Indigo tanks and more at the St Barbara plantation

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StBarbara 20150402 049 smallOn Thursday April 2, 2015 we went to the Santa Barbara plantation; we got permission from the management to investigate the area to the North of the Spanish Water. According to the Werbata map there are several wells and dams in that area. It was our first visit to this area.

We parked our cars at the sales office just before the gate and then went to the gate to inform the guards of our presence. We entered a Manzaliña forest via one of the many dirt roads. Even though we could walk on this dirt road I managed to get once again blisters from this trees on both of my arms. Maybe I should consider wearing long slieves.

On a map from the 1950-ies  a satellite station was marked on or close by a low hill so we went looking for remains of this station. We didn't find it. What we found were traces of what looked like an excavation with parts of (probably) Spanish earthenware and also sea shells left here bij Indians. While we were looking for the remains of the satellite station Carel de Haseth went in another direction and he called us that we should join him because he had found indigo tanks. That is always great news so we went back to the top of the hill and from there based on the directions from Carel to the indigo tanks. And indeed, two complete indigo tank systems close to where on the Werbata map a well was indicated. That well was probably a tanki and currently it is a deep excavated hole filled with salt water. The indigo tank systems are in good condition and apparently spared by the shovels that cleared the area. And to our surprise also the smallest of the three tanks that make up an indigo tank system is visible. The top and middle tank of both systems are completely filled wiith soil. The smallest (catch) tanks of one of the two systems seems to be in remarkably good condition. We could see the watertight plaster on top of the walls and underneath the IJssel bricks are visible. It would be a good idea to excavate these tanks completely and conserve them because they are in such good condition.

 From there we went in the direction of a long dam, partly earthen, partly stone. It appeared to be close-by. Next to it we found a dump of building material from several ages; we found an IJssel brick floor fragment in it, lime stones, old roof tiles but also modern concrete bricks and modern roof tiles. Back to the dam we found that only one side of it was covered with stones, exactly as it is shown on the Werbata map. In that part we found a nice sluice.

After a break we continued our hike along the dam and from there we went to the South to the shore of the Spanish Water. On our way we found more and more shells among which the Melongena melongena and finally we stood on top of a large pile of shells. Definitely a former indian site. And the presence of the Melongena shells indicates that this site dates from the first indians in Curaçao.

Our next stop was a forest that Karel remember to contain a lot of large Mahok trees. Unfortunately not many of these trees are still there. Some are fallen down but most fell pray to the wood industry.

Even though it was getting late we decided to check for a number of wells and a dam more to the East of the area we had crossed up till then. And indeed did we find the dam and the two other wells (the first one of the three on the map was next to the indigo tanks); both of these were rather shallow tankis. Further to the South we also found a well (not on the map, so more modern) and the third dam in this area. There most of the sleuths took a break while Fred, Hetty and I went looking for a strange structure on the Werbata map. We had to work our way through very dense vegetation and the structure was not at the marked spot but after a while it was found. It appeared to be a very nice well with two drinking tanks for cattle attached to it. The well was special because inside the old limestone wall there was a newer wall constructed from bricks. The whole inside of the well was covered with these bricks. We haven't seen this elsewhere.

That concluded our hike. We went back to the cars via the dirt road. It was a very interesting hike with several interesting finds. Certainly worthwhile. And because we didn't cover the whole area that we intended to cover, it is certainly worthwhile to come back for another visit.