Being unable to do the jungle walks, the nocturnal animal watch was my last chance to see some of the local fauna in the hotel's neighbouring rainforest.Starting out with one of the local hens who settled to roost every evening in the Nature Centre toilets...I loved this girl's quirk
My first nocturnal animal watch was a bust; after 40 minutes we had only seen a rather ponderous tortoise, so Le Roy called it a night and took me back - but disappointment turned to thrill when a viper was pointed out only a metre from me, snoozing in the fork of a tree.
Outside the Nature Reserve my torch flicked over something unusual and on closer inspection I found a moving shell, home to a hermit crab. I've never seen one in real life, so that warranted a photo...and to that I added the biggest snail I have ever seen, the shell must have been two inches across... reminding me how far from home I was...
Two days later I put on my one long sleeved shirt yet again (note to self, pack more long sleeved shirts next time!), liberally sprayed myself with my super dooper insect repellent and trundled off down the hotel path lit by my little emergency torch...
I was not alone this time (with a group of four Brits), and with the proper Ranger, Sabinus, back on duty we began a two hour vigil to see, hopefully, bearcats, civets, deer, snakes, etc.
This was my view for the two hours. sitting in a hide with an area of the rainforest subtly lit so we could see any visitors.
And did we...? Nah...
Despite Sabinus baiting the area with two cans of sardines (interesting experience, spending two hours inhaling sardine fumes) and, later, some delicious bananas we saw nothing more than a rat chancing his arm for some free banana. Finally, as we were getting tired and disappointed, we saw movement. As I craned into the dark I saw a porcupine (my first wild one!) which snuffled across the area. It was not interested in the free food, but happily wandered across our view and off into the dark. Unfortunately, no flash meant no decent photo of the beastie, but I held my breath as it pottered through the leaf litter sniffing all the interesting aromas left from the day.
But he/she looked a lot like this picture of a Malayan Porcupine from the innerwebz;
So, the nocturnal watch was a complete bust, and this was my main opportunity to see the wildlife as the walks were prohibitive with mobility issues.
When I was later asked for feedback I let them know my disappointment on the jungle walks to the hotel and this was the lovely response I received from the Director of the Nature Reserve;
"Your comment was shared with our Nature Reserve team as soon as it was received. Please do accept our apology for any inconvenience caused to you due to the lay out of the tracks within the Nature Reserve. For your information, we are in the midst of creating a trail system that can be utilized by all nature lovers without involving any slopes or more challenging terrain during the tour. We will also be introducing the use of night-vision goggles to make jungle trekking in the evening, and nocturnal watch even more interesting.
We sincerely hope to be given another opportunity to welcome you to our resort soon. Should there be anything that I can do to assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me directly."
And so I began my plans to return...the place kinda gets under your skin.