Musings in Jamaica – Nessalla Kombucha

Musings in Jamaica

November 16th, 2015 | Posted in: Featured, NessAlla News

View from Camp Cabarita by Vanessa Tortolano

Photo by Vanessa Tortolano

Alla and I recently took an amazing trip to Jamaica for a Yoga Retreat and some R&D. We intended to keep working from our remote location via WiFi. The universe had other ideas. We had WiFi for a total of about 24 hours sporadically over the whole week. The last night there, we didn’t even have electricity because of a huge tropical storm that rained HAIL down upon us. Yes, hail. In Jamaica.

Anywho, there we were smack dab in the middle of the Jamaican bush in a place called Camp Cabarita near Mayfield Falls on the Cabarita river. "the real Mc Koy!"


It was deliciously hot and humid. We could dip in the river 5 minuets down the hill.  We did Yoga, we meditated, we laid in hammocks. Sometimes we would be consumed with worry about our kids, business, friends and partners……there was no real phone contact….then we got over it. No worries, mon.

Byron, our fearless guide up Mayfeild falls. He made sure we didn't die

Byron, our fearless guide up Mayfeild falls.

Why did it take going to Jamaica and dragging bottles of Kombucha there with us to realize this? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the constant onslaught of American busy culture. Maybe it was the fact that Alla and I are also both Mothers, and holy cow, having kids can be like living in a freakin circus! Those little jerks never stop asking for stuff, breaking things, whining and needing things. Except when they sleep. Thank goodness they sleep…

life is simple

life is simple…

20151107_175529Without any outside distractions, we were able to focus and meditate on what needs to be done for the business. Being surrounded by jungle and a very kind community, we realized that we need to nurture what we have at home before expanding out any further into the country with Kombucha. We need to connect with the community and our customers. We realized this being in a tight knit community who depended on one another for everyday things from a ride to the store, to putting on a new roof, to getting the water pump running again. We also learned to slow…..the…..F*^ck…….down for a minuet.

Jamaican’s  are also some of the kindest, genuine and wonderful people I have ever met. They have great senses of humor and they think it’s hilarious when you try to talk like them. They don’t take offense and freely mess with each other. It was so refreshing. Everyone was chill. No one demanded anything.

Alex would often mess with us

Alex would often mess with us

We were well taken care of and so we were able to come home refreshed and ready to take on our projects in a more focused way instead of running around like chickens in circles and getting nothing done.

Buddy, our fine Rasta host!

Buddy, our fine Rasta host!

Dwight taking a rest after building the massive Bamboo Bonfire

Dwight taking a rest after building the massive Bamboo Bonfire

One day, we made the long drive to the beach. What is Jamaica without the beach, right? The water was unbelievable!

Heading out to do some snorkeling

Heading out to do some snorkeling


Our boat captain and snorkel guide

However, it brought a lot of things to my mind. I love the ocean, I grew up around it. This kind of beach going was different, though. Everyone wants to go to Jamaica and stay at the beach. So the entire beach was lined with resort after resort. It’s clean and the water is beautiful, it was just….littered with humans. We went snorkeling, and you could see the devastating results of tourism and global warming below the surface and it’s effects on the reef. There wasn’t much left. The same thing has happened to many, many places, including my home in Hawaii. Everyone wants a piece of the ocean. Shells, coral. Doesn’t matter if it’s still alive or not, they get taken. Sunscreens and runoff floating our into the water slowly over time suffocating it. The ocean itself warming because of the high levels of atmospheric CO2.

Local fisherman trying to make ends meet

Local fisherman trying to make ends meet

Once thriving reefs stretching on for miles reduced to a few islands of life. The reef we saw had MANY sea fans.  It was like the reef had grown extra lungs to filter the junk and breathe. I could tell that these sea fans were meant to be a pale purple with brilliant magenta and purple veins. Except they were clogged with gunk like an oscillating house fan that hasn’t been cleaned for years.

Picture from

Picture from this is a clean one

I also noticed that there were an alarming number of black spiny sea urchins. The kind that if you got a spine in your body, you have to urinate on it or dump vinegar on it. In my head, it seemed to me that they were acting as sentinels of the reef. Like they were protecting it from further damage and destruction. “Do not step here!!! Hands off human! Stay away!! Haven’t you done enough damage?!”

Please watch this video on what will happen to the oceans reefs if we continue to do nothing. If we continue to allow dangerous levels of emissions into our atmosphere..

Coral reefs & climate change (full version) from Earth Touch on Vimeo.

Yes, it is depressing. Yes, I know we are trying to sell a product here. I also know that we will continue to sell a product with integrity and truth. We will always take responsibility for how we produce our product, and we will do so with great respect for our environment and our community.

This retreat was an exquisite journey of the mind, body, soul. A true Yoga retreat. Please keep an eye out on the Camp Cabarita website or Facebook for upcoming retreats.

Yoga in the shelter of the main house

Yoga/Pilates in the shelter of the main house with Susan and Wendy

Our gracious and wonderful Yoga guide on this journey, Saskia Nassalang led us through informative meditation and invigorating yoga classes. She is a wonderful and peaceful guide with a beautiful open heart.  She will be doing another retreat in March 2016. Please contact her via Facebook or email or cell 414-688-1018 text or call.

Photo by VAnessa Tortolano

Saskia Irie!

Look forward to a new flavor and a new product in 2016 from NessAlla! Know that we are working hard to keep sustainable, true to ourselves, supportive of our community and as always, having a good time!

View from Camp Cabarita by Vanessa Tortolano

View from Camp Cabarita by Vanessa Tortolano




Updated on: November 16th, 2015 | Posted in: Featured, NessAlla News

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