“Don’t look down”.
You inevitably look down. You might look down because you think something is happening down there, or that because you think others are lying to you. Maybe you look down because one day you might look back and regret not looking down. Then, like everyone else who ever looked down when they were specifically told not to, came to the same conclusion: looking down was probably the worst thing I could have done.
I usually like to set the scene surrounding me. However, it is difficult to fully capture the sun sparkling off the perfectly clear and intensely turquoise water cascading down over the rocks. It was difficult to process the idyllic setting and the dense, lush tropical forest surrounding me. Especially when all I could feel was a cocktail of adrenalin and fear rising through my chest as I tried to calculate how high I was standing. It was difficult to appreciate nature when I was stood on the edge of a cliff, about to jump into the water below.
As we bumbled along the dirt track, climbing higher and higher, I was glad that this wasn’t my car as the rental insurance didn’t cover extreme off roading. We made it to a small clearing with a couple of cars haphazardly parked. We were introduced to our enthusiastic guide, Jason, who promptly made us feel at ease before leading the way through the trees.
The path dropped away on one side to reveal the most intense, azure pool that I have ever seen. I was so mesmerised by the colours that I hardly noticed the huge waterfall flowing over the large boulder.
The sign above us warned us not to jump …Jason Jumped.
We came on this trip to get to know the real Jamaica and whilst being left alone in the jungle would be a good way to get to know the area, we decided to jump as well.
We swam towards the rushing water of the waterfall and then into the cave behind. The roar was deafening at first, and our eyes took a moment to adjust to the sudden contrast of light. We climbed higher inside the cave and eventually made it to the top. We were told to lie on our bellies and ‘caterpillar wiggle’ through the small hole back into the daylight. At first I didn’t think it would be big enough, but I knew that we wouldn’t have been asked to do something we couldn’t do safely. We emerged one by one, in a manor akin to the rhino scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. You all know what I’m talking about! We laughed the entire time.
Above ground again, we continued to explore the falls and swam in the clear blue pools.
Eventually, back at the main falls, we were given a rope to hold and guided down the rock face. I had never repelled down a waterfall before. I thought it looked quite hard but soon found out it is even harder than it looks. Thankfully Jason was right there with us to prevent anyone from being whisked away.
Jason asked if I wanted to do a ‘big jump’. I hurriedly agreed. We climbed out of the water and up the steps. When he removed the barrier from the fence I started to question my sanity, since I am afraid of heights. Or more specifically, of falling. Brilliant.
We decided to jump together because somehow that made me feel more secure. I knew if I didn’t go on his count then I’d probably just be dragged over the edge anyway.
It turned out to be a great rush and the pool below is so deep so there was no risk of hitting the bottom. I actually did it again, this time on my own, for fun.
Thanks to Javier from Know Jamaica Tours for bringing us to this beautiful place and thanks to our fabulous guide Jason for ensuring that we had a great time. Island Gully Falls is only $15 USD per person entry, which includes your own private guide. There are changing and toilet facilities on site too.
Last modified: 4th August 2016