The Fishing Boats of Jacmel

For some reason, I am absolutely fascinated with old fishing boats. Their peeling paint and worn down appearance make me so curious to learn their history. Who made them? Who owns them? What are they used for? All questions I would love to know but usually don’t find out due to language barriers when traveling.

When I was in Jacmel, on the southern coast of Haiti in February as part of my visit with Heart of Haiti (#Bloggers4Haiti), our hotel was located right on the sea with stunning views of the Caribbean. I noticed a collection of old fishing boats below on the beach and decided to walk down and explore.

The view from above on the verandah was so inviting it was hard to leave our hotel. But curiosity got the best of me. I’m an explorer at heart not one to sit on the beach.

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Many Haitians that live in coastal areas rely on fishing as their income. However, there is much need for modernization of boats and equipment. The majority of Haitian fishermen still have old, run-down canoes without motors and use handmade nets to catch their fish. Not a very effective way but the only way for many Haitians who live in the most extreme poverty in the Western Hemisphere.

As I walked down the old wooden stairs to the beach and got closer to the boats, I noticed a few fishermen nearby chatting away in Creole, the native language of Haiti. I wished I could talk with them but although Creole sounds a bit like French its combination with African languages makes it an entirely different language.

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

I wondered how old these boats were and what kind of fish they caught. A question I never got answered but still think about today.

As the sun set, I couldn’t resist taking a few more shots of the changing light on the boats. Their colors seemed to bounce off the sea. I wished I had more time to explore the beauty of Haiti then only five short days. Her history, culture and natural beauty seduced me in an unexpected, delightful way. Sometimes these kinds of rare finds are the best when traveling.

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

I realized too that you can’t look at the world with expectations. You must embrace traveling with your eyes wide open, patient and ready to take everything you see in. No judgement. Just acceptance on the differences. Otherwise you are greatly missing a lot of the beauty of travel.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat. To view more entries, click here. 


  1. Part of the fun of travel is the differences (at least many of them.) As for exploring or sitting (on the beach, terrace, or elsewhere), I enjoy both. 🙂


  2. maamej

    Lovely shot of the boats through the trees. They are very photogenic in close up too, & wise words about travel.

  3. Oh I would have been exploring like you for sure! I love doing that- poking about in the ‘ordinary’ parts of a place we visit. Don and I call it ‘flaneuring’. And of course you found out all you really needed to know about the boats – their life and beauty. Love your last paragraph.

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  6. Great shots and post, Nicole — I love what you wrote here “You must embrace traveling with your eyes wide open, patient and ready to take everything you see in. No judgement. ” 🙂

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  8. Sue

    Fabulous old boats – what stories they could tell…. Like you, I love old things, and coming across the unexpected makes a trip for me 😀

  9. Loved your closeup photos of these old fishing boats, Nicole. They really look like they’ve done a lot of work in their time. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all understand each other’s languages? 🙂

  10. Beautiful place! And I, like you, can’t sit on a beach too much; I have to get out there and explore, even if it’s a place I’ve been to before. I love your last paragraph!

  11. This images were similar to those we saw when living in Mexico. I too love the old fishing boats. These look like they have weathered a lot. Love that last paragraph of yours Nicole…so true.

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