12 Mar 2012

Raptor Watch Camping Trip

We, especially the children, had a lovely weekend camping by Tanjung Tuan. The trip was organized NAGC, who organized the camping trip to coincide with Raptor Watch. Special permit was required before camping on Perhilitan's premises.

Getting to our campsite required knowing the tide schedule, as when tide is high, the campsite is totally cut off from the car park.

Here we arrived just a little too early, so our campsite wasn't accessible yet, and we decided to explore the beautiful mangroves in our waiting area.

Jo was amazed at all the seaweeds we found. I think she attempted to taste one but I stopped her on time. This one felt spongy.

And this seaweed looks like it's sprouted antlers.

Lot of mud skippers, only they weren't muddy because of the sea water.

Beautiful Mangrove roots.

We spotted lotsa sea roaches beneath rocks

Finally the tide receded enough for us to begin our journey to base camp. It was a good 20 minute hike in across rocks and sometimes jungle path. Some of us, (meaning just my husband) haha... had to make 2 trips, which is 20x4, so a total time of about an hour (assuming he ran some parts) to fully unload from car onto campsite. !!! :)

While we parents (again husband, coz someone has to watch the kids!), got busy with unloading, the early campers (who caught the 10am low tide) decided to play by the beach.

The girls spent time pretending to be mermaids and I told them, they would have to stay in the ocean forever, but I promised to build them a wall like in Ariel's. :) Here they are discovering amazing living creatures around the beach area.

Even on these logs we discovered water creatures and a  variety of shells.

I'm not sure what these are, but someone told me these creatures are a kind of anemone. Girls spent a lot of time touching these, coz they squirt water and close up when touched. :)

Jo found 2 sea slugs, and she's making them kiss here. Believe or not, my lil gross child, then placed the slugs on her face to see if they would stick, and they did!
Slug on Jo's chin!

Someone left this chair on the beach...I thought it looked artistic!

The noon birds/campers arrived at 2pm (low tide) , and the kids decided on group play. For some reason they're all looking out to sea here. :)

How lovely to be children. My girls loved this play time so much they didn't want to leave and are already asking for the next camping trip.

Our dear friend Amy shared a part of her American culture when she had the children bbq-ing marshmallows on bits of broken branches. Yummmmmm....I was brought back to my days of camping in the States. The girls enjoyed it so much...one pack of marshmallows disappeared too quickly..with the children craving for more. Jo savoured the last bits by eating her marshmallow very slowly...nibbling like a hamster till it was finally, really gone.

We decided on night trekking. Initially it was supposed to be a 2 hour walk but it started to drizzle so we decided on a shorter walk. (In my opinion a good thing, coz we hiked the other path the following day, and it wasn't an easy walk!) We discovered hermits feeding on a fruit called  "Jambu Air" (Literal translation..water guava). We saw a scorpion, a moth that looked like it was glowing, we discovered how dark it was in the forest without lights. We saw fireflies..we saw bats.

Day 2

I'm always amazed at the sunset in PD, but this time we got to see SunRise!! Considering that I'm not a morning person, I was very lucky to see this.The peninsular on which we camped faced East, so it was certainly a rare treat to watch sunrise. Beautiful and breathtaking. :)

An interesting story on what woke me up so early. Well early morning at about 5am, when all was pitch dark, I heard a man screaming, a blood curdling scream! It just brought back the fears experienced when robbers stole stuff from our camp ground when we were at Segadas.  My first reaction was to cover my child with my body, less any drunkards or murderers came upon us or cut through our tents (I've a very wild imagination!). I heard about 4 screams, and was so afraid. There were clanking sounds and footsteps too close by for comfort, plus it was so dark outside and we were on a rather isolated camp ground. A while later I heard the sound of a motor boat going off. (It was high tide and camp ground only accessible by boat). One of the brave campers, came out walked back and forth with his torch light and said "Stay in, there are smugglers here." That  made it more scary! A little later I heard the voices of 2 other men in our camp group (Ad and Rob), and was relieved to see them standing outside, one with a machete in his hand.

By then I was imagining the scene outside..possibilities... murdered body, a dismembered hand of someone, floating dead body or something horrifying. Well...I was then told that people had arrived by boat to make sacrificial offerings  of goats and chickens to ancestors or a spirit that lives by the well from which we draw water, the screaming was that of a goat. I still didn't believe it at first though I saw them burning their incense and  saw the dead goat. Later I googled, and found out yes, a goat can sound like a screaming man! I'm relieved now to know, it wasn't murder. :)
Following that, we enjoyed our morning and then decided to hike.

This was a rather steep climb, and to do it the night before would've been dangerous i think.

We arrived at the lighthouse and 10 minutes later, the raptors arrived!!! WOW!! All I can is WOW!
Phenomenons like this always lift my spirits and make my heart swell with a lovely feeling. We saw how these raptors caught the hot air which lifted them higher and higher till they looked like specks of dots in the clouds, and then they zoomed away. Amazing. We managed to borrow a scope from a fellow bird watcher and was so amazed to see them up close.

Following a long walk back to our campsite, my hubby and Amy told me excitedly, a RAPTOR Perched!!!! This picture was taken through my magnifying glass. Turns out it's a Changeable Hawk-Eagle. Awesome. We watched it for a while before it finally took off. Grand.

The kids then  decided to explore the beach near the mangrove now it was low tide. It was an amazing discovery and experience.

We discovered many forms of plants and seaweeds

Amazed that so many species of seaweed grew from this rock

The girls enjoyed walking on this bed of weeds...I did too..felt soft and lovely beneath our tired soles.

We also found seagrass and wonder if seahorses could live there.

Here below, tiny living things on mangrove water. Anyone knows what these are called?

Yup....so I conclude here. It was a wonderful experience, discovering raptors, discovering more of mangroves which we studied earlier (post Here) , trekking at night and in the morning to the light house, fellowship with good friends . Already my girls are asking for another camping trip to learn, and more to play with their new found friends. I guess, I'll have to plan another soon.  :)

Thank You again Robert of NAGC Malaysia for organizing such a wonderful trip!



gail said...

You bring me there with you the way you write!

Isabella discovered mudskippers from a children's show called Octonauts. Odd looking creatures.

marie said...

Stunning pics as usual, so funny about the goat, sometimes cats sound like babies so I can understand the confusion.

Divoo said...

what a fun-filled trip and great pictures! :) I can look at them over and over again. :)

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

You always know who to find for such trips! Your children are so brave..such outdoorsy children.

That one time I took my children for trekking in Gasing Hills, they complained about mud getting their hands and feet. lol!

Martha said...

thank you all for the kind comments. :) Welove the outdoors, and I guess to get them used to it, start them young. :)

mellymilly said...

Wow.What a great adventure. OTW back to KL today I wanted to stop by Tg Tuan, but hubby was rushing coz he got to be in KL by afternoon. So we cancelled it. Thanks for sharing ;-)

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