Seru Kabayé between Porto Marie and Daaibooi

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The previous two weeks we investigated the two hills on both sides of Playa Hunku on the plantation Porto Marie. We checked for traces of indian and slave habitation and for forts. This time our attention went to the third hill on this plantation with a view towards the sea, the Seru Kabayé. This is a long hill lying between the bay of Porto Marie and Daaibooi. We wanted to check for remains of a fort or observation post on this hill. And of course we wanted to find out if there are any Nipple cacti on this hill.

Seru Kabaye 20130711 011 smallThe Nipple cactus (Mammillaria Mammillaris, see picture) is a small spherical cactus from which it is told by biologists that it grows only or mainly on the Seru Dingo. And indeed that is where we found a lot of these cacti. Strangely enough we found none on the Seru Mateo which seemed to confirm that this cactus has a very limited distribution in Curaçao.

After parking our cars on the parking lot of Porto Marie we went to the Seru Kabayé. There is a path from the area next to the round-about to the top of this hill. So we had an easy climb this time and at a quarter to nine we reached the highest point at 61 meters. On the top we found a Kadaster measuring point, VH 126; disturbed because it was no longer at its original place. We enjoyed a nice view over the plantation of Porto Marie and the dry saline of Daaibooi. On the top we found lots of Nipple cacti growing on the limestone surface.
From the top we went into the vegetation to check for a fort or observation post; many Prickly pear cacti so we had to be careful. Otherwise the vegetation was quite open. We found some artifacts: a case bottle, a yellow IJsselstone (old brick) and a piece of a roof tile; we also found groups of limestones that seemed to be in regular patterns but we couldn't find any plaster. So no conclusive proof of a building here.

After a rest we crossed the dry stone wall that is the border between the plantation of Porto Marie and Daaibooi. Even on this dry stone wall we found many Nipple Cacti. Clearly this cactus is not as rare and the distribution is not as limited as previously thought.

Seru Kabaye 20130711 026 smallThe vegetation on the Daaibooi side is different from the Porto Marie side. There are far more Brasilwood trees on the Daaibooi side; some are impressively big and thus old. We also found several French Prickle cacti, family of the more common Prickly pear but with larger segments. Also the flower is more orange while the Prickly pear has a yellow flower. And the thorns are less aggressive.
We stayed on the long top of this hill because that is the most likely spot for a observation post. But we found no artifacts or limestone groupings on this side of the border.

The morning was far over (11:30 AM) so we decided to go down to the beach of Daaibooi, knowing that there is a path on the cliff from Daaibooi to Porto Marie. But on the way down we met heavy resistance from the vegetation. That became thicker and thicker and when we finanlly reached the cliff it was too steep to go down there; so we had to continue clearing a path through the dense vegetation till we reached a place where we could descend to the lower plateau. It took us close to one hour to get to that point. There we took a long rest and continued along the path to Porto Marie. Walking along the path was indeed as quickly as we expected; in 20 minutes we reached Porto Marie. At the end the path is no longer clearly visible. François and I where the frontrunners; we got stuck once and had to get back to find the real path again. Tired from the long hike François and I waited for the others in the deserted building behind the current restaurant. It is on the plateau next to this building that there was a fort. The area is cleared in the past and the only remainders are one small piece of a wall on the ground and debris in the pile created by the bulldozer.

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