Friday, 21 May 2010
Tyrone's Plains Trip (Funny!)
Busanga yesterday, wow!
So we set off at 05:00 with supplies for the team looking after 'Plains Camp' during the rainy season. I took Ferrison and Botson along for support and for Botsons knowledge of the bush west of the plains, as I usually approach from the south and during the dry season. We took the western boundary road past tatayoyo gate and north to the plains. We had one broken fan belt to fix on route. We reached a point on the edge of the plains where the flood waters prevented any more progress by vehicle apprx 09:30. I Ask Ferrison how far to walk to camp, he points at Kapinga Island (about 5kms away) and says just past there a few kms. So we decide to leave our lunch on the vehicle as we have to get out and start wading. So off come the shoes and trousers, and after what felt like the longest 5km's ever and we reach Kapinga Island with water up to our chest in places. We see Lechwe (water loving antelope) practically swimming from us, toward the the tree line, that was our first clue!. We proceed past Kapinga Island into the next plain, following the 'road' which is a good 3/4 feet under water. Ferrison points at a very distant ant hill and says our camp is just a km past that. So we struggle on (with our 3 bottles of water), I have left my watch in the Landy (Land rover) as did not want it to get wet so not sure of time (all day). After a another couple of hours and with cuts to my legs from the grass starting to show we reach the last large plain to cross before camp (which was about 5km not 1km from the last ant hill!!) We try and shout to the guys in camp to come to us... they dont hear us. Between us and camp is a set of small rivers/gullies of flowing water. Ferrison decides this is to much and admits now that he doesn't swim, Botson does and I can and as we have taken literally hours to get to this point turning back is no option so we strip off to just our shorts and proceed to swim across these channels. We reach the other side of the channel expecting firm grass to walk on, we find floating grass, on top of more water. So what was meant to be a 2km walk to camp from there a war as we have to wade through some seriously sharp grasses. We finally reach 2 Fig Island, next to our camp. As we drag ourselves up on to the first bit of dry land far hours we hear a rustle in the long grass... A hippo!!! it is 10 meters from us and decides to charge, Botson and I run in different directions, luckily he goes for Botson (not lucky for Botson) and gets about 2 mtrs feet from him, Botson makes himself big and we are both now shouting to try and scare this thing... luckily it works and the Hippo trudges off in to the water... We are finally spotted by one of the staff at camp who sends a canoe for us to get to the boardwalk to camp. We get to the boardwalk, but it has suffered with being under flood water for months and so we fall through it, with only an agonizingly short distance to camp we have to wade once more through even sharper reeds and grasses (mixed with Hippo shit). We get to camp!! All this effort to tell the guys we have 4 bags of maize in our vehicle for them, which we will leave in the bush for them to collect. Turns out the other 3 workers were not even there, gone fishing in a dugout , well they are traditional fishermen!... The one chap who is around called Peter, wants me to see the camp, I feel like I need a doctor not a guided tour of my own camp but he is so nice and keen that I should see it I cant really just sit down as I want, now covered with cuts and insect bites on my bare white/red body (remember no clothes bar my pants since the swim). Camp is in a mess but that is to be expected after floods but what a spot, and I cant wait to get it set up for the season and make it home. I love this place (usually).... So now the small task of getting back to the vehicle! Now I am feeling fairly strong at this point in time, not bad considering its taken a good 5/6 hours to get here and the energy expended trying to do so, with no food all day and one bottle of water. So back in to the water and we trudge back past the Hippo and swam back across the rivers we get on to the plain towards Kapinga Island. It is here where my body decides to punish me for the lack of exercise over the last few months with muscle cramps and only(!) some 12 or so kms from the vehicle. Now my nakedness mixed with lack of food, energy and cramps are making life very hard (not to mention leeches ). After a very long and slow struggle back, we finally make it back to the vehicle around 17:00. I have never ever been so relieved to see a Land Rover, food or water in my life! and only another 4 hours drive to camp.
Next time will be to start building camp and Yes I will take a boat....
Pictures of my legs will come shortly.
Hope all is good with you.
Ciao for now,