Monday, January 11, 2010

[Victor] Day 4 - Simba

Today Dan wanted to drive us more north so we can see sheeps and cattails. The reason was to study the social behavior and the interaction between the different species. We drove almost 1 hour and we finally reached a ranch with some sheeps. On our way we saw elephants and a big group of giraffes - about 25. The shepherd was good and let us take some pictures of him and he also brought the herd closer so we can study it. Locals are really kind and friendly in these area. They are always willing to help and greet you with a big smile when they see you, even if they don't know you. After the sheeps, we went on a big rock and we climbed again and enjoyed the view from up. Andrew found the scull of a dead cow that was in pretty good condition and we took some nice pictures with it!

On our way back, we spotted a herd of camels and again we took some nice shots with the shepherd. The shepherd had a metal spear and he showed us how he throws it. In our way back we also saw Masai natives, that were really cool. They had huge piercings in their ears and their clothes were full of colors. We went back to the camp at around 2.00 pm to have lunch and while we were eating Julius (the head of security) came to inform us that some lions were spotted killing a camel. Dan and Tanya immediately recruited us and we buckled up in the next 20 minutes. Everyone was full of excitement about the opportunity to see lions. We drove about 30 minutes and even the sight of elephants, zebras and giraffes did not stopped us. We just wanted to get there as fast as possible. On our way, we saw about 10 vultures that informed us that we are getting close.

We arrived at the spot were some locals were expecting us. Tanya's car crew was relocated in a open truck that could penetrate into the vegetation. We immediately began the lion chase and after 3 minutes we spotted the dead camel that was surrounded of 1 male lion and 2 female lions. Everyone was so excited but as soon as the lions saw us they run away. Some of us had the opportunity to see them for 5 seconds, but unfortunately the most of us did not had that chance. Dan gave instructions to circle the lions so we can get them back, so our truck began a crazy drive into the wild. The driver was totally driving off-road and because the truck was open, branches with gimps were flying around our heads. Habiba had her shirt ripped and got hit in the shoulder by a branch. The other had small scratches but no one really cared! We were chasing the lions with passion and enthusiasm! We chased them for about 10 minutes with the only result to push them further away instead of getting them back to the camel.

When the lions were completely lost from our view of field, we returned to the camel and strategically positioned ourselves hoping that the lions will come back to the pray. Three other vans with Cornell undergrads joined us and we waited ... and waited ... and waited ... Dan gave us instructions not to go out of the van or speak and create noises, so our bodies were completely cramped! At some point the Cornell students spotted the lions behind a bush, but only one van of the 6 cars that were there was in the right angle to actually see them. We had to move the cars, but that scared the lions again so once more we had nothing... At about 7.00 pm we decided to leave, tired and disappointed but at least it was a cool experience! On the road, Tanya's car was stuck again in sandy area and we had to get out of the car and figure something out. Dan came, as always, waving us to do nothing so he can evaluate the situation. The van seemed completely stuck but then Dan jumped in front of the wheel! 20 years of field experience is enough for impossible to seem possible! With an acrobat's precision he drove the van out of the pit! Everyone cheered up and was happy and we could continue our way back.

We arrived at the camp at around 8.00 pm, being completely tired so we ate and hanged out for a while in the library to check e-mails and send updates to friends and relatives that we are still safe and sound.

While we were preparing for sleep, once more Khairi went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and came back pale white because there was a huge bug on the mirror and he did not noticed it. Frank (Kenyan student) took over to kill the bug, so Khairi went ahead to brush his teeth again.

Quotes of the day:

- "Dustin Dustin Dustin, this is Dan"

- "Dustin Dustin Dustin, do you copy?"

- "Are we waiting for the lions or are the lions waiting for us?"

1 comment:

  1. What a fun story! Can't wait to hear more when you are back. Glad Khairi made it there too, sounds like he is having a great time.