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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Naughty Names for Pretty Places

There are better angles than this viewpoint, but Witches Tit’s
distinctive shape is a common landmark cruisers use
in giving directions.

Who comes up with names like Witches Tit in Simpson Lagoon, St. Martin, Shitten Bay and Bug’s Hole in St. Kitts?  Ironically, they’re all pretty decent places.  Mike and Rebecca from Zero to Cruising (click here to check out their awesome blog), more intrepid hikers than us, even shot this fabulous 360 degree video after bushwhacking their way to its, errr, top (click here to watch their video).

After much Googling to try to learn more about the origins of Witches Tit and a few other intriguing names, thus far all I’ve been able to find out from an unnamed local source is the actual name for Witches Tit is Mourne Fortune. That “It was named that way [Witches Tit] for fun years ago. When you look at that out crop in the Lagoon, it could look like a breast with a nipple on top.   But why from a witch?”

It appears I’ve spurred enough curiosity from that local source there is a little further digging among local experts into its origins underway… If something comes up, I’ll share.

As well, no word back yet from the contacts regarding Shitten Bay and Bug’s Hole’s history.

Other names are simply amusing, like Fat Hog Bay in Tortola, which harkens back to its earlier days as a stock farm.  My husband’s theory is nearby WaterLemon Bay – yes, WaterLemon not Watermelon -- (in St. John’s) started as a typos that got carried forward. I’m less cynical and more hopeful there’s a more interesting story.

In all cases…. feelers are out. 

As a result, I may add Mark Monmonier’s study on the topic
From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame to my reading list.

What’s the craziest name you’ve come across for an area?  Do you know the story behind it?  If so, please share.