Wednesday, 02.03.2011

This morning one hornbill sat in the trees, again. When I returned from fetching the camera from our tree house, however, it was gone. Dagmar had been fortunate to see it in flight and was truly impressed.

At the beginning of our Rafflesia tour we were brought to the starting point of the trail. It is a steep ascent from the first steps on and in the warm and humid jungle we were soon drenched in sweat. After about an hour we arrived at the flower.

The Rafflesia (Thai: Bua Phut) is a very rare species and it takes some 9 months to fully develop a blossom. This only happens once in a few years. It is a parasitic plant and can only exist on a particular type of vine (liana). The blossom is in full bloom only for 3 to 5 days and therefore it is almost impossible to find one of these without a guide. The Rafflesia produces a smell like rotting flesh to attract insects. However, this is strongest at the end of the blooming period and even then it is hard to detect for the human nose.

viewpoint at the start of the trail

through the jungle

hot hot hot!!

eight petals instead of five

In the vicinity of the blossom we also found two buds at the age of one and 3-4 months, respectively. Our guide Boo showed us many other things in the jungle such as a small hive of sweat bees, Flying Dragons (that's really how this small gliding lizards are called!), chameleons and spiders and we learned that cicada larvae spend years in the earth before they hatch - only to die soon after mating.

  Rafflesia buds [Monat(e) = month(s)]

Dagmar and giant bamboo

home of a tarantula

cicada mound

Back at our tree house we decided to take a bath in the river. The water was refreshing but not cold and therefore just right after this strenuous walk. There was one spot where the water even was deep enough for a few swimming strokes.


... and Jane!

In the afternoon we went to the monkey swimming hole one more time but
again we had not been lucky to see them. On the way we saw a monitor lizard dashing into the jungle not far from our resort and watched a beautiful small lizard on a tree along the road.

In the evening we went for a night safari into the jungle. We did not expect to see large animals, but the nightly jungle atmosphere alone with all its sounds was quite an experience. We saw some palm-sized spiders, big moths and other insects, small lizards, frogs and once at a small stream a cat-sized mammal. Boo did not know the English name but described it as mouse or rat. That must have been one big rat! Anyway, it vanished so quickly into the undergrowth that I only could catch a glimpse of it.

a bizarre insect, probably a centipede

the nets of that spider are so strong that even small birds can get caught in them

Boo was a bit frustrated that we had not seen any larger animals, but since we had not expected it anyway that was no problem for us.

The next day we would head south again for the small island of Koh Jum. =>

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