In the final report written by Rose Mary Allen about "HET VOLKSLEVEN OP PORTO MARI ROND EIND NEGENTIENDE TOT DE HELFT TWINTIGSTE EEUW" (How did people live in Porto Mari around the end of the nineteenth till the mid of the twentieth age?") we find, among others, the following (translated) fragment about slaves in this area: "According to oral history people who called themselves "gueni's" lived at Plahunku. They were slaves". Plahunku is undoubtedly what we now call Playa Hunku. Another reference mentions Dingo as a place where slaves have lived. So the sleuths decided to investigate this and went to Playa Hunku on Thursday, June 27, 2013. With permission from the manager of the plantation Porto Mari the main gate was opened for us at 8:15 AM and also the gate to Playa Hunku was opened specifically for us. So we could drive directly till the beach called Playa Hunku. There we parked our cars and discussed where to start our investigation.
Immediately to the North-West of Playa Hunku there is a low hill called Seru Dingo. We decided to climb this hill to check for traces of habitation and to get a better view on the surroundings. The first part was easy. We reached a plateau haflway uphill that was remarkably flat. Although the hill consists of limestone the underground is soft because of a thick layer of humus. Lots of cacti (Candle cacti and Prickly pear) in this area made it more difficult to progress. Occasionaly we found straight lines of limestone on the ground. They looked a bit too straight to be natural; apart from these stones there were not many limestones in this area. So it could be that these lines were laid here to border some area, maybe for agriculture. No artifacts though so no indications of habitation.
We went further uphill to the top. This was an area where the limestone was on the surface. On this rocky underground we found a lot of Mammillaria Mammillaris (Woolly Nipple Cactus). According to the biologist Gerard van Buurt this is an area where these cacti grow in Curaçao so we looked specifically for these. We never encountered this species during our previous trips on the island, but that could be because we didn't know that they were special. The normal spherical cactus on the island is a Melocactus. These are abundant everywhere on the hills. The Woolly Nipple Cactus is apparently concentrated just in this area. During future trips we will specifically look for this species to determine if they grow in other areas.
We had a good view from the top on the plantations of Cas Abou to the North-West and Porto Mari in the East but no specific indications where to look for remnants of former habitation. From the top we did see something else though: it looked like a square plate that was mounted just under the top of the next hill (part of the Seru Mateo). Too far away to get any details. Obviously artificial.
After a short rest on the top we went down to the beach. Easier said than done because we had to walk very close to the edge of the cliff and there were some small but deep ravines that we had to cross. And there was a thick vegetation. But we made it to the beach. Each one had his or hers portion of thorns from the Prickly pear. Especially the small hairlike thorns were annoying.
It was still early. We would stop at 12 and we had about half an hour to spare. Fred decided to investigate the strange square plate that we had seen on the other hill. Hetty and I joined him while François and Michèle went looking for traces of habitation in the flat area to the North of the Seru Dingo.
We made it in about 15 minutes to just under the top. The plate appeared to be a square box. We didn't know what its purpose was. Maybe to house bees and to gather the honey. It appeared empty but, after a negative experience with bees last week, we decided not to disturb the box.
Later we learned that this is a bat box. Used to attract bats by offering them a place where they can rest.
We went down and reached the beach, where the other two were already resting next to the BBQ that is built on the sand.
No indications of former habitation. Maybe we come back another time to investigate further.
No rights can be derived from this report.
- In blue the track that we walked In blue the track that we walked
- Playa Hunku with an abandoned beach house and a stone BBQ Playa Hunku with an abandoned beach house and a stone BBQ
- The sleuths seen through the window of the beach house (B/W for effect) The sleuths seen through the window of the beach house (B/W for effect)
- View from the beach house on the beach and sea View from the beach house on the beach and sea
- In the background the Seru Dingo, our target In the background the Seru Dingo, our target
- Climbing is easy for the first part Climbing is easy for the first part
- François on the slope François on the slope
- Lots of Tree Bromeliads Lots of Tree Bromeliads
- Looks like a plastic plant - I don't know what it is Looks like a plastic plant - I don't know what it is
- Nice flowers in the Prickly pear Nice flowers in the Prickly pear
- Our first Mammillaria Mammillaris (Woolly nipple cactus) Our first Mammillaria Mammillaris (Woolly nipple cactus)
- Nice top of a freshly grown Candle cactus Nice top of a freshly grown Candle cactus
- Fred and François close to the edge of the cliff Fred and François close to the edge of the cliff
- Remnant of a bee's nest Remnant of a bee's nest
- Marker on the ground for aerial photography Marker on the ground for aerial photography
- A niche in the cliff A niche in the cliff
- Lots of Epiphiets and Tree Bromeliads in the trees Lots of Epiphiets and Tree Bromeliads in the trees
- A very small mushroom on a branch A very small mushroom on a branch
- Very nice flowers Very nice flowers
- Here the Woolly Nipple Cactus grows in a group Here the Woolly Nipple Cactus grows in a group
- View on Cas Abou from the top of the hill View on Cas Abou from the top of the hill
- View on Porto Mari - in the distance the old country house View on Porto Mari - in the distance the old country house
- François very close to the edge on the top of the hill François very close to the edge on the top of the hill
- Fred is also close to the edge to take pictures of a cactus Fred is also close to the edge to take pictures of a cactus
- In the distance the strange square plate just under the top of the next hill In the distance the strange square plate just under the top of the next hill
- François struggles to get through the cacti François struggles to get through the cacti
- A new branch on the older stem A new branch on the older stem
- Fred follows Fred follows
- This tree is spreading its branches widely This tree is spreading its branches widely
- Together at the beach house Together at the beach house
- Window in the beach house Window in the beach house
- Nice colorful water-made structures on the cliff of the next hill Nice colorful water-made structures on the cliff of the next hill
- This Bromeliad grows on the rock This Bromeliad grows on the rock
- And this is it; the strange object that we saw from the top of the Seru Dingo And this is it; the strange object that we saw from the top of the Seru Dingo
- We know now that it is a bat box - a place where bats can take a nap We know now that it is a bat box - a place where bats can take a nap
- Hetty Hetty
- Back on the path - view on the Seru Dingo Back on the path - view on the Seru Dingo