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  • Writer's pictureE Stegmaier

St. Eustatius Airport Expansion Project: Days 18-19 (May 8-9, 2021)

This weekend I struck a decent balance between work and time-off. I started Saturday off on a hike with a colleague, Joost Morsink, to an area a little north of Godet Cemetery. He was asked to check on the status of a prehistoric burial site that is being eroded and washed away, as remains occasionally poke through the sand. From there, we headed south along the western coastline all the way to the remains of Crooks Castle, which was a sugar factory and rum distillery in the 18th-century.

The northern-most point we hiked to along the shore was the Lazareto Leper Colony cemetery.

The Lazareto Leper Colony cemetery is as neglected as the people afflicted with the disease likely were in the late 19th and early 20th-centuries.

Moving south along the rocky coast, we came to the remains of an early 18th-century Dutch fort. Nearby lay the ruins of a building that likely processed enslaved people who were offloaded from ships anchored along the island's roadstead.

The hike was beautiful, but the sites along the way told of a sordid history.

We then came across the eroded section of a prehistoric burial ground, where we visually inspected the eroded sand bank for signs of protruding remains. Continuing south, we had to move back up to the road in order to bypass the dozens and dozens of 18th and 19th-century stone warehouse remains that pepper the beach in Smoke Alley, along Gallows Bay.

After about a 3/4 of a mile, we were able to access the beach again at Crooks Castle, where we hung out and combed the beach for a little while. I then made my way up The Old Slave Path (which is unbelievably steep) to the historic section of town, which is adorable. It's like Old Mystic Village and Newport, RI rolled into one, but with a Caribbean flare.

The brown building down the street on the right is Cool Corner, a popular pub for both the locals and our team.

When I got back to my room and emptied my pockets later in the afternoon, I found this fortune- which obviously had gone through many wash cycles:

"A thrilling time is in store for you." Right?!

Sunday was spent working. I took a brief time-out to head to Cool Corner for a beer, then it was back to work.

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courtney smith van rij
courtney smith van rij
10 May 2021

What a wonderful weekend! So happy you love our island and its history😃

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