11: A Trip up Black River and a Stop at Sister Lou’s for Crab

I’ve been out on a boat with Dennis (Shabba) Abrahams every time I’ve been to Treasure Beach, we met there on our first trip in 2003 over dinner at Mar Blue.  I’ve even traveled from Negril to meet up with him to take a boat trip, that’s how much fun it is to spend a day on the water with him.

But when you are IN Treasure Beach, it’s especially fun because there is no car trip involved, Dennis picks up at your hotel-villa beach or close to it, and you go do your thing then get dropped off there too. This trip was no exception. I contacted him before arriving to set up a day, and ran into him at boxing at the Sports Park and then a few more times as he passed on the water or pulled up to “our” beach at Old Wharf with other guests through the week.

Here we are, boarding at Calabash Bay fishing co-op, a 2 minute walk down the beach from Mar Blue. Dennis was waiting for us with ice for our cooler of drinks.

Here is Dennis:

Its a lovely ride west to the river along the coast. 99% of the time we see dolphins but today we didn’t. It was still a lovely sunny day.


Approaching the town of Black River we turn up the river the town is named for:

Once on the river, there are many people, animals and things to see….

This river is called Black River because of the dark bottom, not because of the water itself – that’s crystal clear once you move from the brackish part near the sea to the freshwater part past the low bridge (one of many reasons to do this trip in a small boat rather than a pontoon tour boat – the small boats can pass under that bridge and get to a part of the river  the big boats cannot).

Most people go on the river to see these and we were not disappointed:

But further up, in the freshwater part of the river, there aren’t any crocodiles. They prefer salty/brackish water.  So up there, at a spot called Cheese Rock or Rudy’s (for the owner of the bar located at that spot), one can do this:

It’s very refreshing after being in the hot sun, trust me 🙂


There is even a rope swing off the dock.


After working up an appetite swimming, it’s great to stop at Sister Lou’s for the freshest crab I’ve ever had.


This photo shows the low bridge only small boats can pass under.
See how clear the water is?
But what we are here for is crab. Miss Lou takes the crab out of the shell, seasons it and puts it back in for easy delicious eating. $400J (around $4US) for an order of 2 crab.

Some things that are new for 2013, different from the first time we did this trip with Dennis in 2003: the smaller boats are now required to be specially licensed  to take people up Black River. Dennis is, as are about 10 more Treasure Beach boat captains. I am not sure which captains in Black River are but it is something to consider.   In Treasure Beach training and certification is going on and more captains are getting the license for the river, so things should be back to normal eventually.

After this delicious snack, we will head out to Pelican Bar….

(Thanks again to Smitty, Tommy and China for lending me some photos for this blog entry)

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