Sailing in Jamaica February 2013

Sailing Jamaica’s North Coast in February 2013
Mike, Hannah & Tim joined Francois and I in Port Antonio, Jamaica, and we had a fabulously fun trip hopping along the North coast to Montego Bay…

James Bond’s Goldeneye

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e had enjoyed Port Antonio, the Errol Flynn Marina there is very welcoming, and they have a swimming pool and poolside bar which is quite a luxury! Mike, Hannah and Tim were itching to go, though and with the wind behind us, we had a lovely sail to our first stop at Oracabessa. [pullquote_right]”we discovered the Goldeneye Resort under a small bridge & up a creek”[/pullquote_right] It was a relatively easy entrance into a lovely sheltered bay lined with fishing boats along the beach, and we were the only cruising boat. We explored in the dinghy and discovered the fabulous Goldeneye Resort just under a small bridge and up a creek. The holiday chalets were spread out along the creek and the beachfront area had a wonderful bar and 2 infinity pools. It was so good, we stayed for a swim and went back again to the restaurant for a lovely dinner.

The Dunns River Falls

After a short visit to the village the next morning we headed on to Ochios Rios a more touristy place where cruise ships call in. The whole area by the anchorage was very commercial, but the crew took advantage of the location and walked along to Dunns River Falls surrounded by lush green rainforest. It was here that Tim sadly lost his only pair of prescription glasses when climbing out of the water from an evening swim. Despite a crack team of divers (Mike, Hannah & Francois) searching around for an hour or so the next morning looking for them, the water was so murky that they were condemned to Neptune forever and Tim was resigned to wearing prescription sunnies for the rest of the trip. We never came across a local optician who might have been able to sell him another pair!

Horseriding & Phosphorescence

Downwind again to Discovery Bay, a beautiful bay, and although it did have a commercial plant in one corner, there was also a lovely beach and good snorkelling reefs fringing the entrance. From here we took a cab along for a meal at the Jamaican Jerk Centre, and went horseriding along the beach a little further back the coast. We also went snorkelling and the water was beautifully calm and crystal clear, but there were quite a few jellyfish, one of which sought out Hannah! Luckily it wasn’t too painful or deadly and she quickly recovered.

On to Falmouth Harbour, and another cruise liner stop. This one, however, was very strange with just a couple of cruise liner docks and no attractions ashore for the passengers. They were scooped up and bussed off [pullquote_left]”greenish glowing phosphorescence in two metres of murky, silty water”[/pullquote_left]as soon as they came down the gangways! We anchored in a very shallow lagoon in a strong wind, and though I managed to get everyone ashore in the dinghy, some big waves were rolling in the entrance and it was a wet ride back. We all met up later at the other end of the lagoon where Hannah and Tim went swimming in the glowing phosphorescence to be found in a couple of metres of murky, silty water close to the shore. It was quite eerie to see the greenish trails as they swam in the water and also from the outboard as we motored back to Ibis for the night.

Montego Bay

So finally we came to our destination of Montego Bay, and what a lovely big bay it is with some great beaches and snorkelling reefs close to the town. Although it is also a cruise ship stop and a beach resort, Montego Bay has a nice traditionally local town too, as well as the obligatory strip of restaurants, tat shops and bars plagued with taxi drivers. We had a great meal together there and got some fab snorkelling just a few metres from our anchorage on Ibis.

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