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2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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Blissful SCUBA Diving
Bonaire
2003
Boiling Oven
~ Boiling Oven ~
Karpata Plantation Island Ruins
Island Ruins
While driving around the island, we came upon Landhuis Karpata to the north. Built around 1868, this abandoned plantation's primary purpose was to raise goats for skins and meat, as well as producing aloe, charcoal, and dyewood. Named for the Karpata trees found growing abundantly throughout the grounds, these plants are better known as castor bean or Ricinus and produced yet another important export of the era; castor oil. The plantation, so dependent on the slaves who worked the land, was eventually abandoned and left to the elements for many years. But its lush beauty never completely faded.

In 1980, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, bequeathed the plantation to the Bonaire National Marine Park and provided financing to restore the buildings for an ecological center and research station. Sadly, funding was withdrawn and the entire project was ultimately shut down.

We wandered around the ruins for a short time, enjoying the picturesque setting and exploring the lovely buildings. Hopefully, the dry air and remote locale will protect this historic site until further efforts can bring it back to life.

Entrance to the Plantation
~ Entrance to the Plantation ~

The nearby dive sight was appropriately named '1000 steps', and presented the heavily laden diver with a heart pumping challenge – even before getting wet. The shore at the bottom of the decent, like most of the beaches on Bonaire, was not covered in fine sand – easy to traverse or set upon. Rather it appeared to be a mass gravesite for large chunks of dead coral – challenging and precarious to negotiate even when not wearing 60 lbs. of dive gear.

Shore diving in itself takes some skill and timing. One must watch the wave pattern, walk in spread legged to a depth that allowed donning fins, all while wallowing in the surf and avoiding venomous sea critters. Doing this on coral rubble was just a bit more than we wanted to bite off.

We opted to continue on to a less strenuous shore and were not disappointed. As it turned out, Bonaire delivered on every single one of our diving experiences.