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Standup Paddle Boarding Into Paradise at Silver Sands Jamaica

By Geoff Gibson

5:30? In the morning?? Is the sun even up then? I'm the wrong person to ask. Turns out, not only is the sun up, it has burnished the sea into multiple shades of turquoise that compel your attention and wonder. At this hour, the sea breeze has yet to kick in, so our soon to be playground is mirror smooth and inviting. After sufficient infusions of delicious Jamaican coffee, we have the boards on the water in front of Endless Summer, and we're off.

geoff gibson on paddle board at sunrise

Paddle out and around Fisherman's Beach, and we're into the open water. And my God what water! We are seeing the reefs pass beneath our feet with a clarity to rival the best dive trip anywhere. Forget all those superlatives about clear water. The only time you are even aware there is anything between you and the bottom is when the occasional ripple flows beneath your board, bending, and playing with the light, reminding you that you really are floating on the surface of the most beautiful water on the planet. Star fish, sea fans, coral,  tropical fish; all in abundance, and in contrast to so many reefs I have seen lately, looking healthy, vibrant, and thriving. 

under the sea

Prem announces that we are about to arrive at the smallest white sand beach in Jamaica. "Baby Beach" is nestled at the foot of a cliff, approximately twelve feet long, with a backdrop of some beautiful rose colored stone. Inaccessible except by shallow water craft. Sandwiched between the coral reef, and the steep, vertical cliff, a small slice of paradise few will ever see. We reckon we are roughly one third of the way to our destination, so it's a good time to enjoy our granola bars in the shade by the cliff on the edge of this perfect spit of beach.


approaching Baby Beach

Geoff on Baby Beach


Shoving off, and continuing West, we soon find that the reef has shoaled off to such a point that we have mere inches of water under our boards. Avoiding the specter of an inadvertent fall onto the coral at this depth, we work our way further out to sea. It seems that each stroke brings us into sight of yet another beautiful white sand beach. You could spend the whole day lazily drifting form one to the other.

paddle boarding by the cliffs of Carey Park


I tell Prem it feels like we are passing over the Beatles' Octopuses' Garden. He yells back that he is passing over several young sting rays snoozing lazily on the bottom. They don't even seem aware that we are passing over them. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a black form flashing it's dark silhouette as he knifes through the coral at warp speed – a young black fin shark. So perfect, and beautiful, I want to see more of him, but no sooner do I call out to Prem for a  look, and he is gone, arcing and vanishing into the deep with vertiginous speed. A joy to behold, even if only for the briefest moments.  As though to assuage our loss, the sea offers up a consolation prize. Prem floats across a four foot leopard ray flying over the bottom with those weird yet incredibly graceful bird like movements of his wings. 

fisherman's canoe


As we pass a diver towing his canoe behind as he spears fishes, Prem advises him about the shark. With a laugh and a smile, it's apparent that he is content to coexist with his brother fisherman. It's part of his world, and he has clearly seen it all before.

canoe and fisherman in the sea


As we pass Carey Park, we come up on two fishermen working their gill net in the shallows just offshore. We pause briefly to watch them harvest their catch before moving on. We've been on the water for  a couple of hours now, and breakfast is beckoning ever more strongly. Soon we are in familiar waters, passing our kiteboarding spot on Burwood Beach in beautiful White Bay. 

canoe and hotels in the distance

As we approach the Blue Water area, the pristine nature of our trip subtly begins to change. We are reentering civilization, and leaving the unspoiled, untouched coastline. Work is proceeding apace on the new wing of the Royalton Hotel. We can see Blue Water resort in the distance, and decide to check in to see if our kiteboarding Buddy, Bryan is on lifeguard duty today. Approaching Blue Water, we pass  Pelican Log, with its' resident bird keeping watch on our surroundings. It's the kind of sight you would see on a tourism brochure somewhere. Mr. Pelican is clearly more interested in breakfast than in two guys on paddle boards passing him by. Bryan's not at work today, so we retrace our steps back to Mangos Resort.

Geoff on the paddle board

Too soon, we are pulling the boards ashore. You could almost hear the early morning beach goers asking each other, “Where the heck did those guys come from?” With the boards safely on the beach, we tucked in to a delicious breakfast. We visited a while with Steve, the resort manager and enjoyed the friendliness and hospitality of his staff.


Then, boards on the car, and we're on our way back to Endless Summer. Our adventure paddle into paradise is a memory I will treasure forever.


Silver Sands Villas Jamaica News