White Sand Surprise at Morant Point

I’d seen the sunset from West End, Negril, the most western tip of Jamaica. I wondered what it would be like to see it rise from the east, from Morant Point, St Thomas, to be exact.

The thing is, I’d never been to Morant Point. The farthest I’d ever gone, driving from Kingston, was to Port Morant. So, I had no idea how difficult it would be to find or how long it would take. Google maps estimated one hour 40 minutes, which means that to catch the sunrise I’d have to leave home about 4 o’clock allowing for time to get lost, etc.

My travel companion, thought that was not wise, for safety reasons and the fact that we might not see anyone so early in the morning to ask for directions. I agreed and gave up the sunrise quest. However, there were still good reasons to go see the place, if even to familiarise ourselves with the route so we could plan another trip.

We set out for Morant Point mid-morning, driving past Harbour View, St Andrew, then on to Yallahs, St. Thomas, and continuing through Morant Bay, Lyssons and Port Morant. The trip really began when we got to Duckenfield, where we turned off the main road at the sugar factory. After that it was miles of cane fields, then forest, about seven miles, actually. Then as we started to despair that we might never get to Morant Point , we saw the lighthouse. There it stood across the way from a beautiful white sand beach, which must be one of Jamaica’s best kept secrets.

The beach is known as Holland Bay Beach and as stated, has fine white sand, rivaling some of the best on the North Coast. The water was also a welcoming aquamarine, but it had none of the calm, we’ve come to associate with the other white sand beaches in Jamaica. This one had a wild quality, probably made even more so by the strong winds that day.

Holland Bay Beach. Gleaner photo.

The beauty of the beach aside, we were now encountering our most difficult challenge, as the weather conditions had caused the seawater and sand to come over on to the unpaved roadway. While most of the water had apparently receded, there were huge pools of water blocking the roadway and my companion was ready to give up, but I couldn’t throw in the towel. Luckily for us when we got out of the car we realised the situation was not as bad as it seemed. The pools of water weren’t very deep and there were only about three of them to cross. With that resolved, we continued on and arrived at the lighthouse.

It was at the edge of a compound which had a few old buildings and a dwelling where the caretaker stays. The lighthouse is the oldest in the island, about 100ft tall with red and white stripes like a giant candy cane. The caretaker was very welcoming, invited us to sign the guest book, then gave us the key to the lighthouse to go explore.

This was when we noticed just how windy it was. It was a struggle just to open the heavy metal door. Once inside, there were countless stairs to climb to get to the top. The climb was worth the view. Endless roaring Caribbean sea on one side, endless forest on the other. Not a house, except for the compound, in sight.

From the top of the lighthouse you realise the motivation rich people have to own islands. Nothing compares to the feeling of being in a place where it feels like you are the only person alive, as if nature conjured up such beauty simply for your pleasure, and your pleasure only. Here is a short video I made from that day, unfortunately I lost my photos.

I can’t describe the feeling standing on that balcony. Go see for yourself. Pack a cooler, bring some food and spend the day. There’s a green clearing close to the beach I’ve already designated as the perfect picnic spot.

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