Good evening everyone! Today I’ll be blogging about my trip to Curaçao, way back in the summer of 2009. We stayed for about two weeks and explored much of the island, visiting many historical sites. One of those visits was to Ascension.
Landhuis Ascension is one of the many plantation manors on the island of Curaçao. The ascension plantation was first established in 1672. It was built on the grounds of a former Indian village, as the indigenous Arawak people inhabited the island many centuries ago. These plantation manors are known as kas di shon (master’s house) or kas grande (big house) in Papiamentu. The manors originally belonged to Dutch slaveholders and their families. Many enslaved individuals were forced to work and live on plantation grounds, most having originally been transported from West African countries, as Curaçao served as a centre for Atlantic slave trade.
Landhuis Ascension overlooks Boka Ascension (Ascension Cove), an inlet on the eastern side of the island that opens to the Caribbean sea. It was really quite beautiful to see the blue seawater flow towards us. I’ve heard many stories of sea turtles frequently visiting the Boka to find some lunch. I didn’t see any turtles, but I sighted plenty of birds flying in and out.
The manors like Landhuis Ascension were built in a Dutch style, but constructed using more local material of fossilised coral. These manors were usually strategically situated on hills or other elevated areas to oversee the plantation grounds and communicate with neighbouring estates. This position was crucial in anticipating slave revolts, but also in an effort to benefit from the cooling effects of the strong northeast trade-wind.
Despite its natural beauty, part of Boka Ascension is the notorious Plasticbaai (“Plastic Bay”), nowadays referred to as Playa Charomba. That big pile you see mainly consists of a huge amount of plastic waste and discarded tires. There have been many clean-ups during the past years by volunteers and school children. These clean-ups are often initiated by organisations like Stichting Uniek Curaçao . Nevertheless, the plastic keeps piling up because of a bigger and very complicated problem of littering in general. Both citizens and large companies contribute to this troublesome situation, sometimes even damaging coral reefs. Playa Charomba is especially sensitive to this problem, because ocean currents carry huge amounts of dumped material into the bay.
That’s it for today, but I’ll be posting about Curaçao again very soon, so keep an eye out for more!