, I was bound and determined to check it out. I was feeling particularly fearless after a wedding week that included my grandmother suddenly dying and a thunderstorm that nearly tore apart the outdoor venue. I had walked through a personal hell the likes of which I’d never experienced before and I came to the reasonable conclusion that I was made of titanium. I also have a sick need to challenge my fears, which include deep water and heights.
I watched others jump and come up unscathed, including a man who resembled Santa Claus who jumped while wearing his strap-on sandals and made the most painful smack as he hit the water. Well, that was it. If he could do it, so could I. I gathered my courage and made my way up to the platform, with my husband wishing me well and hoping that this wasn’t the shortest marriage ever.
There are skilled locals who jump from even higher points on trees and other areas but the highest place that most people jump off is 35 feet in the air. At 10.6 meters, this is slightly higher than the tallest platform that skilled athletes dive off of competitively. I have since told my doctor this story and he asked me if I’m crazy. Spoiler alert: YES.
There’s a warning sign just at the top of the cliff which basically warns you to turn back now or else:
I asked the “lifeguard” up top what his advice was. He said to make sure to jump out, and try to get completely straight so that I’d go straight in the water and nothing went in at the wrong angle. Also, make sure not to follow the guys at the bottom into the caves for the “special tour.” Sound advice. I took one last deep breath and leapt.
Quite the leap, eh? I’m pleased to say that I DID manage to get my legs together before I hit the water. There’s barely any time to realize you are falling before you hit the water. And then the impact is noticeable and stunning. I nearly lost my bathing suit top and even though I was holding my nose shut, water still got up my nose and into my head. Call it a free nasal rinse if you will. I managed to squirm back into my bikini before I surfaced. I ignored the offers to take the cave tour. Rumor has it it is dangerous and you will likely lose your valuables, not that I was wearing my wedding ring when I had this jump in mind! I left all that in the safe in our resort room for most of our adventures in Jamaica.
I emerged victorious, exhilarated and most importantly, unscathed. I felt great and I’m glad I did it. Would I do it again? Probably not. It was a once-in-a-lifetime daredevil move that suited where I was in my personal development. I don’t know that I’ll need to do that again and take that risk. Also, the rest of Rick’s Cafe wasn’t that impressive so I can’t imagine we’ll be back.
A note to the reader: In my reading to write this blog I have come across stories of other people who weren’t so lucky. People have been seriously injured and at least one person has died from bad jumping technique, the influence of alcohol, and the lack of preparedness for disaster at Rick’s and rural Jamaica in general. That Redhead in NO WAY advocates hurling yourself off of a cliff; you are responsible for your own choices. There are definitely risks involved in this adventure and my doctor says don’t do it. :)