Flat Bridge and Rio Cobre- two peas in a pod
The almost 300 years old Flat Bridge is prized for its unique historic architecture as well dreaded for its appalling death toll and dizzying flat base which up until today is still unable to hold safety rails because of its unusual design. In the past Flat Bridge have had several types of rails attached but unfortunately none were rigid enough to withstand the roaring torrents of the Rio Cobre River beneath when it rained. The water would rapidly increase and overflow its banks.
In 1933, the temperamental river had risen twenty-five feet above its level creating catastrophe. Rio Cobre is Spanish and means Copper. The river is 50.09 kilo metres long, and usually runs stealthily and silent along the Bog Walk Gorge and throughout the Parish of St Catherine. The bridge is one of the oldest in the island of Jamaica and was constructed by the Spaniards with the help of native slave laborers after 1724 but the exact date is somewhat uncertain.
There are many startling folk tales out of death or river valley as this area is sometimes called but among the most popular are the tale of the river Mumma, the Golden Table, the pay bill incident and the assembling of the weeping spirits. Yet the tale of how the bridge was constructed is the biggest mystery even till today. It was said that the slaves being the primary common laborers had used both physical and supernatural powers to erect the Flat Bridge and the true meaning behind its deceptive silence or sudden wrath to overturn vehicles and drown motorists that trek the pathway will never be understood by the natural man.
Among this beautifully lush green stretch and cool river wind of the Bog Walk Gorge lay an eerie of mystery yet to be unfolded. Seers had professed that the spirits relay messages to people who had near death incidents.
Till this day, this very unique design of the Flat Bridge is a wonder and though repairs have been done to alter its original design to make it safer, improvements were not effective as they would usually wash away or collapse. Some say higher powers kept the bridge in that permanent state of dread. Back in the seventeen century the bridge was known to be a way of escape for the slaves to the mountain. They worked in the peril of the river course and knew the mountain side better than the Spaniards even with that many of them had lost their lives as the faulty landscape created great difficulty. They would dig gravel, marl, limestone and sand among other things which was their primary way of surviving.
The bridge is supported by two piers and two abutments. Semi-circular spheres lined the edges of the floor are its only protection with some assistance from the newly installed traffic lights that regulated passage, brought some relief to residents and motorists.
The narrow pathway leading to and from the bridge is curvaceous with hilly and rock-like embankment that lined the edges of the road way. A variance of lush green trees helped to darkened parts of the trek but to spread the true Jamaican spirit, friendly vendors lined the wider renovated sections, selling an assortment of colorful fruits, vegetables and crafts.
Nowadays even rescuers are on spot. They are called river valley angels as numerous lives ended crossing that fateful bridge but to make their effort more rewarding, these divers are presently being paid a sum of $3000.00 Jamaican dollars as a reward for each lives they save. But all this is still little comfort to seasoned residents, who know too well, that the Rio Cobre is like a pretentious saintly maiden, with a deadly intent and a ravenous crave for human.
The Pum Rock (vagina) wonder
This beautiful nature stretch of the Gorge has signs and wonders unfolding. Minutes away from the Flat bridge, along the river course sat the other striking wonder. One could easily say this river valley have been blessed with much wonders and rare beauty. The famous Pum Rock, is ranked as the eight wonder of the world. ‘Pum’ is another definition for the vagina in the island’s native dialect.
The huge limestone rock sat about 8 feet in the open, making up part of the river bank, could easily be interpreted as a giant (woman) oblivious of her surrounding as she washed her body’s most private part while she bathe by the river.
The rock was discovered and identified sometimes in the early eighteenth century and as the years went by, it became more of a striking semblance to that of the female’s vagina. Though bad the weather, the Pum Rock sat firm and solid.
Today, it is more popular than ever, and attracted hundreds of onlookers weekly, as they stared shockingly and gawk in awe into her natural feature and the mystery of the famous river valley.