January 18 – 25, 2013
Arriving in Jamaica was like a breath of fresh air. It was a totally new place to which we had never been. Gorgeous, lush mountains rising high into the clouds. Palm trees scattered across the landscape. And a hot, tropical feel in the air.
The moment we pulled into Errol Flynn Marina to wait for clearance into the country, people were extremely friendly. Locals working on other boats would immediately introduce themselves and offer their services.
Errol Flynn Marina, Port Antonio
view from the Port Antonio anchorage
We only needed to be at the dock while we waited for Customs and Immigration officials, as well as the medical officer. The medical officer boarded and then the Customs official. Immigration took much longer to get there, so we ended up enjoying a cruisers’ cocktail hour with rum punches on the dock, courtesy of the marina staff. It was definitely a warm welcome. Once all business was taken care of, we moved into the anchorage where our marina fees would be cheaper.
, the capital of the Portland parish in Jamaica, is a relatively safe place for cruisers to visit. Errol Flynn Marina charges a small anchoring fee which allowed us to move freely behind guarded gates, as well as have access to the marina amenities. The swimming pool, internet access, and dollar rum punches were our favorites!
looking towards the town of Port Antonio
Just after waking up on our first morning in Port Antonio, we were boarded by the local police. They only wanted to check to make sure we had all proper documentation. After they were satisfied, we kept them aboard with a lot of friendly chit-chat and lots of questions about their country.
Jamaicans are very proud of their country and are thrilled to share their culture. Any time someone would say hello to us on the street or in a park, we’d return the greetings and tell them how much we love Jamaica. They would immediately get a great, big smile on their face and seem to hold their head higher.
Jamaicans also love their music. Regardless of what time it was, or what day of the week it was, we could hear various musics playing from the shore. Of course, Bob Marley and other reggae was quite popular, but we also heard many selections from the 80’s up to current day.
We hate that we didn’t get to tour more of Jamaica. This stop was mainly for provisioning and preparation for our upcoming visit to the San Blas Islands of Panama. Compared to the Bahamas, fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and cheap in Jamaica, so we did numerous trips ashore, going to the farmer’s market, grocery stores, and bread bakery. The Coronation Bakery was our favorite place to buy fresh made bread.
Jamaican goods from the local market
From left to right: hibiscus flowers (for Agua de flor de Jamaica), star fruit, avocado, Blue Mountain Coffee, Otaheite apples
, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, jerk and chicken seasonings, and mangos.
our photo for a feature article in the Meredith Magazine, my alma mater
Once the boat was ready to tackle the Caribbean Sea, and we were properly provisioned, we bid farewell to Jamaica, and set our sights further south.