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Public & Private Piers

There was only one public pier and about three private piers 25 years ago. The public pier was used in several ways. During the season when snapper was running, fishermen went to the pier at 4 a.m. to catch by hand line a dozen or two of snappers for the day’s meal.

Also at this pier fishermen went with their cast nets to catch mullet, snook, shads and other fish that feed in the shallow. Right from the main pier which was at the same location in front of Daddy’s the villagers could cast a net for a large supply of sardines to be used as bait for hand line fishing.

But that was not the end of the use of this pier. Children enjoyed swimming everyday from that pier. Right at the end of the pier was a nice clean area ideal for summersaults, swimming and diving. And of course the end of the pier was frequented regularly by couples looking for an escape from the public eye. There they chatted, enjoyed the moon, listened to the rippling waves, admired the reef, held hands, stole a kiss and that’s it. What a romantic place the pier was 25 years ago.

Now there were about three private piers with kraals at the end of them. First of all, what is a kraal? It was originally an enclosure for livestock or cattle, but in San Pedro it was an enclosure which wealthy people used as their private swimming area. The kraal or enclosure was made with pimento sticks or bush posts. There was also a small building used as a dressing room.

Now these wealthy people, even 25 years, ago tried to have these kraals as solely private, but this was possible only when they were on the island. When they were gone to Belize City, the island kids had a blast swimming in the kraals. To keep the people off the kraal, a high wide gate was constructed midway up the pier so nobody could cross. But trust me, the kraal was so enticing because it seemed like a swimming pool right in the sea, so it was impossible to keep curious boys and girls away from the piers and kraals where they felt like the rich and famous 25 years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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