We pulled into Kingston, Jamaica at about 6pm. I could see the Pamplona, the ship that will be taking me to Costa Rica, on the other side of the dock, ready to leave at midnight.
But The Caribbean had one last trick up its evil little sleeve for me.
The permission hadn’t come through from the owners.
To cut a long story short, there was no way I was getting on that boat. A flutter of activity between me and Dino (so sorry Dino), keeping him up until 1am on a Sunday night with work in the morning.
Options, options, options. Then, captain Van Der Plaats suggested I stay on board here. We would be in Mexico on Thursday.
I was tired, I was fed up and I had no intention of spending an extra second more than I had to in the Caribbean. I took his offer. Although it would mean me being dumped in Veracruz – a thousand miles from where I wanted to be, I didn’t care. I said yes.
I walked down the gangplank and stepped foot on Jamaican concrete, said I was in Jamaica to my camera, walked back up and that was that.
Only it wasn’t. The shipping agent, Junior, seemed to be making trouble for me, saying that it would be difficult to get off the ship in Mexico. I told him the captain said I could stay on board, I’ve got a British passport and a flight out of New York (which I have no intention of taking!) but he didn’t seem convinced, so I ran away.
I hid in my cabin, dreading that the phone would ring and they’d tell me to get off. It was in this rather distressed mental state that I got an email from Lonely Planet saying they had finally sorted out the funding for the TV show, but for it to go ahead, I have to delete *all* the Odyssey vids off YouTube. Yes, even the one with 230,000 views.
Oh for **** sake.
Which…effectively stuffs up any hope I had of raising a substantial amount of cash for WaterAid by appealing to my would-be thousands of YouTube subscribers once I get to Africa.
I made my bed into a little fort, pulled my knees up to my chest and willed the world to go away and die…
5.30am. The phone rang. Groggily, I answered it. Hello?
It was the captain.
You have to get off this ship. Now. We will not take you and the ship leaves in ten minutes. Get off!
In an obstinate attempt to force fate to ensure I got to stay on the Linge Trader, I hadn’t packed my bags, and my crap was spread out all over the cabin. I hurriedly stuffed everything into my backpack, possibly breaking all my things in the process and trudged downstairs like a man condemned.
Into the ship’s office and there was Junior finishing up the ship’s paperwork. What was I doing? I have to get off, the captain says…
No, no, no – you can’t get off here, they won’t let you.
Immigration say you cannot get off. I’ll ring the captain.
A fraught phone call ensued.
The outcome being, by virtue of the port authority of Jamaica not wanting to let a mad ginger git like me into their country, I got to stay on the boat. Woo! Thanks, Jamaica you unwelcoming narks – you unwittingly ensured my passage out of The Caribbean! Ha!
After all that excitement, I couldn’t be bothered with the rest of the day, so I went back to my cabin and pretended to be a tortoise.