Chaguaramas Boardwalk

The pedestrian boardwalk at Williams Bay courses east then southeast from the CDA Estate Police post, at its current western extreme, for 2,437 feet (.46 miles) skirting the Williamˈs Bay shoreline and a seawall heading towards Tembladora. A stroll along the full length--if one ventures pass the barrier before the Kayak Centre--from the small beach at its western end to Tembladora and back again, will take 20–25 minutes: heading east, one treks by two lifeguard stations, decks (with sitting benches), coconut trees and public showers and restrooms; at the elbow in the path, where it turns south, straight ahead is the Boardwalk information booth, heading south, on the left, there is a police post, a remote car track, more decks, jogging track and seawall, open spaces, almond trees, miniature golf putting surface (a future attraction), children's water play area and then the Kayak Centre.

Chaguaramas Boardwalk, South View to Five Islands

As well as its landscaped verges, presented to the stroller are the Northern Range to the northeast, with Morne Catherine to the northwest, then, a seascape view of Williams Bay: Hartˈs Cut1 and Pier 1 to the west, Pointe Gourde2 to the west southwest, Alcoa to the east southeast, Five Islands including Caledonia and Craig islands to the south, slightly west and behind them Nelson Island3, approaching Tembladora, Carrera Island4 can be better seen towards the west southwest, south of Pointe Gourde and, barely above the horizon, southeastward, the west coast of central Trinidad.

Five Islands
Five Islands
Hartˈs Cut
Hartˈs Cut
Pointe Gourde
Pointe Gourde
Nelson Island
Nelson Island
Carrera Island
Carrera Island

In the early morning, the Chaguaramas Boardwalk is shaded from the sun by the mountain to its east. Above is sky blue, toward the horizon is powder blue, beneath, the sea reflects the blue of the sky or, depending on conditions, is aquamarine or else sea green. By midday, on some days, a stiff breeze from the southeast may prevail creating small whitecaps, rustling leaves and carrying away light objects. Almond trees, with wide spreading branches, offer islands of shade from a noon sun. In the late afternoon, an orange sunset over Pointe Gourde is captivating. By night, light pollution is considerably less than Port of Spain and may afford a clearer view of the stars but restricted by the close mountains.

In Williamˈs Bay, at various times, there may be water crafts and activities: perhaps a jet skier; a windsurfer; kayaker; racing dragon boats; fishing pirogue, Laser, Optimist or Express dinghy with filled sails, or an offshore yacht, water taxi; and southward towards the horizon: a Tobago fast ferry (Port of Spain to Tobago) waking a trail of white water; shuttle vessel (barge), with alumina, heading for ALCOA, maybe escorted by a tug boat; a patrolling coast guard Fast Patrol Boat (FPB); or a loaded container ship, etc.

Optimist Dinghy
Optimist Dinghy
Laser Dinghy
Laser Dinghy
 Off Shore M24 Racer
Off Shore M24 Racer
 Skerry Cruiser - Off Shore Yacht
Skerry Cruiser - Off Shore Yacht
Wind Surfer
Wind Surfer
Jet Skier
Jet Skier
Cabin Cruiser
Cabin Cruiser
Kayaker
Kayaker
Pirogue
Pirogue
Dragon Boat
Dragon Boat
Chaguaramas Fast Ferry
Fast Ferry
Water Taxi
Water Taxi
Tour Boat
Tour Boat
Barge
Barge (Shuttle Vessel)
Tug Boat
Tug Boat
Container Ship
Container Ship
Fast Patrol Boat
Fast Patrol Boat
Oil Platform
Oil Platform

A stroller may be able to witness, if lucky, an Osprey snatching, with its talons, a fish from just beneath the surface of the water or, more likely, spot a web-footed Brown Pelican, Gull or Tern (any of them dive fishing), maybe, on the shoreline or in the shallows, when the tide is out, long-legged, wading Southern Lapwing, Heron or Sandpiper, or a Cattle Egret in grassy patches or, soaring on thermals above, during the day, magnificent frigate birds, turkey vultures and black vultures and, on the wing or congregating near people and competing for scraps, the common pigeon.

Southern Lapwing
Southern Lapwing
Sandpiper
Sandpiper
Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret
Heron
Heron
Pelican
Pelican
Gull
Gull
Tern
Tern
Vulture
Vulture
Osprey
Osprey
Frigate Bird
Frigate Bird
Pigeon
Pigeon

The opportunity may present itself, in the shallows, when the tide is out, to observe echinoderms, i.e., marine animals, typically recognized by their five-point radial symmetry, amongst them are starfish and sea urchins. Some other aquatic creatures known to be in the bay, are Haemulon parra5, Grey Snapper, aka Mangrove Snapper6, Checkered Southern Puffer7, Lane Snapper8, turtle grass, a species of marine sea grass, and Sea Anemone9.

Starfish
Starfish
Sea Anemone
Sea Anemone
Urchin
Urchin
 Checkered Puffer
Checkered Puffer
 Grunt (HaemulonParra)
Grunt (Haemulon parra)
Lane Snapper
Lane Snapper
Mangrove Snapper
Mangrove Snapper (Grey Snapper)

Boardwalk Etiquette

  • Keep a good pace when walking
  • Stand to the side of the boardwalk if it becomes necessary to stop
  • Donˈt get drunk on the boardwalk
  • Donˈt feed the birds or other animals
  • Observe flags and posted signs, particularly with regards to lifeguard bathing instructions.
  • Put garbage in bins

The Boardwalk Project

The first phase of the Chaguaramas Boardwalk10, the west to the east leg from the beach, was opened May 2012--the fruition of an idea conceived decades before. The second phase, reaching towards Tembladora, but currently stopping at the Kayak Centre, was launched December 201411. As phase I and II of the boardwalk project have been completed, a further, phase III is intended from Pier 2, 2,000 feet (.38 miles), to The Military History & Aerospace Museum heading west, pass Chagville, for an overall boardwalk length of 4,425 feet (.84 miles).

Notes

1 The location of a former narrow channel cut in the neck of Point Gourde by Daniel Hart in 1856 but then filled in during the Second World War.

2 Pointe Gourde still has remnants of Spanish and British defenses and is famed as the point where Spanish Rear Admiral Apodaca scuttled his fleet in 1779 when the British seized Trinidad from Spain.

3 First used by the indigenous peoples, then during the 19th and early 20th centuries Nelson Island was a disembarkation point and quarantine for indentured immigrants, a detention centre in the 1930s for union activists, a seaplane base during World War II, used by the Americans, and in 1970s, again as a detention centre, for the insurrectionists in the local Black Power Revolt.

4Carrera, a 20 acres island, has been used as a convict prison from as far back as 1854.

5A silvery fish of the western Atlantic that commonly grows to 30cm.

6A greyish redfish of the western Atlantic commonly around 40cm.

7An olive-grey fish of the Caribbean around 10 - 18cm.

8Silvery-pink to reddish fish of the western Atlantic typically around 25cm.

9A predatory polyp attached at its bottom to the seabed.

10 The walkway is made of a concrete substructure with a recycled plastic decking.

11Main issues that have arisen relate to upkeep and maintenance, resulting from heavy usage, weathering and want of janitorial attention, and on peak occasions, particularly weekends and holidays, there are difficulties accessing the peninsula, i.e., traffic, and parking.


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