For many, the bumpy six-kilometre route between Boston Bay and Long Bay, with its great views of pounding surf and rolling pastureland, will always be known as Errol Flynn country. The erstwhile screen idol bought a 2000-acre estate here in the 1950s, and his widow, Patrice Wymore, managed the groves of coconuts and guavas and its grazing beef cattle here until her death in 2014. The prime seafront property had already been on sale for some years, but her passing may well speed the pace of change.
By the time he arrived in Jamaica in 1947, Errol Flynn’s movie career was already in decline. The era of the swashbuckler was drawing to a close, and the Australian actor – star of classic movies like The Sea Hawk and Captain Blood – had begun to fall from favour with the studios. Nonetheless, coming ashore in his famed yacht Zaca (now moored in Monaco and allegedly still haunted by Flynn’s face and the sounds of a wild party), Flynn quickly worked his way into local legend. Well known for his powers of seduction, formidable drinking and addiction to gambling, the star reputedly lost Navy Island off Port Antonio in an unfortunate poker bet.
Flynn loved Jamaica, buying the Titchfield Hotel in Port Antonio, plus Navy Island, and later, with his third wife Patrice Wymore, setting up a ranch near Boston Bay. A string of celebrities attended the wild parties at his hotels – but unsuccessful efforts to resurrect his movie career and continuing bouts of heavy drinking and ill health were already taking their toll. During his final years, Flynn spent much of his time at Titchfield with the teenage actress Beverley Aadland. On his death in 1959, Aadland asked that Flynn be buried in Jamaica, but Wymore insisted that his body go to Hollywood. Today, despite the tarnishing of his reputation through tales of his exploitation of local girls, many people in the area remember the one-time heartthrob with affection.