African-Japanese Sushi party!

EarthWatch left yesterday. The party we had today was of course not to celebrate this – Nick simply came up with the idea of cooking Japanese food today. All we had to agree on was helping to pay for the ingredients. Never having tried Sushi myself, I agreed, since I swore to myself never to eat it where I don’t know whether it’s fresh. I think that means I trust Nick a lot 😉

It was quite tasty, actually, especially considering it was only raw fish. It also was totally different from what I had expected, but still good. I may just try it again some other time, I’m not really sure if I really like it enough to enjoy it more often, though.

Friday was a pretty uneventful day – all I did was cut some more video footage, and I finally settled for background music (I think). After lunch we cleaned one more area of the center pen, but this was done fairly quickly, much to our relief. Scoffling isn’t everyone’s favourite activity. In the evening we did a game count, but it turned out to be pretty useless. Since it started raining on a more regular basis now, the game seems to have wandered off. All we got to see were a few oryx, hares and owls. One of the latter even had a mouse with it. Yet, it was absolutely uneventful… but fun, since we kept looking for tree rhinos and snow leopards (warning, insider joke). 😀

Saturday was not particularly interesting either, nor was today. We got to feed the center pen cheetahs, however, which was a nice change of pace during that otherwise lazy day. Not that I don’t appreciate lazy days here – after all, the hard work takes its toll on me. At least it’s very rewarding.

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Twelve hours on stilts

I sat around today. Literally all day long – our task today was to perform a 12 hour-long waterhole gamecount at Bellebenno. So we got up at 4 (okay, I admit it – we got up at 4:30 or something…), prepared some sandwiches, a little bacon for lunch and packed our hard-boiled eggs, then off we went at 5:25 (we had planned to leave at 5:15, but this… is Africa).

Markus and I arrived at our waterhole at 6:02 – and climbed our treetop hide. About 8 metres high, this hide is something for the adventurous. I myself have been up there last year already, but coming back to the same spot again was a nice touch. The hide is about one by one metres, and barely 1.80m high. Standing is therefore not recommended, but you’ll have to try every once in a while since there are only wooden bars in place of seats, so sitting requires a lot of body fat or plenty of pillows. Since we don’t have enough of the former, we decided to bring a blanket and pillows. Turned out to be a good choice since the morning was cold and quite wet; however, it didn’t rain as much as we were afraid it would.

Then the waiting began – waiting for animals, and whenever we saw one (or a group), we’d take notes of how many, what species, when they arrived and when they left. We also tried to determine the animal’s genders, and while that might be easy from up close, sitting up there at quite some distance from the hole doesn’t make things easy. We filled two pages during our observation period which seems to be a good average. We saw lots of oryx, eland, warthogs, a few jackals and, shortly before leaving, two giraffe. Not to mention the huge flocks of Guinea Fowls.

When we got back just in time for dinner, it started raining and thundering heavily. Still, it was a good feeling being “home” after such a long time in the field. Too bad we didn’t get to see cheetahs 😉

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