National Geographic : 1931 Jan
SKYPATHS THROUGH LATIN AMERICA Photograph by Capt. A . W. Stevens TRINIDAD'S FAMOUS "PITCH LAKE," WIIERE, AS EARLY AS 1595, SIR WALTER RALEIGH CALKED HIS SHIPS This natural phenomenon, more than Ioo acres in extent, has for many years yielded a steady income to the colonial government of Trinidad. In appearance the "lake" is a level tract of asphalt dotted with puddles of muddy water. As pitch is removed, more rises in its place, in big roundish lumps with fissures between them. One may walk across if he keeps moving. In spots liquid pitch oozes out. In the lower left is the plant of the company which digs and exports the asphalt; at the upper left, a part of the village built for pitch-lake laborers (see, also, text, pages 37, 40, and 41). owned Leeward group. Flying over its capital, St. John, with its two-towered Cathedral of the Church of England, we circled over the island to see its plantations. Many ruined mills lifted their old stone towers where big wind wheels once turned the rollers to squeeze out cane juice. From well-kept fields and gardens work ers waved to us; dogs chased our shadow, and a nervous cow jumped from her pen and ran for the brush. Paved roads were crowded with carts. Word had gone far down ocean lanes that a party of Americans was coming, with many cameras, to make a pictorial story of this increasingly popular air cruise over the West Indies; so crowds welcomed us at the pier. Many people wanted to help us; others came to see the big plane or get a free joy ride. "Our chief claim to fame is our link with the historic past," said a British official who took me to see famous old English Harbour.