Abandoned Lighthouses 6. Klein Curacao

Mike GristCaribbean, Lighthouses, World Ruins 1 Comment

The Klein Curacao (‘Little Curacao’) lighthouse was first built in 1850, on a tiny spit of land 11km off the southeastern tip of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea. It’s exactly the kind of place that Jack Sparrow would have pranced around.

Now it is hollowed out, crumbling rapidly, and nominated for endangered status, despite being rebuilt once in 1879 and again in 1913.

White masonry tower, red brick keeper’s dwellings. Image from Philip Stevenson

Located on a barren flat of rock and low scrub.? Image from Luciano Gollini

The 20m (66ft) tall lighthouse tower is abandoned, along with the two ruined 2-story keeper’s houses flanking it, but still functional. It was reactivated with a solar-powered LED beacon during the restoration of Curacao’s aids to navigation in 2008, having stood utterly dormant for many years prior. A stretch of coast dotted with rusting shipwrecks attests to its necessity. Now the LED emits two white flashes every 15 seconds.

A rusting wreck sits on the shallow rocks at left.

Wreck of the tanker Maria Bianca Guidesman. Image from here.

Klein Curacao is only 1.7km squared, with no permanent population but a few small huts used by fishermen. The windward side of the island is littered with wrecked boats, hundreds of washed-up flip-flops, and thousands of plastic bottles.

Its bigger brother Curacao sits off the coast of Venezuela, with a permanent population of about 140,000, some of whom day-trip to Klein Curacao to dive around its beautiful coral and underwater caves. Curacao officially became a Dutch colony in 1815, despite German expansion efforts in 1888, when a German naval base was established on Klein Curacao. However they were soon beaten off by the stormy weather. No ruins of the base remain.

Without the sea in sight, it seems a very strange and lonely building, though a beautiful place to visit via India Flight Deals

20m tall tower looms against Caribbean skies. Image by M. J. Hagen

Rocks and endless scouring wind. Image from Prajeesh Prathap

Text Sources- Wikipedia, Lighthouses of the Netherlands Antilles


Dead Sentinels: 10 abandoned lighthouses

1. Rubjerg-Knude, Denmark

2. Talacre, Wales

Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last two centuries, beginning in 1899 and finishing in 1900. The Talacre lighthouse, officially titled ‘Point of Ayr’, has stood on Talacre Beach in various incarnations since 1776, watching over ships make the trek across Liverpool Bay from the Welsh town of Lllandudno.

3. Tillamook, USA

4. Mogadishu, Somalia

The Tillamook Rock Light was built in 1881 on a rock off Oregon coast. It was born in blood; with its grand opening overshadowed by a nearby shipwreck just days before its guardian gas-light was lit. The crumbling Italian lighthouse perched on the edge of Mogadishu’s Old Harbor was built over a century ago, and abandoned some 20 years ago as trade dried up to the failed state of Somalia.

5. Grand Cay, Bahamas

6. Klein Curacao, Caribbean

The lighthouse on Great Isaac Cay, a small island in the Bahamas around 20 miles north-east of the Bimini Islands, was built in 1859 to guide trade-ships carrying exports of sun-dried sea salt from Inagua The Klein Curacao (‘Little Curacao’) lighthouse was first built in 1850, on a tiny spit of land 11km off the southeastern tip of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea.

7. Capo d’Otranto, Italy

8. Aniva Rock, Russia

The Capo d’Otranto lighthouse was built in 1867, situated at Italy’s most eastern point, marking the point where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet. It was abandoned in the 1970’s The Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia.

9. Ship John Shoal, USA

10. Fish Fluke Point, Canada

Construction of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse in Delaware Bay took 27 years, from a decision by the US Congress in 1850 that a light was needed through various incarnations. The Grand Harbor Lighthouse on Fish Fluke Point, Ross Island, was built in 1879, a square wooden tower 32-feet tall with the Keeper’s dwelling attached.

See many more abandoned places in the ruins gallery.

Explore more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:

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You can also read SF & Fantasy stories inspired by ruins.

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Comments 1

  1. The story that Germany had a naval base on Klein Curacao is pure fiction peddled again and again. Actually the Dutch offered the German navy a station in Willemstad which was politely declined as the German navy used a coaling station in that port which was absolutely sufficient considering the minimal naval presence of the Kaiserreich in the Caribbean at the time (and also later). At the time it was clear policy of the German chancellor Bismarck not to persue colonial ambitions.
    The german archives do not give the slightest clue for such a project – and if you see the island it is obvious that you could not build a port there.

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