Los Gallos Icacos Bay, Trinidad | Photograph Courtesy MacLean Publishing Limited/Noel Norton
Seven sandstone rocks, sculpted by wind and sea, reminded Christopher Columbus of “los gallos”, or fighting cocks, when he anchored in Icacos Bay, off Trinidad’s south-east coast, on 2nd August 1498.
Columbus had left San Lucar on the 30th May that year, with his caravel Nao, his supply ship La Vequenos and a small scouting vessel El Correo, on his third voyage of discovery.
Their first sighting was the white cliffs of “Punta Galeota”, the south-west tip of Trinidad. On the 1st August they landed at the mouth of the Moruga River where they refilled their water casks, sailing on to Erin Bay where they anchored for the night. Early next morning they sailed around “Punta Arena” (Icacos Point) to the more sheltered Icacos Bay in the Gulf of Paria.
Of the seven rocks seen in the 1851 lithograph by Michel-Jean Cazabon, only four remain due to coastal erosion.