Camera Traps and the Cobra:
April 7th - April 9th:
1st of all, I must apologise for my obsession with aliteration in the titles and the use of words that start with C. Its just how the cards fall I am afraid.
For the final week I was assigned with Grom and Kay (another Thail Ranger) to change the batteries and switch the memory cards for 18 of the 63 camera traps. The first task was to find a boat to rent, after a few hours of bartering at local fishing villages we managed to rent a shoe box with an engine on to move us around the lake. As we arrived at the 1st trail I saw a huge shape by the edge of the water from a distance. I thought to myself, that it couldnt be what I thought it was. However 5 seconds later the boat driver (Kay) tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the mass and said "CHANG!" for the 2nd day in a row it was an elephant. However this was a much better view and we were much closer than the previous day. We were able to glide the boat past the huge female about 15m away. We then pulled up at the trail start (50m from the elephant) and began hunting for camera traps.
On the 2nd day after spending a night in the kitchen of a raft house we set off for another day of camera trap hunting. After only getting a tiny glimpse of a Great Argus the previous expedition. I managed to get a full view of a huge male run right in front of me. After clearing out a camera trap which had been infested by ants, grom managed to spot a meter long snake cruising through the undergrowth. After going Steve Irwin, I managed to get within spitting distance (litterally) of an Indo - Chinese Spitting Cobra. Showing perfectly that snakes are NOT agressive, the fine fellow was just crusing along not even reacting to me in anyway. Eventually I let him drift of into the forest.
After getting to the pick up site... we realized that the boat was not there. After waiting an few hours, still no boat. So I decided to swim the 1km to the next river inlet to look for the boat and the driver. After reaching the inlet and searching I decided to return. As I came back I saw a HUGE water monitor right at the spot where I wanted to enter the water. After scaring him off I swam back to one of the islands I had used as a rest point on the way out. As I climbed out onto the mud I saw my foot prints from the outward journey. With monitor tracks over the top! The damn thing had been following me.. or had it? It could have been coincidence or maybe because my leg was still bleeding from a leech bite I had received a few hours before. Who knows! After returning to the pick up site it was obvious the boat ws not coming that night, so we decided to set up shop. Fortunatly I had brought my hammock and Grom had a tarp to sleep in. So after making a makeshift "fence" to stop elephants and gaur trampling us to death in the night we settled down to sleep. At 8am the next morning Kay turned up with the boat (why he had not found us I have no idea). After we had found all the camera traps on the 3rd day we set off back to the main island in the far south of the lake. As we set off we startled a fish eagle on a nearby dead tree, which then did a top gun esq