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22 October

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Up in the dark, showered by candlelight, and inserted contact lenses. I should have taken a bottle of water into the mosquito net too, because my mouth was dry.

Over to Edward and Mel's house for coffee. A 'late' start in the boat at 5.30. Went up river, seeing kingfishers, herons, egrets, and a caiman which let us get within a few feet before sinking. Returning to the holts we'd seen the previous night, the boat's motor evidently woke the otters, because Dark, Solo, and Streak from the family which used this stretch of the river last year, poured their sleek forms from the hole into the river. We didn't see them on the river afterwards though, so we went to Accari Pond, to see whether they'd gone there to join the rest of the family (eight members last year) but we only saw the same otters. Apparently, Melanie normally takes some fish with her, as a sort of peace-offering for disturbing the otters, but had forgotten that day.

Heading back to the ranch, Mel got out, but went me with Kenneth down the other way to the ox-bow lake, still connected to the river at one end. We saw two otters there, Milkymouth - from the family which was there last year - and a second one which didn't lift from the water enough to show its neck-patch. We watched the fishing for a while, then went back for breakfast - very good scrambled eggs (nicely creamy, not dry like I tend to manage) with peppers and tomato fried in; bacon, and little fried bread bun things; fruit: 'sweet olives' which are really small bananas about 4" long, and ?mango.

Chatted about society, meeting people, the internet as an information resource for school children in poor countries (vs textbooks which they can't afford), the way people are becoming lonlier despite/because of technology (less face-to-face interaction), then lots of theology - the stuff I've been reading that seems to be based on a combination of literary criticism and comparing texts.

10am - went to snooze. Read some of my St Mark commentary, then slept. I woke to her Sappho, the resident otter, whistling and complaining. Went over to look, and wasn't who she wanted, but I held her paw for a while because she put it through the wire. Then Melanie came up to try to calm her down and put her back to bed. She was very cute, playing like a big ferret/kitten, but wouldn't sleep. She kept pretending to, but when Mel moved towards the door, she'd interpose herself each time. Melanie suggested I sneak off in case I was getting her excited, so I did. I reviewed a few video clips I'd taken, then Melanie joined me and we went back to the house to find Melanie's family there.

Much rum+cola - Mel's dad seemed very interested I should try it, although the rum was in a whiskey bottle for some reason (security?) - before a delicious spaghetti bolognese - all the meals have been delicious - and lively conversation; Mel's dad has lots of stories, and enjoys telling them. Then I went for another siesta. I saw a lizard on my wall, but it went before I could snap it.

Still regretting not buying a larger memory chip for my camera when I had the opportunity; I thought perhaps Dianne could find a suitable USB cable before she came up. Annoying to have left mine behind, but I simply assumed anyone with a laptop there would also have a cable. It's not even as if it would have been heavy enough to affect my baggage allowance.

Sappho was creating again, the men were smoothing the gravel in her area. I watched from my hammock for a while, then noticed she was out, so I went over to look. Rohan, who was looking after her, was trying to fill a bucket while Sappho tried to clamber into the bucket to be with the water - exactly what Gavin Maxwell said about otters needing to make water do things: water that isn't moving must be made to move and spread out as far as it can. Eventually, Sappho succeeded in sitting in the bucket, so Rohan left her to it (not responding to my 'You got more in the bucket than you wanted') and took the box of fish down to the river. Sappho followed him, but when I followed too, she kept looking back oddly at me, so I went back to my hammock and read for a while, then went looking for otter holts upriver with Melanie, her mum, and Kenneth. We didn't see any otters, but we did see a small group of capybara, some capuchin? monkeys, and some muscovy ducks. And lots of caiman, of course. We did find some new holts, near or at those from last year, and a scratch wall where the otters make clawmarks to warn other otters away. We drifted back down slowly for a while, talking and spotting the monkeys and ducks.

Back for a delicious dinner of the fish Edward and Melanie's dad and brothers had caught. Melanie's dad had lots of stories again, then we discussed the USB situation and looked at the camera cable Mel found, but it was a different shape. They also didn't think Dianne would be able to find or buy an SD card in Georgetown... heh, Dixon's outrageous prices look like less of a problem now.

Lightning on the way back down the river from finding the holts, but no thunder or rain. Very brief and light shower as we readied to set out, but it passed.

21.44 I remembered to take the water bottle into the mosquito net tonight.

Ottering tomorrow, with Ashley and Edward, 5.15 again.

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This page last changed Sat Dec 25 00:35:46 2004