28.4.09

Pocahontas, John Smith and I


I never thought that Bermuda is somewhat connected to Pocahontas. And exactly where I now live is named after her boyfriend (I live in Smith's Parish)? And one of the beaches that I frequent, is called John Smith Bay.

Now, now... how did this happen?

Here's what I grabbed from my research:

The most popular tale is that Pocahontas, as a child, saved John Smith’s life after he was captured by the Powhatan. (The Powhatan is the tribe, I think, which is also the name of Pocahontas' father.)  According to  John Smith’s account he was laid across a  stone and just as he was to be executed Pocahontas threw herself across his body.  Many scholars believe that this ‘execution’ was actually a ritual misunderstood by Smith.  


In either case, Pocahontas and John Smith became friends and she visited him at the Fort often.  Smith says that Pocahontas saved the people at the Fort from starvation by bringing them provisions.  This friendship lead to the romantic tales of Pocahontas and John Smith which continue to this day; with many people wrongly believing that they were once married. 


And about the beach...


John Smith’s Bay is the only public beach in Smith’s Parish. It is named after Captain John Smith who produced a map of Bermuda in 1631, despite never having set foot on the island. The captain was one of the early English colonists in Virginia and was saved by Pocahontas. Interestingly, Pocahontas went on to marry John Rolfe who was one of the men aboard Sir George Somers’ shipwrecked Sea Venture.

The bay is not near any major hotels so is not very well known to tourists. Locals love it though, I visit the bay as often as I can - sometimes twice a week. The beach is long and wide with crystal clear water. The water is shallow and good for children. The reef lies about 200 meters from the beach but it’s not necessary to snorkel this far to see the wonderful marine life. John Smith’s Bay occasionally experiences rip currents.

I find it peaceful to be at the beach before the sun sets. Bringing my camera and sometimes my sketch pad - along with my kids' coloring which I brought all the way from the Philippines. 

Well, now I know, Pocahontas and I have something in common.... we both like John Smith : for her the person... me, the bay, named after the person.


video

No comments: