Challenges Aplenty

When sailing on the inter-island ferry between Trinidad and Tobago, bending the northwestern peninsula of Trinidad, passengers feel the strength of the sea’s power. In that swathe of salt water and currents, where the Güiria and Western Peninsula almost kiss, seacraft, large and small, are tossed around Las Bocas del Dragón (Mouths of the Dragon – De Bocas in T&T English Creole). 

The sea crossing between Trinidad’s north western peninsula and the Peninsula de Paria known popularly in T&T as “ de Bocas”

It is a middle passage that was crossed skilfully, in the face of danger, by indigenous people. Spanish colonisers exited Venezuela through the Bocas del Serpiente, into the Bocas del Dragon, and into open waters, then to Trinidad and Margarita (Spanish Trinidad – Morales Padrón). 

Members of Simón Bolívar’s revolutionary army executing attacks on the “realistas” from Trinidad’s islet Chacachacare (source). Trinidad historian Michael Anthony writes that Christopher Columbus was hesitant to sail through the Bocas on his third voyage to the “Índias”. For the last ten years, it has been crossed daily by Venezuelans seeking asylum, refuge, and better economic opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago. 

The crossing and what it implies have not become any less treacherous.