Thursday, April 23, 2009
Up The River By Kayak Take Two
The next morning I awoke to the choir of birds and critters of the jungle - it was a beautiful morning, and I decided to explore the possibilities for kayaking and snorkeling. I walked along the beautiful and litter-free beach! What a nice change from Bali where litter was abundant!
I didn't see anyone next door where the ocean kayaks were lined up, so I continued down the beach to the pier and talked with the guys there - among them my driver from the day before. One of the guys said he was in charge of the sea kayaks, and suggested I meet him at 2 PM - it would be better kayaking then? Why - the tide would be up, well, not one to argue with local knowledge, I agreed to 2 PM. I spent the rest of the morning painting, and then went over to the kayaks at 2 PM. A couple of guys were there, and I was soon set up with a kayak, paddle and spray skirt, and one of them said he would be my guide, ok! I didn't mind, and said that was fine, so we set out. (The tide was not up, and it was a bit windy, which is typical of the afternoon, but as I said earlier, I didn't want to argue with local knowledge!) My guy was but a young kid, teenager, and he set out with a vengeance - urging me "faster, faster"!! I told him I was not up for a race, I wanted to watch for birds and wildlife and enjoy the scenery - to no avail - he kept paddling like mad! I took my camera and binoculars out, and pretty much ignored him. When I spotted an eagle or osprey - and looked in my binoculars to see if I could identify it, he paddled over to me and wanted to know what I was looking at - I tried to explain. Then he started up with his "faster, left, right, left right" again - I must admit I was getting just a tiny annoyed! He stopped again, and when I got closer he said" Me very very tired!" I just smiled and shook my head at him.
As he started up again paddling around the outcropping at the end of the bay, I lost sight of him for a moment, but knew it would be even windier out there, so I was careful, as I had my camera out. As I came around what do I see but my "expert" paddler capsized! I could see he was fine, close to the shore, so I headed over to the lee side, to get my camera and binoculars back in the dry bag, and then headed over to him. By then he had finally managed to get back in the kayak, and said "I just went for a little swim!" Yeah, right - and now I want to paddle the river I told him, it's too windy here to take photos. So he said to me: "You paddle river, I go home study English!" I thought that was a good idea, and off he went, and up the river I went!
I had a lovely paddle on the river, going up as far as I could, before turning around. I saw several birds - among them the beautiful blue and turquoise belted kingfisher, and an iguana swimming ashore - I had seen it swim the day before, but wasn't sure what it was, because I had only seen it in the water with the head sticking up. Now there was no doubt as I saw it get up the riverbank flicking it's long tongue!
Soon after I look up in one of the big trees overhanging the river - and spot something! Could it be a snake? I find it in my binoculars, and sure enough a rather big python coiled up taking a nap between two branches! When you see a python in a tree, you know you're in the jungle! I got some good photos of it - too bad I couldn't see the head, but admired the pattern on the body, which really blended with the colors of the tree - I was quite proud to have spotted it! I met a girl in a kayak as she was heading back on the river also, so of course I had to point out the snake to her (after I had assured her it was absolutely safe!) She was from Holland, and was volunteering at the local turtle hatchery. I made a note of it, as I wanted to stop by to see it the following day.
When I got back in from my paddle the Swiss couple that had just checked in were sitting and enjoying the evening and we chatted a bit. As I went in to my room to drop off my binoculars I spot a band of monkeys just across on the opposite bank of the river! Grabbing my camera I stop by the front porch to tell Lukas and Barbara, so they could see the monkeys too! What a great day it had been!
During the night we had a huge thunderstorm that woke me up, and it continued into the morning hours - so I knew my plans of a snorkeling trip out to Coral Island probably wouldn't be a good idea - I checked with the boat driver - when he finally showed up - and he confirmed that it would probably not be a good day for snorkeling, so I decided to explore the village instead.