Fish!!

Posted on November 15, 2014

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Camp is delightful! It has a wonderful simple charm while still being pretty modern compared to other field stations.

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The “mansion” as it’s been christened, is raised above the ground with wooden boardwalks linking the main house to the kitchen and other areas. Camp is all wood with a tin roof and few glass windows, making it more of an open house. The toilets are squat and go and there are several Mandis (buckets) for washing. There is no hot water, so after a day of sweating in the heat, the cold water takes a couple of ladles to get used to. Electricity is run on a generator from 5pm until 10pm. There is a cook who prepares local food three times a day but there is no fridge. Any food bought has to be stored in plastic containers and locked tight due to rats and other opportunitsts! Camp did have a sun bear that would raid the kitchen and eventually had to be captured and relocated. Everyone has a bed with a mossie net to sleep under.

This morning I went out onto the river with one of the PhD students – Fin. She is looking at various species, acidity of water levels and the impact this has on the populations of fish. Fish is the main source of protein and the staple livelihood for locals here.

I spent four hours siting in a motorised canoe helping to write down data Fin collected from 20 different traps up and down the river. I recorded the species, it’s length, weight, and any other important observations. We even caught a snake, albeit a dead one. She stuck into a plastic bag to take back to camp. It did look a like a boil-in-the-bag dinner for one, all that was missing was Uncle Ben’s rice.

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One of the local guys in the boat with us recorded the water pH and temperature as well as oxygen levels and reset the traps with fresh bait. The sun was hot and I have definitely got some colour today. The downside of being sat in a tiny wooden canoe for more than 4 hours was coming back with a sore bottom (clearly needs to be more fleshy for this kinda of work), wreaking of fish and my head spinning even after I was back on land.

Tomorrow I’m probably going to experience vertigo. I am getting up at the crack of dawn – 4am to trek into the forest to climb a tower which is around 40m. It’s above the forest canopy where we have the best chance of seeing but more like hearing gibbons!!

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Posted in: Asia