Monday, 28 June 2010

Update time!
its been quite a time of late!
I have had some hard and interesting transects and some heavy nights.
last week I went to the mangroves, which was fun! I ate a load of a fruit there that is endemic to that region of anjouan... as I understand it, its only found on an area about the size of brighton and thats its entire world range, which is a shame because its delicious.
I saw turtle shells there as well, quite strange.
I also managed to get eaten alive by fleas of some sort from a matress there, yuck!
one side effect of this career is that there is a really large range of things that have bitten and stung me.
I got stung by a baby portugese man of war the other day!
or if it wasnt one of those it certainly looked like one

I had a mega climb the other day, over a km in height climbed and about 15km in distance. was tough. then I ran down it in teh dark. I realised half way down that I now descend hills at almost the same speed as the anjouanese, which is saying something, which is nice because it means at some point I have learnt to keep up.
and climbing through a forest high up on a mountain in gale force winds and fog in the dark is something that is quite unlike anything else I have done.

I got hammered after that, and the next day as it was the malagash anniversary of independance.
it is the anjouanese day of independance on monday, though i doubt they will get pissed. there will probably just be lots of men in white robes swaying to repetative shite music while the women arent allowed in.
having said that, I could see living here for a longer time would not be to bad, iots been very nice here. I only have 2 more weeks on the island now as Im going to go explore moheli and grand comoros after that and then return home, where I shall begin frantically analysing and writing up. I so far have a 68 in my coursework, which means as they only give marks in 65,68,72 type slots if I get a 72 then I get a distinction overall which would be nice.

today was a bit of a failure, lots of lateness and punctures culminated in me not doing a transect. the only one ive lost to logistics though which i think isnt too bad. ive lost quite a few to weather and politics though.
ive gotten good data though. looks like ill be able to do an accurate description of the habitat choices of the species, a population estimate and a distribution map, so all good stuff. ive gotten about 180 owl recordings over something like 140 points
I saw the gps earlier and when its been on I have climber 15 kilometers and walked 125, though I have done much more than that in total because its only on when im doing a transect :p not to bad I think!

I only have 5ish transects left to do now and i have two weeks to do them in, which is very nice. shocking that ive gotten it all done in some ways.

ok thats all for now, i need to send an important email, love to all

Friday, 18 June 2010

hullo again
thanks for all the comments! appreciated.replying to them can be hard because the computers are so slow but they are appreciated.

I just got back from a knackering set of transects. Thoroughly enjoying the fact its my weekend now. I plan to get hammered and watch the football.

very strange thing happened to me today, i left my tent in teh back of a taxi without realising it and then later when i got a taxi again, it just so happened that I got the sameone by accident.whenwe stopped they calmly handed me my tent. there must be a good few hundred taxis in this area...
very strange

I also have a good story about a taxi, and old religous man and two enormously obese ladies but that will have to be told in person.

I managed to get lost in the woods in the dark last night for about an hour, we were wandering around following this stream. it was not a major problem as its hard to get lost on the island in teh day, we would only have to have waited till light but it was a bit iffy. the feeling of being lost is really not helped by the WHUM WHUM WHUM of giant bats flying past your head I have to say. they make quite a creepy leathery noise.

my transect last night in general was a hard one actually, I climbed the best part of a kilometer in height, which is a long way let me tell you, we got lost and then when we camped it was the largest storm ive ever camped in. I was quite scared the top of the tent was going to blow away.

a feature of this islandis that there are few places on it that are truely flat, and even then its not for long. so when your halfway up a mountain, and all around it are many more mountains, with valleys, rivers, patches of forest and a plethora of paths, half of which just peter out after having taken you down miles, its bloody easy to get lost, especially when you are doing all this in the dark.

Its funny the things that I have gotten used to. for example tonite I shall be having kebabs. I shall buy these at the side of a road I know, its not really a road thatcars go down but the taxi drivers here can get their cars through things you would not expect a car to ever fit down.and then they will somehow find the space to pass another oncoming taxi. anyway this road is a kinda pedestrian area and there is this little bit off to oneside, where there are a bunch of breeze blocks with cardboard on. There are a ton of side alleys, in fact most of the area is side alley here. many of them have become tunnels as storeys get added to houses, causing to meet the house here are never built in one go. you just add another storey or room or door when you have the money. anyway there this half blind guy runs a bbq every night, selling roast bananas, kebabs and the sorry excuse for chicken that they sell here which is imported from brazil.

I shall then be going onto a bar, which is a kinda courtyard of palmleaf shacks where I will be watching the football in the owners bedroom, where he has a tv. then ill head round the back where my friends who run the place will be and I shall get hammered on coconut booze. the bit round back that we will get hammered in is a little patchof mud surrounded by three walled palm shacks that serve as bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. there are chickens and cats all over the place. there will probably be old dvds of bob marley or westlife playing in a surreal touch. then I will hope to catch a lift on someones bike or ill walk back. the path back goes through about a mile of a palm hut area known as moronsi back to the stone building area. there Ill cross a bridge that passes over a river of rubbish that will likely be on fire and being eaten by cows, mostlikely at the same time. no joke. and the cows are the healthiest looking I have ever seen. with any luck ill sleep through the religous nutters shouting off the rooftops for the morning prayers.

oh and i had owls flying over me last night, was cool.

love to all

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Hi all
I was booked to go to the arse end of nowhere today, which involves a massive journey and lots of climing just to get to the tiny village, however it appears there is rain so i am going elsewhere!
I cant tell you how glad i am of this.
especially as I am going to the mangroves instead!
this is wonderfull for two reasons, one I have not worked in mangroves before, despite wanting to and two they are flat. the are fucking flat oh dear god they are flat. I never want to see another mountain again.
on the upside I have gotten a lot better at climbing mountains. I reclimbed the first one I climbed when i got here and it was unrecognisable! last time I left at 3 and got back at 11, this time I left at about 4.30 due to my colleague being late and got back at 9.30 in time to watch the world cup! and i did twice as many points! admittadly the speedy return may have been partially due to the fact that we ran back down the mountain so I could watch the football! It was a massive success on that one in fact as I thought that the football started at 8:30 so i was hoping to catch the end but I got back literally as the players walked onto the pitch! wonderfull.

The people who live in the house I have been living in co$e back this week, so I will no longer have the house to myself. I will have some company however so that will be exceedingly nice.

anyhoo much love
tis sunday and a lil late so Im just gonna do a quick one.
been crayfishing, ive been eating them for about 3 days now we caught so many!

Im off to a village in the mountains until probably thursday tomoz.
its all going well, getting good data. Im feeling intensely lazy atm. all I want to do is chill and watch tv.
Perhaps tomoz I will have more energy.

The habitat of the island is baisically plantations at lower levels or anywhere easy to get to, turning into degraded forest and finally pristine forest depending on how much of a hassle it is to get there.
we normally climb 600 metres or so in about 2 kilometers. steep
ocassionally we climb faster than that. one bit we climbed 500 metres in 500 metres. was insane.

ok too tired for this kinda thing more on thursday if i can get online
lve to all

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Hi all
sorry about the delayed update, there have been rolling blackouts and connection problems.

It has been much of the same really, lots of mountain climbing in the dark.
I have however seen lemurs!
a troop of them came to inspect me when we were in teh forest, very cool little creatures. they make the strangest noises. I al very happy to have seen lemurs in the wild, they are damn cool.
I also did a transect along a river where I caught a meal load of big crayfish and contemplated catching some of the many eels that we saw. given i was doing all the fishing with my bare (bear?) hands I decided that was a bad idea.

I spent last week in a village up in the mountains, its about an hours climb from the nearest road. it was interesting. All the huts were mud grass and various leaves.

I have also seen a large number of hermit crabs.for no apparant reason our transect last night was covered in them. Huge ones too. if you startle them they have a whole bunch of escape techniques, from balling up and rolling down the hill to dropping their shells and running off with their soft bodies in tow!

other than that im just pottering really, either climbing or sleeping and watching random dvds.

love to all hope you are well!