The day started with the first early morning wake up call of the trip. I know I didn't have to get out of bed but for once I did quite fancy the idea of pottering around a nature park with my camera.
We breakfasted on coconut buns on the way and discussed the hopes for the day i.e. Lisa, if you see anything blue and feathery, shout. Mr F was after the Mangrove blue flycatcher which despite its colour was notoriously hard to spot as always. And before we could spot anything we had to tackle a small problem with all our kit. We had forgotten just what effect the extreme air con we'd employed and revelled in the night before, would be on all our optics and camera kit. We may well have been stood in a cloud bank up Mt Fuji for all we could see through our respective lenses. Happily, nothing too remarkable showed itself before the warm ambient air worked its charm and defogged everything.
And then I spotted my first Mudskipper. For those of you unaware of this awesome creature, where have you been! Along with Horseshoe crabs and chameleons, it was one of the many non-fluffy animals I had a small fixation on as a kid. Life on Earth was compulsory viewing in my house and I was transfixed by these muddy fish that appeared to 'walk' straight out of history. At school, I wangled my way into doing work experience at the local public aquarium and was surprised to find they had some. They were barely more than 5cm long and stuck in a tank over some stairs. Most visitors didn't even see the tank let alone the Mudskippers within. At age 11 though, I was pretty chuffed. Little did I know how big these slippery little suckers got in the wild.
As usual it was Mr F that spotted them first whilst I was off chasing small crawly insects. Cleverly camouflaged it was hard to make out until a pair of googly eyes blinked amidst the mud and a 8 inch fish hopped forward. They turned out to be everywhere. Every puddle had eyes poking above the waterline trying to look sinister and failing. I spent too many hours that morning attempting to get a photo that wasn't blurry (mangroves are dark places) and made a muddy fish out of water look vaguely attractive. I sadly failed in my quest but I did have slightly better luck with some Fiddler crabs who waved their claws at me. It was nice to see the Mudskippers nonetheless. Oh and Mr F saw the Mangrove blue flycatcher by the way.
The pleasure taken in returning to a car equipped with air con was obscene. We did have to wait for the plastic seats to cool to a temperature that wouldn't melt our skin before climbing aboard though. We dined on the sumptuous feast of left over coconut buns and curry crisps, and then headed back to our chalet for some beautiful sleep. We returned to Restaurant Makanan Laut for dinner and another dose of Chinese Dynasty. Ordered Thai fried rice after being warned off having the 'Kari' - it was a lil' bit hot apparently. My meal looked a virtual replica of the night before but with bigger chilis and a wedge of lime. Amazing what a difference it made actually. Did a bit of quick translation and found out Makanan Laut meant 'sea dinner'. That explains the possible squid pieces then.