Morant Point Light House, Saint Thomas Parish, Jamaica
The Morant Point Lighthouse, an unmistakable red and white, 100-foot tall, 18-foot wide cast iron tower, was built in 1841. It is the oldest lighthouse in Jamaica, and certainly one of the more sturdy; located on the farthest tip of the island’s east coast, the first point of impact from hurricanes, it has withstood the brute force of gale-force winds and high seas. Kru men, West African workers who came to the island as indentured labourers from Sierra Leone, built the lighthouse. Thus, the area is known for its strong retention of African customs and heritage – even today strains of African-influenced language, religion and settlement patterns have been recorded here.
The balcony at the top of the lighthouse provides a phenomenal view of the various cane pieces of the estate, the Blue Mountain range, the St Thomas coastline and the seemingly endless Caribbean Sea. To the west of the lighthouse lies one of the most secluded yet spectacular beaches on the island, Holland Bay. The route to the lighthouse and the beach is not direct, nor is it easily accessible. Do not attempt the journey in anything less than a very reliable vehicle, and be prepared to get lost in the cane fields.
Holland Bay, a large cove with a strong surf and powder-white sand, is certainly worth the trek through an unmarked cane area starting in Golden Grove. Most times, the beach is deserted and serene, with the only noises coming from the nearby lighthouse compound.
From the balcony of the Morant Point Lighthouse, uninterrupted views of Jamaica’s eastern coastline, the vast greenery of the sugar and banana plantations and the blue shadows of the Blue Mountain range are sure to dazzle and amaze. Do exercise caution ascending and descending the stairs; there are MANY of them, and they are somewhat steep.