As a blizzard arrives here in Virginia, my thoughts are going south to the Caribbean. Catalina Island off the south coast of the Dominican Republic would be just the kind of spot to be right about now.
A couple of pics from our stop where we checked out the crocodiles.
I had such a response to my last post, that I am doing another. The last Post was a community of the Emberá tribe that is located well up the Chagres River in central Panama (most are in eastern Panama). Today's folks are from Kwamalasamutu, Suriname. This is in the southern part of the country and several tribes live in one consolidated village.
For dinner, Don and I have been putting most of the meal together from various scraps we grabbed at the store, and yesterday evening Don was busy preparing a chicken curry. This dish is a tradition here.
Now this is just another unrelated factiod about things happening last night. Apparently nearly everyone randomly decided to head to the various bathrooms in the middle of the night and take meds for severe stomach cramping. Just one of those things
This morning we climbed the hill with much gear. Earlier we rigged the traverse to a section of upper cave that we could not map otherwise. Today we mapped it.
As usual, the internet is brutally slow. And yet again I note I am not able to write great text nor get in all the pics I would like to. Hope you like what I am able to post
Okay, so to get back to the wharf area and see if I can get pics up. There is a central market area on the coast, where the boats come in and everything fish, fruit and vegetable is sold. Pretty big place. First up, the boats.
Click on the previous picture to get a larger size, and you will see a lot of very big lights hanging from the orange crossbeams. Apparently they can turn those on and use them to attract squid and fish to the boat. Something I would like to look in to more at some point.
There were about eight people fishing along the wharf, and all were catching these small fish regularly. This young gentleman just caught one and posed for me with his catch without me even asking him to. In general, fish like this make great meals.
The fishing technique, however, was new to me. Apparently hard to catch on a hook (small mouth or something), they put a scrap of bait about an inch above a medium-sized treble hook, and when they feel something nibbling on the bait, they yank hard and the treble hook snags the fish. I saw this done with and without a bobber.
And thus ends the short tour of the docks. But there are certainly more fishing boats than what can actually be docked, so I end with a photo of some fishing boats moored offshore.
The city of Kota Kinabalu (known as KK) is a hive of commercial activity. It is the capitol of the Sabah State in East Malaysia, has a population of about half a million people, and is probably the major fishing and commercial zone for most of the region.
And in all the massive mess of cars and shops and apartments, there is apparently an ongoing effort to sort out the parking situation. We saw many cars with tickets and several times saw the people writing the tickets.
KK sits on the northwestern side of the island of Borneo and faces the South China Sea to the west. So let's have a look at one of the wharfs in town where the fishing boats come in.
Or not, as my software is acting up again and not letting me post more photos. I'll post this and try and later to add more.
NOTE: I put up the missing pictures and story line from 7/7/2014 so have a look.
Back in 1995, I was working for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. I worked in the non-game unit, and specialized in small mammals (bats, woodrats, flying squirrels, voles, shrews, etc.). Part of all this was being capable with ropes, as the winter bat hibernation surveys in caves often needed rappelling skills and rope ascending as well as just plain knowing how to rig the ropes to avoid accidents.
And the folks who worked with non-game birds, in general, didn't have the rope skills, as it wasn't much of what they did. So, when the Peregrine falcons started nesting under bridges, the bird people called us mammal people to come out and do the rope work needed to capture the falcon chicks for banding (and a bit of blood work to assess disease potentials). Note: This wasn't the first time for this stuff, but my first time.
So here I am, under the Turnpike Bridge in Philadelphia (some 210 feet above the water) on the catwalk.
I was just the belay person, which was fine with me. I don't like heights at all and not having to rappel down to the nest kept me sane. See, the bridge sways, and vibrates as wind goes by and trucks cross overhead. And then the water is moving along down below. You have to be really focused on things, and my dislike of heights didn't help, but just doing the belay and helping with the rigging of ropes was okay.
However, Cal Butchkoski, at the time a Wildlife Technician for the PGC and my boss, did have to rappel down. And the nest wasn't just sitting there in the open, but in a box beam. So he had to climb into the beam to catch the Peregrine chicks and then ferry them up to a bird person for banding and blood work.
Lots of photo ops not available to me, as I was quite busy with the ropes while Cal was moving. But along the way the female Peregrine was attacking him fairly regularly and got in at least one really good talon hit on his kayaking helmet. He also wore a welder's leather vest to try and prevent serious injury, as the female was really having at him.
This all took quite a while, and eventually Cal was able to climb back out of the beam and ascend the rope back to the catwalk. Again, I was busy for all of this so no photos.
But we weren't done. Given the difficulties of accessing the chicks in the beam (plus the more likely troubles with disease and parasites in such a space), we mounted nesting boxes in an area that could be accessed much more easily with the hopes that the birds would use them instead.
So we mounted nest boxes. While not quite shown in this photo, the safety belay here is rigged to a tow hook on the truck. We rigged a cable ladder to get down to the ironwork, and then got the job done.
And while these photos aren't studio quality, it should be noted that all of this was done with a stiff wind and in a heavy drizzle.
I am happy to have contributed to helping with the Peregrine work in Pennsylvania (and I did this stuff two or three more times), yet I am glad to not be doing it anymore.
I keep to a minimum my photos of misery on the blog. I like to keep things upbeat. But after living in, and traveling to many countries, I have a few photos that show the less fortunate. I am not so keen on even taking these types of pictures, as I am not a photojournalist, but here is one.
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist