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26 October

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Up at 6 for coffee. [I decided it was a mistake not having taken moisturiser vs sunburn and whatever else I might need in the night into the mosquito net, although I'd worked out to take the alarm, fly spray, some bottled water, a torch, and the piezo-electric anti mosquito itch thing (which I'd planned to give to Mel before I left. Oops, something else to send out along with the books and Dianne's classic alarm clock). Oh, and the camera for reviewing the day's pictures, and the notebook for journalling.]

Up at 6ish, went to the Dark/Stripe/Solo holt (nothing) and then to Accari Pond. Saw a white heron and the snake-bird (anhinga) which still reminds me of archeopteryx. We also saw an otter, but only its head, which wasn't enough to identify it.

Back to the ranch for pancakes (via a photo of the wild bricks) with almost a whole grapefruit - greenish on the outside, ruby on the inside.

Discussion about upcoming visitors, the desirability of warning off caiman with a shot across the nose - something Mel's dad had been itching to do. This followed a cayman drifting closer to where Sappho was playing, and Rohan having to be encouraged to throw rocks at it when we alighed for breakfast at the landing.

Seems Wilderness Explorers hadn't told Karanambu about my particular interest in otters, and Melanie had only recognised my name from the email I'd written. The Guyananese I've met seem to be either very alert - mostly people at the ranch - or quite oblivious and lacking initiative; a curiously sharp border between the two. Perhaps it's the education system. (For instance, the medical team's itinerary not having been circulated by the health ministry, so folks didn't know where to go for the free clinics! Karanambu only heard about them at the last moment by over-hearing it on the radio!) Rohan disappeared yesterday, apparently to a party, and turned up again today.

I reflected that even if we'd like Sappho to come up each night, or not to be killed by caiman, we can't proscribe what whe does, or she'd be less than a wild otter (which is what she's 'meant' to be), even if that includes her death. Peter the Great clearly chose to be a pet; Sappho's clearly decided to sleep on the bank.

Dianne is fun, when she's talking to Sappho: "My bogle and my beast, my beloved." "...because I love you, even though you don't love me." "You've got your sharp teeth in." "Too many teeth." "Not to bite (the guest)" "Ah-ah-ah-ah" (meaning 'you're biting, stop it') and "My horror."

I swam briefly with Sappho before lunch; she was in a bitey mood, which was sort-of sweet in an interactive sort of way, but it was on the borderline where it'd be dangerous if she were any more aggressive. I don't think I'll swim with her again, especially after the pointy catfish she caught - apparently the points go 'right through you' if you step on one, and often get infected. Um... yay.

Out, lunch, something like lasagna, but a bit too dry for me. Much better eaten with the avacado from the salad. Siesta again, then out spotting with Dianne and Kenneth to the upper river - nothing at all the holts - Accari Pond - nothing, except for a wader on the lily pads, an anhinga drying its wings, and a ?sungreeb which Kenneth mistook for an otter initially. Back to the hold where we'd seen them emerging before; we saw one otter upstream, possibly two for Kenneth, but couldn't identify them.

Back to find Sappho wouldn't come up again; waited in the dark at the top of the steps for Dianne to pick her up, but to no avail. I helped keep her away from the steps, but she go back into the undergrowth. We eventually left her by the pile of bricks near the old pump house. Dinner was sweetcorn soup (which I only ate a little of, bearing in mind my vague intolerance of maize and my belly's unsettled state) but the fish and chips and green beans were good. Two new visitors - Debbie and Jan (Yan). Jan's vegetarian, which Wildlife Explorers had neglected to tell Karanambu. Up for a 6am start tomorrow = coffee at 5.45, so up by 5.15. Last full day; I hope my belly improves.

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This page last changed Sat Dec 25 00:35:57 2004