Klein Curacao Lighthouse | Accidentally Wes Anderson

Klein Curacao Lighthouse

Accidentally Wes Anderson - Klein Curacao Lighthouse Enlarge

Willemstad, Klein Curacao | C.1879

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Czum

Klein Curacao (Little Curacao) is a 1.7 square kilometres (170 ha; 0.66 sq mi) uninhabited island south-east of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea, and is part of the Dutch country of Curacao. Well known as a beautiful diving-spot because of its coral and underwater caves, the old pink lighthouse is one of the only structures still remaining on the island.

Formerly, goats were allowed to roam the island, which contributed to desertification. In 1871, an English mining engineer visited the island, and until 1886 phosphate was mined and exported to Europe. The island was mined out, the level of the island dropped, and seabird populations plummeted – currently, reforestation is being undertaken by CARMABI Marine Research Station.

The island played a part in the slave trade as the Dutch West India Company brought many slaves from Africa to Curacao. Before coming ashore the main island, the sick were placed in quarantine at Klein Curacao. The remains of this first quarantine building can still be found in the northwest of the island. Those who did not survive the voyage were buried on the island with many graves in the southern part of the island.

Like its mother island of Curacao, the island is little affected by hurricanes, but several storms have left their mark. The first was the hurricane of 1877 destroyed the lighthouse initially on the island.

The 22 meter (66 foot) tall tower had to be rebuilt three times. Due to the many shipwrecks, putting the lighthouse back to work was more than necessary. Most recently, in 1982 a large oil tanker was stranded on the windward side of the island. In 2008, the light tower got a LED beacon with solar panels, still flashing every 15 seconds.

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