Rick's Cafe...to jump or not to jump
Updated: May 19, 2019
Now I love Rick's Cafe in Negril. I make a point of visiting this wonderful place almost every time I am on the island. Whilst most people come for the sunset, I like to enjoy the place earlier in the day when it’s quiet and I can chill out in the pool, sit by the bar, take pictures of the fabulous views and feel like the divers are doing their display just for me.
Now if you love the crowd, then arrive around mid afternoon, have something to eat and drink, soak in the atmosphere and dance to the reggae beat of the live band. You can swim in the pool or in the crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea. There are ladders provided for entry and exit.
The question now is....should you jump from the 35ft (11m approx) high platform originally made for the divers to show off their skills?
Bear in mind that alcohol and cliff jumping aren’t a great match, cliff jumping and ganja or other, more mind altering drugs also don’t mix, hell, in fact jumping from a 35ft platform into the ocean on a full stomach isn’t even a good decision!
But still it happens, time and again....bloody noses, broken body parts and even worse, serious injury and death.
If you don’t enter the water absolutely straight from that kind of height, you are almost certainly going to be injured. Jamaica is my passion and an island paradise, but it is also a third world country and does not have a line of emergency ambulances on the end of a 119 call.
Ask yourself...how would it play out if you or a family member or friend got injured whilst jumping from that height? Do you realise that no ‘lifesavers’ are going to come to your rescue in the water, that no paramedics will be waiting on the side with a backboard and neck brace, there will be no ambulance waiting at the entrance to rush you to hospital?
The more real scenario is that your friend or family member will have to fish you out of the water, attempt to perform life saving first aid on site (provided they know how) and if you are lucky, you will be loaded into a taxi to be taken to a hospital at least 90mins away. If the injury you sustained from the jump ‘gone wrong’ is serious, your condition will be a lot more serious once you finally reach a hospital. With ill equipped medical facilities, how confident are you of getting the medical care that you need? You are not in USA, UK, Europe or Australasia.....you are in Jamaica, a small island in the Caribbean.
There are warning signs stating that you jump at your own risk and the locals would actually prefer that you didn’t jump, but the reality is quite different. Alcohol, drugs, bravado and loss of inhibitions because you are on holiday, get the better of most. Instead of just tipping the divers and marvelling at their skill, you turn into a superhero and after peering over the edge, you take the plunge.
With the amount of people who go to Rick's on a daily basis, the percentage of injuries is pretty small, but it doesn’t make them any less real. You don’t want your dream trip to turn into a nightmare, of that I am sure.
There are lesser heights to jump from and enjoy in safety with your family and friends so you may consider leaving the high ledge to the professionals.
Ultimately, I am not writing this to tell you not to jump, but I hope that by reading this, you will feel more informed to make the right decision for you.
Go and explore, have fun and be safe in Jamaica
Once you go, you know.