Words by George Chambers. Photos by John Mcbean.
Located in the southern parish of St. Elizabeth, Treasure Beach is the kind of place you don’t arrive at by accident. It’s 3 hours from Kingston, 2.5 hours from Montego Bay, and it's not really on the way to anywhere. Treasure Beach is also not a beach, rather a collection of bays – Billy's Bay, Frenchman's Bay, Calabash Bay and Pedro Bay – dotted with fishing boats and a few thousand residents stretched along the south coast. Our friends at Jake’s Hotel in Treasure Beach call their community simply “a neighbourhood”.
Fishers like Khani and Captain John call it home. Both are from the area and have been fishing out of Calabash Bay for decades. “I just love the sea,” says Khani. “Every day you go to the sea you see something different.”
Jakes's boss, Jason Henzell, a lifelong resident of the community, says while fishing remains very important, the sea can provide a lot more for visitors and locals alike.
Khani and Captain John, for example, regularly take visitors on the water for one of a kind experiences like boat trips to the famous over-the-water Pelican Bar, down the coast for a Black River Safari or a fishing trip to their favourite local spot.
Henzell says Treasure Beach stands out because of the neighbourhood atmosphere. “I love the independence & pride of the people of Treasure Beach,” he says.
This love for the local is passed on to visitors. “We at Jakes enjoy an extremely close relationship with fishermen and farmers in the area,” he said. Henzell pointed to ‘The Hook N Line’ charity fishing tournament every October which sees both locals and visitors trolling the seas for the heaviest catch.
Despite the year round attention, Treasure Beach continues to maintain an aura of quiet excitement. Indeed, it's a small town vibes on the world stage. That's Treasure Beach. And that’s Jamaica too.
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