On thursday October 31, 2013 we went to the Christoffel park to visit the manganese mines. This was a special hike because about 5 years ago Fred, his sister Rita, and François went also to these mines with a delegation of the Christoffel park. This became the start of weekly hikes by François and Fred to search for often forgotten remains of the history of Curaçao. I joined these 2 pioneers after my retirement in may 2010 and in the meantime this is grown into a group of enthousiastic "archaeology sleuths".
There was a period at the end of the 19th century (around 1880) that there has been a mining industry in Curaçao. Searches for Copper and Manganese were not very successful, but mining of phosphate became very profitable. The manganese mines were abandoned rather quickly. In the past we already visited the manganese mining site at Jerimi and today we visited the mines on one of the hills in the Christoffel Park, the Seru Francisco Jobo. The mining operation at Jerimi is on the other side of this same hill.
Bert, an intern working in the Christoffel Park, joined us. He arranged our free entrance into the park and opened normally closed gates so that we could reach the foot of the hill where the mines are located by car.
From the place where we parked our cars two dark rubble mounds were visisble on the flank of the hill. The rubble is from the mining operation.
There is a path from the dirt road to the first rubble mound. There we took a first rest and tried to get some cover against the rain. In vain, because there were no large trees so we all got thoroughly wet.
From the first mound we had to find our way to the second. This was a bit more difficult but still far easier than we are used to. From there we continued uphill in the direction of the GPS-waypoint of the mine that Fred had taken during his previous visit. We ended up too high and had to go down to reach the entrance of the most intact mine. Entering the mine was not easy, we had to crawl, but inside we could easily stand upright. Of course it was dark inside so we had to use flashlights to see what was there. The mine is a corridor of about 30 meters long and broad enough to pass each other easily. The walls have interesting colors as can be seen in the pictures under this article. There were also bats inside the mine, spiders on the wall and the skeleton of at least one goat.
In the neighborhood there is a second mine but the entrance of this one is blocked, probably on purpose. I took a picture through the opening and this shows a short corridor. It could be that this was only a trial mine or that it is collapsed. There is a third mine here but that is no more than a wide pit in the ground.
After visiting the mines we descended the hill and went back to the entrance of the park, where Bert treated us on a drink in the restaurant.
No rights can be derived from this report.
- The track that we walked in blue The track that we walked in blue
- At the entrance of the Christoffel park At the entrance of the Christoffel park
- View on the mountain where the mines are to be found View on the mountain where the mines are to be found
- Two dark patches mark the mounds of rubble from the mines Two dark patches mark the mounds of rubble from the mines
- The sleuths at the foot of the hill The sleuths at the foot of the hill
- Iguana egg shells Iguana egg shells
- This tree has a good defence This tree has a good defence
- The first rubble mound The first rubble mound
- Rubble from the manganese mines Rubble from the manganese mines
- To the left the Seru Gracia, to the right Seru Christoff To the left the Seru Gracia, to the right Seru Christoff
- The sleuths gathered at the top of the first rubble mound The sleuths gathered at the top of the first rubble mound
- It is raining; the Christoffel mountain disapears in the clouds It is raining; the Christoffel mountain disapears in the clouds
- Fred and Eddy at the top of the second rubble mound Fred and Eddy at the top of the second rubble mound
- Hetty and Dirk try to reach the top Hetty and Dirk try to reach the top
- Barb moss Barb moss
- A dry stone wall A dry stone wall
- A nice Bromeliad A nice Bromeliad
- A strange plant A strange plant
- Moss and Lichen Moss and Lichen
- A dark kind of lichen A dark kind of lichen
- John is entering the mine (picture by Fred) John is entering the mine (picture by Fred)
- John inside the mine (picture by Fred) John inside the mine (picture by Fred)
- Fred also inside the mine Fred also inside the mine
- Hetty is following Hetty is following
- Almost invisible Eddy at the end of the corridor Almost invisible Eddy at the end of the corridor
- Nice structures and colors on the wall of the mine Nice structures and colors on the wall of the mine
- Thick spider nets on the wall Thick spider nets on the wall
- Spiders on the wall Spiders on the wall
- Fred is taking pictures of the wall Fred is taking pictures of the wall
- Fred and Eddy Fred and Eddy
- Carel takes a picture of a goat skeleton on the floor Carel takes a picture of a goat skeleton on the floor
- The skull of a goat The skull of a goat
- Parts of a goat skeleton Parts of a goat skeleton
- The second mine is blocked The second mine is blocked
- View throught the opening inside the second mine View throught the opening inside the second mine
- Bromeliads on the third rubble mound Bromeliads on the third rubble mound
- The third mound with rubble from the manganese mines The third mound with rubble from the manganese mines
- A hairy cactus A hairy cactus
- Fruits of the Palu di Lele Fruits of the Palu di Lele
- A large field of Bromeliads A large field of Bromeliads
- Another part of the dry stone wall Another part of the dry stone wall
- on the rocks several kinds of moss or lichen on the rocks several kinds of moss or lichen
- Ominous weather is coming Ominous weather is coming