Monday, 12 October 2009
Buffalo, bull frogs, boas and boats
Our evening meal was cooked by Ma Dot, seen here minding the baby.
We ate sitting round a long table while bullfrogs lowed under the floorboards like sick cows. It was raining when we arrived and this obviously drove them to a frenzy. Afterwards we went to bed with a lamp, safely tucked up in our mosquito net.
We were woken in the night by a strange snuffling noise and in the morning found the hoofprints of water buffalo all round the hut. Surrounded by rain forest, it's not surprising that wildlife is everywhere. Butterflies the size of tea plates, frilled lizards, the odd boa constrictor. Someone was lucky enough to photograph a boa eating a lizard up in the beams of the main building, but we haven't seen anything like this yet.
There are apparently a pair of fish eagles on the other side of the island, despite the competition for food supply. There doesn't seem to be any lack of fish at the moment. When we went for a walk on the jetty, shoals of tiny silver fish were jumping out of the water and falling back like a shower of rain.
In the morning we walked through the village, followed by a flock of curious chldren, all practising their English: 'Hello! - What is your name?'
All the houses are on stilts here and you can see why when the ocean is so close.
We found stacks of rafts, like surf boards, made from layers of polystyrene and bamboo, bound together with fishing line.
The local chldren use them to fish for squid - some of them as young as 8 or 9 go out as far as four or five kilometres.
The fishermen use the slim, fast, longtail boats, but they are having to go further and further out as their own fishing grounds are being invaded by the huge bottom trawlers with their stern dragnets.
The sad thing is that these foreign boats are only here because their own fishing grounds are so depleted.
One of the longtails had sprung a leak and we all helped to turn it over and bail out, so it could be beached for repairs.
Tomorrow we go back to the mainland in the big yellow boat, but we are coming back to the island the following day after getting new supplies. We like it here!