Crocodile RockI’m looking forward to the next trip because we’re going to new sites. It’d be good to see what’s out there. I’d hate to say good bye to the best swimming hole I’ve had in the past year though. It even had a strangling fig root that I could do a Tarzan on and jump into the pool… There are bound to be larger swimming holes around but I kinda have this fear of deep, large pools of water. It’s funny – I could be happily swimming along in the river, and then I’ll start to have a panic attack, and flounder in the water. Actually it’s more of a fear of crocodiles – even though there are no crocodiles in that part of the river. Well, I’m someone who panics sometimes in the swimming pool. It’s bizarre because I love to swim yet fear being in the water every now and then. I’m happier when someone’s with me. You know, as the extra victim.
A few years ago, I worked in a sanctuary where the river definitely had crocodiles – scary, estuarine crocodiles. Occasionally, one of my transects would get flooded, and there I was, knees a-quaking, staring at the flood, needing to get to the other side to complete my transect. I had no field assistants – I was by myself. I couldn’t go back, I had to do it. With my heart thundering in my chest, I would slowly make my way across, willing that I would make it to the other side safely. Sometimes, the murky water would be up to waist-level.
When I think back about my experience, I was really naïve. I should have insisted that someone accompany me because it wasn’t safe, period. Besides the threat of crocodiles, and the long work hours away from the station, there were also armed poachers roaming about. I kept bumping into them too and that was as terrifying as wading across a murky flood – I was kilometers away from the nearest safe person, and the illegal hunters were armed. They were usually shocked however, that a lone young girl would be wandering around the jungle by herself.
But then again, I remember how happy I was being by myself in the jungle – not having to deal with field assistants. These days, I have five assistants with me, more than I actually care for really, but I need the number to help with the loaded longboat with camp supplies, and narrow streams. Or rather, it makes them happy to have that amount of people, being used to bloated government “expeditions”.
I just had my boat engine fixed – RM300!!! And the jeep’s been serviced. Pretty much ready to leave on Sunday.