Porto Marie - South of the plantation house

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Porto Marie 20140410 025 small

On Thursday April 10 the sleuths went to Porto Marie to explore the area South of the plantation house. On the Werbata topographical map from 1906 a lot of waterworks are visible; wells and a number of dams. More than enough reason for a visit.
This hike would be a relatively short one because we would conclude it around noon with a birthday lunch for Hetty, one of the participants of this group.
At 8 AM we all gathered at the gate of Porto Marie. Normally the plantation is open from 9:30AM but in this case someone came with the key to let us in.
We parked our cars along the road and entered the vegetation. François and Fred had promised us a lot of Wabis and cacti for this hike and they appeared to be right.

 Especially in the beginning the vegetation was very dense. François was leading the way and, even though he was only a few meters in front of me, he was hardly visible (as can be seen in one of the pictures below). 
After a while we found a dry-stone wall. On the map this was a green line, which means a fence, not necessarily a stone wall. We crossed the wall and continued in the direction of a second green line on the map. There we didn't find a stone wall. We were in the middle of fields of large pillar cacti which could mean that there was some habitation here in the past. And although we found a lot of limestone we didn't see any plaster or other signs of habitation.

On we went to one fo the two wells on the map. The first one appeared to be a Pos di pia; a large lower lying area surrounded by dry-stone walls. There were large and very impressive Indju trees here and of course also Fred's favorite plant, the Wabi. We also found lots of bottles, pieces of plaster and metal pipes.
It was a natural place for a break to drink water and eat our apples. François had taken a quick look on the other side of one of the surrounding dams and promised us ruins for after the break.

The ruins appeared to be manmade waterworks. A large water tank, quite intact, with a second water tank attached to it. The latter one was no longer complete. Part of tis walls had broken down. And, as the map had promised, there was also the second well. In this case a manmade well with a circular drinking tank to the side. The well was completely dry, a sign that we didn't get a lot of rain in the last rain season. A nice detail was that the well had stepping stones on the inside of the well to create a ladder. None of us dared to try this out. It wouldn't have been easy because the top stones were broken off and maybe also the other stones were no longer reliable.

Our next target was a stone dam with earthen dams to the side. This part of the area was more open, so we made a good progress. From the side that we came from there was only a low nicely plastered dam visible but on the other side the dam was very high and very sturdy built. François and Fred climbed down along the steep side of the dam, the others took a detour over the earthen dam and through the vegetation to the underside of the dam. This dam was already present when the Werbata map was created in the beginning of the 20th century but the more modern look made it clear that it has been restored later in that century.
After a break at the foot of the dam we continued to the section where the earthen dam was attached to the stone dam. There a kind of overflow had been made in the side of the stone dam to let the water through to release the pressure on the dam. Apparently this was not enough because the water broke through destroying part of the stone dam.

From there we went back to our cars and then to the restaurant of Porto Marie where we all had a nice lunch to celebrate Hetty's birthday. That is a tradition for years of this group.

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