Monday, July 25, 2016

Reef Bay

I haven't been able to spend much time with the interpretation division since I've been down here. So, although I am familiar with the nature of law enforcement on St. John, I felt that I was lacking in general knowledge and history about the island itself. As a result, one of the highlights of my eighth week in the park was the Reef Bay hike that I went on led by some other interns. I can confidently say I learned a lot. The hike started around 9:30 and ended around 1:30.
Started here..
Ended here..
It was about a 900 feet descending hike so it wasn't the most strenuous walk in the world. I did lots of neat things like eat a fruit called Stinky Toe. The reason why it is called Stinky Toe is because and as you can guess, it smells like a stinky foot dipped in garbage juice. Oddly enough, it doesn't taste nearly as bad as it smells. Islands things you know? They categorized it as a fruit but, it doesn't resemble one or feel like one.

Stinky Toe. Inside, it is sort of a sweet powdery substance.
Next on the hike, we came across this very cool and weirdly shaped tree that was/is famously responsible for producing silk and cotton. Planters and slaves used to rely on the silk and cotton produced from this tree as a trading product and for pillows to sleep on at night. They would also make whole mattresses stuffed with silk and cotton.

The Taino people were originally the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. By the 15th century, they were the main inhabitants of Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. They were a people really into honoring their ancestors that came before them. If you look closely on the same silk and cotton producing tree, you can see eyes and faces carved into them. The Taino people made a habit of doing this a lot of places that they went.

See how weirdly it's shaped..
Here you can see the carvings..

Soon after we came across some quarters for where slaves would be placed during the night. European contact began in the 15th century and slaves were beginning to be brought during the late 1600s by the Danish. The Dutch put about 40-45 slaves in each of these quarters at a time. 

Slavery Housing (Ruins)
Next stop, PETROGLYPHS (check spelling). Yet another example of the Taino people honoring their past ancestors whenever they found an opportunity. Pretty cool stuff to see. Definitely, something to preserve without question.

Your ancestors are watching you buddy..
After everything was said and done, the end stop was Genti Bay which is apart of the larger Reef Bay. Learned a lot and would definitely hike that again.


No comments:

Post a Comment