Bahada di Daniel - Hato plain

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Vlakte van Hato 20140731 012 smallDuring a previous visit to Bahada di Daniel a suspicious concentration of pillar cacti was seen close to the edge of the middle terrace. Such a concentation of cacti could be an indication of former habitation. Could this be the location of the headquarter of the Spanish cattle farmers? A good reason to investigate this area more closely. Another reason to go to this area and more specific to the Hato plain close to the bull's eye is the rumor that in the cliff between the lower and middle terrace the entrance would be to a very large cave. According to one of the rumors weapons and ammunition was stored here during the second world war. So, if we would find this cave, the smokers have to stay outside. But first we have to find it.

Uniek Curaçao was willing to provide transport with a Uniek Curaçao truck driven by Clarita Hagenaar. That allowed us to park our cars at the Hato Coastguard Station. A much safer place to leave your car than anywhere on the Hato plain. Another Uniek Curaçao member, Bram Jansse would accompany us on our hike. He participated in cleaning several trails on Bahada di Daniel; part of one of these trails we would use to get to the suspicious cactus forest.

After a mostly smooth but at times bumpy ride we were dropped at the entrance of the Kueba di Pachi. There we climbed to the middle terrace not through the cave but on the outside. From there we walked via the Uniek Curaçao trail to the cactus forest. Unfortunately there we didn't find anything else than a densely overgrown area with cacti. No traces of a building here. But we did have a nice view on the Hato plain.

We continued our hike in the direction of the "pillars of Jay" as we called these when we visited these the first time. But first we had a rest close to the border wall between Bahada di Daniel and Hato where we had a nice surprise. Allan van der Ree brought coffee! He had a thermos with coffee, small cups, sugar and milk in his backpack and even some gingerbread. Something else than just a sip of lukewarm water! Several of us enjoyed one or even two cups.

The "pillars" are rectangular heaps of limestone. Some with a nice straight side but others were collapsed to just a shapeless heap of stones. Fred and I studied one of these heaps more closely by removing part of the toplayer. We found out that the heaps are probably constructed in this way and not just storage heaps of limestone. The outside consists of large limestones and the inside of the rectangle is filled up with smaller stones. This structure would not happen by just dropping stones in a heap. In the past we found 10 of these heaps in a more or less straight line. What the purpose was of these "pillars" stays a guess.

We returned to the Kueba di Pachi and descended to the lower terrace. While the others took a rest Fred decided to go inside the cave. I followed him a little later after first taking a flashlight. It took us some puzzling to find a good way to get to the entrance but we succeeded. The cave is wide in the beginning but gets smaller at the end. There are stalactites in the cave. Some small ones have still waterdrops hanging at the end. We decided to go to the exit on the middle terrace. At one place we had to crawl on our belly to get through. Soon we were once again at the second terrace.

After the rest we walked along the cliff, also via a path cleared by Uniek Curaçao, to the place where we hoped to find the entrance to the mysterious cave. We had some indications from Jose da Camara what to look for. One place did fit the description that I got from Jose; Allan climbed an almost vertical wall to check an opening but that appeared to be no cave entrance.

When we didn't find anything we went to the Bull's eye. This is a practice area used by bomber planes in the second world war. A large bull's eye is created from stones. Apparently not every bomber pilot was able to get the practice bombs in the right area because we found the remnants of the bombs over a large area also outside the bull's eye.

Around 12:15 PM we were picked up again by Clarita with the Uniek Curaçao truck; she brought us back to our parked cars. Although we didn't find what we were looking for we had once again a nice hike.

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