Pigeon Island: A Day in Paradise

June 9, 2023

In a previous blog post, I mentioned Lime Cay, a small cay off the shore of Kingston, Jamaica. After posting, it occurred to me that though I've heard so much about it I've never actually been there. I immediately started hatching a plan to get there before the year ends. Spending the day on an uninhabited island with pristine white sand and clear blue water intrigued me. So imagine my surprise and excitement when I received an invitation to explore Pigeon Island for a day. When I tell you the Lord truly works in mysterious ways. I already had plans for the weekend, but since this adventure perfectly coincided with my plans I accepted the invitation.

Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island is a small uninhabited islet off the coast of Clarendon and St. Catherine. There isn't a lot of information online for Pigeon Island Jamaica. However, from what I've seen, this captivating island boasts a thriving ecosystem, buzzing with life. It is also a reputable spot among members of the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club. The tiny island is accessible by boat from Mitchell Town in Clarendon, and Moores Pen in St Catherine. Local fishermen and boat operators offer transportation services from both locations. This means visitors can hire a boat to reach the island. The journey from Moores Pen takes around 25 to 30 minutes. Since the island is closer to the shores of Clarendon, it may take less time to get there. Similarly to Lime Cay, the island lacks facilities or amenities, so visitors should bring food, water, and other necessities.

Getting There

Journeying from Kingston we exited the P.J. Patterson Highway after passing the Vineyards Toll Plaza. After exiting the highway, we took the left, heading into Old Harbour Bay. From there, we followed the road that would eventually lead us to the community of Moores Pen. We reached the rendezvous spot to board the boat that would take us to Pigeon Island.

Boat Troubles

After a brief conversation with our boat captain Mr Coley and his wife, we proceeded to board the boat. The discussion entailed some safety precautions as we received assistance with our life jackets. Since we had a large group they determined that two boats would take us to Pigeon Island. The problem arose at this point. When our boat was pushed out to sea, I expected to hear the sputter of the engine coming to life. However, I was met with silence. The boat behind us quickly revved to life with a few pulls from Mr Coley. After multiple futile attempts to start, we realized that this boat had no intention to take us to our destination.

This was happening while we drifted further away from the shoreline. Mr Coley, realizing that our boat had stalled expertly turned his boat around to render assistance. After tinkering with the engine, they decided to tow the boat to shore for further inspection or part replacement. Miraculously, the engine came to life as if it detested the idea of being towed to shore.

While this was happening we, who were on board waited with bated breath while slow roasting in the sun. All I can say is I'm happy they invented sunscreen. Things cooled down when we started our journey. We enjoyed the panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea while the crisp salty air whipped our faces along the way. On the way, we passed Goat Island, another of Jamaica's offshore islands. We also got our dose of salt water as we were soaking wet by the time we arrived.

We Made It!

The sun wasn't much better on the island but the spot at which we laid out our belongings was somewhat shaded by trees and this was a welcome respite from the sun. A few chickens greeted us upon arrival and the captain informed us that other fishermen had brought them to the island. I also spotted a few ground lizards eek! The beach surrounding Pigeon Island is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful I've seen in Jamaica. Despite being overrun by sargassum which had an odour in some areas, the powdery white sand and crystal-clear water are truly a sight to behold. A meal was a part of the package for our excursion so while Mr and Mrs Coley unloaded their supplies and prepared to start cooking, we the explorers quickly found a spot to lay or hang up our belongings and headed off to explore the island.

Lost On An Island?

We walked along the coastline and found a nice spot for photos. Since most people on this trip were content creators everyone was off getting content. I, however, was there for the beach so after getting a few shots and videos the water was calling my name and I happily heeded the call. The sun was scorching but the water felt amazing. The water was also shallow and as it was crystal-clear it is perfect for snorkelling. I caught sight of a few small fishes darting beneath the surface close to the shore.

Sometime later we decided to head back to grab a bite, but because we were in the mood to explore the island further we decided to walk along the perimeter of the island. I was grossly underprepared for the trek, having left my water shoes at home, but as a trooper, I pushed on. It seemed like we would never reach the other side as the walk seemed to stretch forever. At some point, we headed in land to cut the journey short, however, we made it to a section that was completely overgrown so we had to head back towards the water. We eventually made it to the other side but it still took us some time to get back to where we onboarded the boats.

Here for the Food

We finally made it, but the joy was short-lived when we realized that the meal wasn't quite ready. Within a few mins, however, we were able to eat. Our meal was simple but delicious. It consisted of fish/chicken a few slices of bread and an escovitch sauce on the side and a cup of fish soup for anyone who needed it. We ate, chatted and fed the chickens who were more than happy to help up finish our meal. A short while later we were packing up to head back to the mainland. There were now three boats waiting to take us back and I'm happy to say I jumped ship because I had no faith in the boat that took us over and lo and behold it stalled again. This time, they had no choice but to tow it back to the mainland.

The End of a Good Day

Spending the day on Pigeon Island was an unforgettable adventure. The beautiful island sadly has its fair share of trash scattered around, which is the unfortunate situation for a few of our hidden gems in Jamaica. This, however, does not take away from the magnificence. The inviting beach is ideal for a lazy day spent lounging in the sun or if you are in the mood for an adventure you can explore the island. If you decide to go though, be sure to watch out for sea urchins.

Things to bring with you

  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Hat and sunglasses: Shield yourself from the sun and glare.
  • Swimsuit: You will definitely want to take a dip.
  • Extra clothes: Pack a change of clothes in case you get wet or want to cover up.
  • Water and snacks: Stay hydrated and bring some light snacks for energy.
  • Picnic or beach blanket: Have a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy a meal or relax.
  • Water shoes or Crocs: Protect your feet from rough surfaces or sharp objects.
  • Waterproof bag: Keep your belongings dry and secure.
  • Insect repellent: Ward off mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Camera or phone: Capture beautiful moments and memories.
  • Cash or cards: Carry some money for any purchases or emergencies.
  • Snorkelling gear: Bring appropriate gear if you plan on snorkelling.
  • Waterproof phone case: Protects your phone from water damage

Have you ever spent a day on an uninhabited island? Tell me in the comments below.

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  • Reply Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle June 9, 2023 at 7:53 am

    How lovely! Perhaps I’ll put Pigeon Island a little higher on my list after reading this guide. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Kimberley June 9, 2023 at 8:56 am

      I agree put it higher lol. Thanks so much for reading!

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