Land bridge across Channel
Exceptionally low tide reveals...
Pirogues make their way on a daily basis along the nearest route between Cedros and Pedernales.
This takes them well east of Soldado where treacherous conditions threaten life and limb. Captains make their way along familiar routes across the Channel aware of the dangers that exist if they drift off course.
Some of these dangers are hidden most of the time by the high tides that sweep east to west across the Columbus Channel and by the turbulence caused when tides change in the Gulf of Paria.
Having travelled this route often this column is well familiar with the conditions of the crossing throughout the year. However, I experienced a novelty during an exceptionally low tide recently. I just had to request the captain's indulgence for this unusual sighting.
We changed course for awhile and were soon circling the sea bird sanctuary of Soldado Rock.
We admired the thousands of birds that made this small place their nesting ground. Some were soaring overhead while others sat atop the cliffs or sought shelter in rock crevices.
They were quite undisturbed here as rough seas and a raised platform around the Rock ensured inaccessibility to poachers. The Rock is really off the regular boating route therefore it is considered as being isolated.
Pointing the bow of the boat south of the Rock, we were all astounded at the long line of stones protruding for more than ten feet out of the water and stretching away it seemed to the nearest part of Venezuela.
According to the captain, this long line of stone is always there but because of tidal situations it remains more or less submerged. This is also the reason why captains shun the area for fear of damage to their boats.
We met one pirogue that had two large fish on board some time ago. The captain claimed that these were caught around the stone.
"Fishermen catch real plenty fish here, huge ones too. But, this is a very dangerous place because tides change real fast and powerful here. If you don't know what you doing it could mean the end of you and your boat. A diver once tried his luck here but it is like a death sentence under there with all those strong currents and rocks. He came back up after just about two minutes. The fight was too much for him."
We looked at the line of rocks some reaching past twelve feet above the water at some points. It was obvious that no one could disembark here though I desperately wanted to, just to explore a little. Seriously though, our thoughts dwelt on the implications of the mere presence of this line of rocks. We just knew that we were watching remnants of what seems to be the land bridge referred to in history journals.
How many millions of years ago had this been dry land connecting Trinidad to South America as the former slowly drifted further and further away?
How many more years will Icacos be the peninsula extending the south west area of Trinidad? This was the hot topic on board as we thought about the coastal erosion that is claiming this part of our island mass at a now accelerated pace.