20 Mar
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
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Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
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Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (49 posts)
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Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

16 December 2010

Searching for hairy noses

8th December 2010

This is how you look for the world’s rarest otter. First: you wake up at 3:45 in the morning, in order to get going at 4:30 on the hour-and-a-half drive to the secret site (sssssh!). Then you get bitten half to death by mosquitoes while you unload the car. This is so you have something to itch for the rest of the day. Then you wade through knee-deep swamp water, occasionally plunging to waist deep, to get to the hide – mercifully a lofty eight feet above the water. Next you set up your little camp chairs and sit down, veeeeery carefully because the floor of the hide is made of branches about as thick as a forearm with an array of gaps between them, so getting all four chair legs perched on a branch is tricky.

Now comes the hardest part. You wait. For ten hours on a tiny camp chair in a little hide, watching the patch of swamp before you. This is where the mosquito bites come in handy, to give you something to think about. To be absolutely fair, we took turns with one watching and one reading (hurray for the Kindle).

The patch of swamp contains a pair of small fishtraps – imagine a metal frame about the size of a beer crate, covered in netting. The local otters have learned how to take fish from village fishtraps, so to have any chance of a sighting we have a couple of fish in these traps to entice an otter.

I mustn’t forget to mention the torrential downpour either. A group of ten long-tail macaques sat perched miserably in trees, watching with apparent satisfaction while the hide leaked in several places and we attempted to arrange ourselves so a minimum leaked on us. The hide is only six-by-six feet, so we failed.

We also failed to see our hairy-nosed otter. But fear not! We have four more days available to repeat all of the above.

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