On January 18, 2021, we decided to head south, partially out of curiosity and partly to get out of a north wind that was coming. We motored out of Bloody Bay and along Negril’s 7 mile beach. There is a beautiful lighthouse that sits at the southwest corner of Jamaica which we had seen on our original approach to the island. As we passed the lighthouse, we rounded the corner and headed east.
Our goal was Bluefields, a small fishing village that sits in a protected bay. With no wind to sail, we enjoyed a calm motor toward our destination. Nearing the entrance to the bay, we found it necessaary to dodge the multitude of “fish pots” that were marked by floating pop bottles. Rather hard to see until we were almost upon them upon them! As the depth decreased, the amount of floating “pop bottles” increased. Well, this is a fishing village…with Ken on the bow as lookout and Dale driving, we motored around the traps and reefs into Bluefield’s Bay.
Aside from the small fishing boats, we were the lone cruisers in this bay. There were some beautiful homes here along with a fishing cooperative. Safely at anchor, we enjoyed the sunset. After dark a small boat came up to Slow Dancer’s port side. This was a little concerning as we have read of other cruisers being robbed in various anchorages. As they shined their spotlight into our cockpit we learned that it was the Jamaican Coast Guard. They asked us who we were and what we were doing there. That was a little unsettling, but ok, they were doing their jobs. Our answers were apparently satisfactory and they told us they would be back tomorrow to check our paperwork.
During the night the winds picked up, but we were protected from the waves. Our gamble to head southeast had paid off. The next day the wind howled and we swung on our anchor, but had no large waves. No Coast Guard, must have been too windy for them! Day number 3, they arrived to check our Transire (permission to cruise the island, passports and boat registration). As they were looking over our paperwork, we noticed a pair of swimmers getting closer. Surely no one would try to board us with the Coast Guard here, would they?? We watched as they came closer and closer. Finally, as they reached out to grab our swim platform, the Coast Guard asked if we knew them…..no, we thought you did! It turns out they they were spear fishermen who swam a minimum of 5 miles each day fishing. Fabian and Dapper had great stringers of fish and we were happy to make them lighter by buying a couple of lobsters and two Lion Fish. We had never tried Lion Fish but had heard that once the poisonous spines were removed they were quite delicious, which they were! Lion Fish are not native to the Caribbean. They were introduced in Florida waters and, with no known predators, they have quickly over populated, killing many of the other fish. Many areas have rewards for harvesting them.
It’s a good thing that the fishermen were not dangerous as the Coast Guard headed off while we chatted with them. We were just recovering from all of the excitement of visitors when a small touring boat came by. “Who are you?” Seems to be the question of the day! Apparently they don’t get many visitors! A very proper man, named Braxton, was standing on the bow of his boat waiting for an answer. OK, Slow Dancer, Ken and Dale. “Why are you here?” Ummmmm ……. anchoring?? Guess we passed his test and he suggested that one day we would be invited to cocktails. We didn’t tell him that we were not permanent residents as he and six of his neighbors slowly motored away…satisfied that we were not going to be an issue, but not proper enough to share cocktails that day.
After four lovely nights anchored in Bluefield’s Bay, we pullled anchor and made our way back to Bloody Bay.