Friday, November 27, 2009

Carriacou Island

We arrived in Carriacou yesterday. It's a relatively small island compared to Grenada, but was apparently heavily settled by the Arawak and later Carib natives. In one guide book I read that there are places on this island where ancient pottery literally covers the ground, and "tumbles over the cliffs into the sea". The museum in Hillsborough has a decent collection of artifacts from these groups, which gave me a pretty good idea of what resources they were using, and how they made their tools.
Local stone appears to be Quartz, Jasper, and a dense stone called Ironstone. They make celts here out of Ironstone as well as Conch Shells. The Conch shell (called Lambi here) celts look identical to their stone counterparts
Cordage has been very difficult to find in these islands, and after asking at the museum it seems that the Arawak used a native cotton and some other plant which the museum interpreter didn't have a name for. It almost sounded like she was describing yucca or agave, which they have both of here. I'm just not sure if its native or an introduced species.
Turtles are protected here, but they were once a staple of the island cultures. In the museum they had a number of pottery artifacts with turtle effigies on them, as well as turtle bone pendants.
I am yet to see any stone projectile points, and the only artifacts that show any working are actually shell that have been knapped into serated blades.
I made my first bowdrill fire in the islands 2 days ago on Isle De Rhonde. It's a very scrubby island with a few palm trees, the rest of the vegetation being cactus, a variety of toxic tree related to poison ivy, and some kind of very spikey acacia.
Elliot and I picked up Machettes, which they call Cutlasses, in St. George so we can cut up coconuts, and explore some of the denser parts of the islands here. As we enter the Pacific, uninhabited islands will become more plentiful and the chance to make overnight survival camps on them will be more frequent.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grenada and the Tropics

I arrived in Grenada last Tuesday and its vastly different than any environment I have ever been in. We haven't reached any uninhabited islands yet, as Grenada is relatively developed. Most of the beaches here are privately owned and any of my bushcraft skills I would like to practice here I fear would attract too much attention. Tomorrow we make passage for Curriacou, an island that has a lengthy history with ancient peoples who migrated there from Northern South America. One account I read described "pottery literally falling into the ocean" from the ancient inhabitants.
My plans are to make a series of tropical survival videos with the help of my brother, so if anyone has any advice or suggestions in this area please share, as there appears to be a relatively steep learning curve in the tropics, in my opinion.