Drive ten miles outside of Negril, past the famous Seven Mile Beach, past the All Inlcusives on Bloody Bay – most would think we were heading back to the airport but just after you pass Rhodes Hall you’ll start seeing a series of signs:
“Looking for something different?”
Progressive signs continue until you happen on a driveway with a playful little graphic: A moon surrounded by a knife, fork and spoon. Down that driveway is what proprietor Andrew Mar likes to call “Paradise Found”.
Half Moon Beach is an awesome property. The Beach is about two acres, give or take. The crystalline bay is large and shallow. You can walk for what seems like miles with the water just up to your ankles. It’s not a swimming beach, no – more like a wading beach, which I prefer. The beach itself is sugary soft and white, perfect for dropping a towel and lying down. Its beauty is breath-taking; its quiet and it hints of something not quite discovered.
The property has been in Andrew’s family for generations and he has a passion and commitment to its stewardship. It’s a favorite spot for locals; a place to escape from the tourists for a while, to relax and spend their day off in tranquility.
For the posse it is an opportunity to get out of the yard, get in the bus and get silly in just one more place that not only tolerates but encourages silly.
We are greeted by Andrew, Tania and their twin girls with warmth and exuberance. They are always glad to see the posse, let’s face it – we bring an energy that is light and carefree…and we drink…a lot. We hang out in the bar for a few minutes, catching up with everyone that may be there, ordering our first round of drinks and some food. Libations in hand we make our move down to the beach, to “our spot” under a tree on the eastern most part of the property. We hang our hammocks, drag over chairs and loungers and spread out our towels and blankets. We place our packs and bags up in the little Lanai that Andrew built a few years back and quickly get down to the business of relaxing and enjoying each other.
The dogs at Half Moon Beach soon find us and its play-time. One of the coolest dogs I’ve ever known was Fozzie Bear, Half Moon’s resident full-bred/in-bred German Shepherd. Fozzie had a “thing” for rocks. He developed this obsession after Hurricane Dean while Andrew was cleaning up the beach, tossing the rocks that had washed up into a pile. Fozzie saw this as one big game, chasing the rocks, grabbing them one at a time and dropping them back by Andrew’s feet. Soon, instead of into the pile, Andrew started tossing them into the sea – and a legend was born.
I saw this obsession for the first time the following winter when out of nowhere the dog would be in the sea, looking down, pawing at something and making odd growling noises. Suddenly the growling stopped, his head disappears into the sea only to reappear with a large rock clenched in his jaw. He then pranced proudly up the beach and dropped the boulder at my feet (thankfully, not ON my feet), backed up stooped and stared at me with this queer yet menacing look. He would not budget until I picked up the rock and hoisted it back into the sea. Game on.
Sadly Fozzie passed away not long before we arrived on island last winter. His bredren, Bruno and Guiness try to play the rock game but they don’t quite get it. They would rather like in the sand with us, getting the occasional pat on the head.
No matter what, we always bring music to Half Moon Beach. We have our IPod and its docking station and we also bring musical instruments.
Over the years the posse has participated in some high musical moments there, both on the beach and in the bar.
Half Moon is more than a beach – the place is rife with places to explore. Since Andrew maintains the natural integrity of the property, you can walk among the trees and bush and shoreline to discover a wealth of sea shells, rocks and coral collected at the high water line. Further inland, tucked into the bush is the “Boat Graveyard” – a collection of once sea-faring vessels that have for a variety of reasons come to retire amongst the grass and the vines.
The day ends where it began – in the bar as we pack up our things, have one last drink with our hosts and watch the sunset. We pile back into the bus, salty and sweaty from the day.
It’s Sunday – it’s beautiful out – and anyone who has anything they have to do don’t have to do it today. Today is Sunday Family Outing Day at Half Moon Beach