Oct 21, 2014


Jamaica, Surfing, Travels

Jamaica: Searching for Waves

Right after breakfast we loaded up our little rental Toyota with the missing hubcap and hit the road. The first star on our map was Jamnesia Surf Camp, the only place we knew of to rent a board in Jamaica. To get there, we’d have to drive south to the opposite side of the island, through the mountains and Spanish Town and Kingston. We were ready for the adventure.
The Mountain road had many twists and turns through steep cliffs covered with ferns. As we were driving, we saw a Rasta on the side of the road arranging flowers on a wall of ferns that he made himself. We stopped to ask what he was doing. He told us he was making a tree man. He picked up the wall of ferns, which ended up being a huge costume. He climbed inside and asked if we would like to take a picture. So we did, and after chatting with him for a bit we went on our way.
After about an hour of driving through more steep cliffs and beautiful mountain views, we arrived in Spanish Town. I reached for my phone to snap a couple of pictures. I had my 50mm lens on my Nikon, which isn’t always ideal for taking pictures outside a moving car window. So I reached for my phone… but it wasn’t there. This wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. I’m always losing my phone and my keys and anything else that isn’t attached to my body. We had already traveled so far, we figured we’d stop back off at the Tree Man on the way home to see if I had dropped it there.
Our journey continued through Spanish Town and Kingston, and eventually we found ourselves in Bulls Bay, the town in which Jamnesia Surf Camp is located. Our only problem at that point was that we didn’t have GPS or an address (But I’m not even sure either of those would have helped). We stopped at a little stand with a naked woman painted on it that sold cellphone minutes and other little things (there are many of those in Jamaica). We asked a group of guys sitting in front of the store if they knew were Jamnesia was. They told us it was back the way we came from, down the street from “Sugar for Two.” So we turned around and drove for a bit. We didn’t see “Sugar for Two,” but we saw a sign for “Bob Marley Beach,” and decided to take that road.
We turned down the road and asked a group of fisherman if they knew where it was. They pointed up the beach and told us to go to CiCi’s house. So we went back to the main road and took the next beach access street we saw. We saw a Rasta walking on that beach and asked him if he knew who CiCi was or where he lived. He told us to look for a man selling coconuts on the main road and we would find him across the street from there. I actually remembered seeing the man selling coconuts so I felt like we were getting warmer. On the way back to the main road we passed a house on the beach that had a couple of surfboards lying around, and we thought maybe that was CiCi’s house. A friendly man came out and directed us straight to Jamnesia. We finally saw “Sugar for Two,” and we probably would have found it if we had just kept driving, but we had fun on our little adventure so no biggie. The sign for Jamnesia was small and camouflaged and we never would have seen it if we were just driving down the road.
Jamnesia had beautiful murals painted all around it, which I later learned (through a hashtag I posted on Instagram) that some of them (or all of them?) were painted by Mark Longnecker, who is a contestant on Ink Masters Rivals, a show we have been watching (random). But anyway, the building was super cute and the people were super chill and it looked like exactly the kind of place we would have stayed if we had come to Jamaica on our own (as opposed to winning a stay at an all-inclusive resort). There wasn’t surf on that part of the island that day, so after we rented the board we got back in the car and kept driving Northeast.
 We drove along the coast for what seemed like forever, but every beach we passed either looked inaccessible or too small/inconsistent of a wave. We were getting cranky and just wanted to get in the water already. When we had finally given up, we reached Boston Bay. It was a place we heard about on SurfLine but weren’t 100% sure how to get there. There were a couple of guys out, but the waves were pretty small. Still, they were clean and rideable, and like I said, we just HAD to get in the water.
 It felt SO good to be in warm, tropical water again. It made me a bit sad, though, because I no longer live in a place like that. Still, the Rasta I was surfing with was freestyling reggae songs, calling the waves, and I was having so much fun even though they were only knee high and closing out. I was bummed when it was time to go, but it was my own fault. I wanted to get back to the tree man before dusk to see if my phone was there.
We had driven so far North at that point that it wouldn’t make sense to go back down South through Kingston again, so we decided to continue heading North and East. As we were driving, the streets were busy with kids getting out of school and people getting out of work. It was wonderful to pass through all the towns when they were at their peak of busyness. At one point, I reached down at my feet and what did I find? My phone. It was underneath the seat the whole time. I swear we had looked under there before, but there it now was. One of the many potholes we hit must have released it from that little car’s grip. I was elated. It was the perfect ending to a perfectly imperfect surf trip.
  1. That first photo is sooooo beautiful!!!!!!!!

  2. What gorgeous photos!

  3. Linh Vo says:

    That first photo is unreal Erica! I just showed my hubby these pics and this is just making us miss Jamaica even more now. So glad you go to venture out and see the everyday hustle and bustle of things. We missed that on our trip :/ That water is perfect right? Warm, crystal blue and just beautiful.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Ahhh, these pictures are unreal! So gorgeous!

  5. We love Jamaica! Thanks for the reminder! Pinning!

  6. ArtSea Chic says:

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like a fantastic time!

  7. We love Jamaica and can’t wait to go back! Those pictures are great. That first pic is absolutely amazing, too!

  8. Dude, next time you have to take me with you!! LOL! It looks & sounds like you guys had a really awesome time! Love getting to see all of these amazing pictures. 🙂

  9. That first picture is so stunning. I was I had an a good eye and steadiness to take such stunning photo’s. So glad that you guys got to hit the beach and warm water. You must miss it the way I miss the mountains and lakes when I am away from them to long. *Sarah Grace

  10. Nice blog! Yes, most of the murals at Jamnesia are mine. I started doing them on 2007. The one pic you have of the waves with the speakers is not mine. That was done by art students in Jamaica.