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Trinidad & Tobago: Pitch Lake

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Pitch Lake | Trinidad & Tobago | Americas

[Visited: July 2001]

Perhaps the most curious thing in Trinidad, Pitch Lake is actually the largest of three existing ones in the world. When we arrived, we saw a depression in the landscape, and there it was: an area with some pools, reed, and greyish asphalt everywhere. We quickly rented a guide who took us on a most surprising tour. Soon, we found ourselves walking on soft asphalt, in which you slowly sink if you stand on one place for too long.

Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Pitch Lake, Trinidad

Once, a local king killed and ate a sacred hummingbird, and the punishment of the Great Spirit was severe: it covered the village of the tribe under asphalt. This legend is reinforced by all kinds of artefactd which have emerged over time. We saw trees pushing their branches through the asphalt and mysteriously emerging from the grey and seemingly impenetrable surface.

Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Asphalt lake, Pitch lake, Trinidad

Since we visited in the rainy season, there were some waterpools in the lake. Some of those are sulphurous, because of gasses released through the asphalt layers. We saw these gasses bubbling up at many places, and had some nice (and, according to our guide, rejuvenating) baths in them. In some places, you can put a stick through the asphalt layer and take out fluid tar. All in all, a very remarkable place.

Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Detail of pitch lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Asphalt lake, Pitch lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Asphalt lake, Pitch lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Detail of pitch lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Asphalt lake, Pitch lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Asphalt lake, Pitch lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Footstep in Pitch Lake, Trinidad
Picture of Pitch Lake (Trinidad & Tobago): Detail of pitch lake, Trinidad

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