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Dr Russell - Op Wallacea Madagascar - 3rd August 2011

Day 15

Went out with Ben and a group to do a Route 4 lemur survey.  Although we only saw few lemurs, it was an enjoyable walk in the forest and I was conscious that it would be the last survey I would do of this trip. 

Came back to camp and packed my kit to go on the ox-cart back to Mariarano.  I stopped to take a photo of one of the guides playing the guitar (that’s the nearest equivalent, this being made out of a lump of wood with a neck, some pegs and a few strings).  Causing some amusement by videoing him, another guide produced a shaker previously made from a stick, some gravel, and a half-flattened condensed milk tin, and started to provide percussion.  A second guitar (this time a real one) then appeared.  Quite a crowd was gathering by now and the ensemble was completed by the remarkable Mamy, who turned up with seven pieces of firewood.  Tapping each one to find its note, he arranged five in the sand and used the other two pieces as drum sticks.  The effect was amazing, with the firewood being played with the rest of the music, like a combination between drums and a glockenspiel.

This afternoon I walked back over the now flooded paddy fields between the Matsedroy forest and that of Mariarano.  With me was Felix and Rob - who’d come over for the day and had found an absolutely remarkable snake, camouflaged like a broken twig.

Got back to Mariarano Camp and caught up with the team there, starting to prep for our move out tomorrow.