ndumo and kosi bay
After roughly a week of being away we are back on the good ol’ island of St.Lucia. It has been a rainy and chilly couple of weeks. St. Lucia definitely needs the rain but it is not conducive for field work. A bit about the trip…
We spent the first three days in Ndumo, a nature and game reserve about 3 hours from St. Lucia. We camped in the park campsites (And let me tell you, this country has mastered car camping. They don’t mess around), enjoying the parking during the day and catching crocs from the boat at night. The one day of beautiful weather we drove around one of the lakes and had a nice picnic lunch very near a 4.7 meter man-eating croc. Let’s just say that we kept our eye on him as he swam closer to us. It was awesome to go on the boat at night and safe because there are very few hippos at Ndumo. In the spotlight the crocs’ eyes are red and then we can see where they are. According to the most recent aerial survey there are over three hundred crocodiles in the small lake we were in. It was neat to be on the boat at night as the frogs made their calls, the birds were chirping, and the stars lit up the sky. The last night on the boat we saw six giraffes grazing near of the shore of the lake, which was very cool to see. It was nice to be camping again. In Utah there were few animals to be concerned about – the first night at Ndumo Jon said to me: “Oh yeah, watch out for white rhino coming back from the bathroom at night; I have bumped into them here twice.” I only saw them during the day…thankfully.
After Ndumo we went on to Kosi Bay for three days where we stayed with the park ecologist and his family, good friends of Jon and the Combrinks. They were very nice and hospitable. Kosi Bay is a beautiful area: four lakes and numerous channels and rivers than run into the ocean. Lekker. We took the boat out two nights in search of crocs, though there are few in the system. The first night we didn’t see any crocs but the second night we saw seven and caught two. They were tiny (just the kind I like!). We also saw a Pel’s fishing owl from the boat the last night – apparently it’s a very rare (endangered) species. It was a large and beautiful bird. It was nice to spend so much time on the water – I really enjoy being in boats. Had lots of lekker meals and conversations with the Kyles (the family we were staying with).
To keep this from becoming a novel of a post, I’ll stop there. Overall it was a great week of seeing more of KwaZulu-Natal, specifically some of Jon’s other field areas. I leave one week from today, so I will do my best to soak up these finals days of being in St. Lucia. It was been wonderful to be here.