I woke early - around 5:45 am - to the sound of birds rising to meet the day. I decided to spend my last relaxing morning on the property with my zoom lens and a leisurely stroll around area near the Fleming house to check out the birds as they sought out their breakfast.
I spotted one earlier in the trip, but finally captured a decent shot of a Jamaican Mango hummingbird, large for a hummingbird and endemic to the island.
White wing dove, somewhat backlit, but a good enough shot to ID
A couple of Jamaican woodpeckers
While looking for the woodpeckers, this yellow-billed parrot flashed overhead and I reflexively hit the shutter on my camera. I didn't have enough time to focus, but the flash of tail color that I caught helped to positively ID the bird.
There were 3 parrots eating in a palm tree, I stood under it for about 20 minutes waiting for them to move to where I could get a clear shot. Finally one flew out, and was kind enough to land on a well lit tree branch for me.Yellow-Billed parrots are also endemic to the island.
Just in case my pinhole photos of the banyan don't turn out, I stopped by with my DSLR to grab a few shots.
I headed back to the room around 7:30 to wake D and G for breakfast. Down at Bizot, I decided to change it up and enjoy some foods I can't easily get back in the states.
Steamed callaloo, roasted tomato, and a plate of local fruits.
The weather was pretty clear and sunny, though windy, so the ocean was a bit too choppy for any more snorkeling. G and I decided to spent mid-day around the pool, alternating between cooling off in the water and reading our books in the chairs. By lunch time D had himself involved in a lively game of dominoes at the bar, so G and I meandered down to the Bamboo Grill for lunch.
I can't remember if I'd taken a picture of the actual kitchen part before - here it is, along with the menu board.
I had the fish in foil, plantain, and roasted sweet potato. G was not very hungry so she had some festival.
After a bit more time in the pool and time to read, G and I headed back to the room to shower and begin packing. It didn't take very long to have things decently organized, so I picked up some photo gear and headed out for a walk around the grounds.
Mocking bird will not allow you to park beyond this point!
Another lensball shot of the rocky shoreline, this time with clear skies.
Pretty contrast of the foliage against the sky
Back on the main beach with the lensball
The main beach at Goldeneye
This is the island in the middle of the beach. I called it the "party island", although I rarely saw anyone on it - it seems to be designed to host a large party. There are chairs and lounges in little spots of sand...
...and at the end of the island there is a stone bar, behind the bar is a massive stone bench and table.
From the table looking out at the endless sea.
The view looking up from our beach chairs, the palm trees are technicolor against the blue sky
Saturday night at Goldeneye is a giant party, with a huge pool-side buffet dinner at Bizot Bar and massive bonfire on the beach. After finishing up a bit more packing and cleaning up for dinner, we all headed down to Bizot just as the buffet was being set up. I took a few photos of the set up before the food was brought out. Also, I don't usually prefer to eat at buffets because it is difficult to ask questions about ingredients, but the head chef of the kitchen came out and walked me through the entire buffet, listing all the ingredients in everything and guiding me through what I was and was not able to eat. Goldeneye will be getting a great review from me just on how they handled my allergies throughout the trip.
D played dominoes until dinnertime (sorry for the darkness, I didn't want to turn on the flash)
Soup and bread station - the soup was a "pepper pot" soup, made with callaloo, coconut milk, spices, and root vegetables.
The salad bar (I avoided it due to the bowl of chopped egg)
Rice and peas and roasted vegetables
The BBQ station included beef, suckling pig, and jerk chicken on 3 different grills.
The seafood station had grilled mahi mahi, and seafood saute with your choice of shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels. To the right of this was a massive table filled with cheeses, crackers, and fruit... and around the corner to the left (which I didn't see until later) were three trays of sides - mac & cheese, roasted sweet potato in peppers and roasted plantain in peppers.
The lounges were removed and tables were set out around the pool
The dessert table
I started with the soup, which was delicious and honestly I could have just eaten that all night.
grilled mahi mahi with fruit salsa, roasted vegetables with peppers/onions, suckling pig
D and G at dinner, we took a table near the bar for the extra light
G and I at dinner
The bonfire - the photo doesn't do it justice, the bundle of wood was 7 feet high when they started it
My second plate of food - mostly sauteed shrimp and a bit of the beef
This dinner had the largest crowd I'd seen at Goldeneye, but it was still spread out to the point where we felt like it was a private dinner just for us. We stayed out pretty late, enjoying the food and drinks, and as the other tables began to wind down, D headed over to the bar to get into a full-on tournament of dominoes. G and I were getting tired, so we headed back to the room to settle in for the night.
There's not a lot to say about Sunday - we woke up early, showered, and had our luggage packed into a van by 6:45 am. On our last walk across the property, as we were crossing the bridge, a massive leopard stingray swam up the lagoon directly below us (too quickly for me to grab a photo, unfortunately, but the experience was cool!) The drive to the airport was 2 hours of us alternately nodding off. Security was interesting - they flagged my carry-on to be inspected for "electronics", but fully inspected the bag that didn't have the electronics in it. I stood with my hands folded in front of me so that I wouldn't react when the agent started pulling out my cameras, but I did cringe as she yanked my pinhole camera out of it's case and started turning it over (I'm so glad I wrapped it in bubble wrap!) Our flight to Charlotte was uneventful, customs was empty so we had no problem going through, and we made it to our gate with a half hour to spare before our scheduled boarding. Our connection flight ended up being delayed by an hour, first because there was no plane, then because there was no crew (due to them being on other delayed flights) In the end we landed roughly 2 hours later than expected, but happy to be back home safely.