Monday, November 6, 2017

Bats, Bats, and More Bats

6 November 2017

We've had a quiet weekend, getting ready to fly on Tuesday.  Had to go to Anse Royale and have one last meal at my favorite café, Kafé Kreol.  If you ever get to Anse Royale, eat here - right on the beach, with an Italian chef and fresh fish.  Really delightful.  They don't have a website, but they do have a Facebook page:

On Saturday afternoon, we went on a tour of the island of Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles.  Our landlady asked one of her sons to take us around, and we had a great time.  I've marked the places on the map, at the end of the blog.  

The most gorgeous was the view from Mission Lodge, which is a former mission and school dating back to the early 1800s.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is about 450 meters (1350 feet) above sea level, in the central hills or mountains of Mahé.  There stone buildings are now ruins, but the road and some  of the trees that were planted are still standing.  My favorite was an amazing cinnamon tree, now dead but still perfuming the air with its delicious scent.

While up there, I met the Seychelles bulbul, though the local people call this bird a parrotbird because they're noisy like parrots.  These are funny birds, maybe the size of a robin or so, dark grey with bright yellow-orange beaks and feet, and then a sort of punk rock tufted crest in black just on the top of their heads!  They also are quite friendly, almost to the point of fearless, and come right up to people - not touching, just close enough to eye you up and down.  They reminded me of Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer for Green Day - the spiky black hair and the attitude and the insistent voice demanding change.  Yeah, definitely the punk rocker birds of the animal kingdom!

We drove past the tea plantation and factory, the hillside covered with tea leaves.  And we drove back from the east side via the route called La Misere, The Misery - an extra steep, extra winding road that probably was miserable to climb before the automotive age.  

We also spent time at Grande Anse, the pristine and possibly longest beach on Mahé.  This was a beautiful beach, but there are signs all over saying that there's a dangerous undertow and currents, so not to swim here.  But there was the same powdery pale sand and turquoise water, with powerful waves crashing and foaming on the shore.  This beach seemed to have fewer rocks in the water, which might have something to do with the current, I don't really know.

We also drove as far north as the Port Launay Marine Park, or at least I think that's where we went.  The road is a single lane here, though for two-way traffic, because the community didn't want to have the road building impact the marine life in this protected area.  

And we saw bats.  By late afternoon, the bats are out flying around, looking for fruit trees to eat all night long.  Except these aren't just normal little bats, these are flying foxes. 

I tried to get photos of bats flying, or eating the Java apples in the trees in our front yard.  I stood outside from late afternoon until twilight, trying to get photos of bats.  I even went out in the full moon, trying to photograph the bats in the tree, or flying around.

But my camera is small, and has a limited zoom.  The flash has a short range.  Bats move rather quickly, and so the photos are often blurry.  And the one bat who came by a few days to hang in the tree and eat the apples was a bit scared of me the second day, and sidled along his branch before flying away.  Plus I didn't want to get so close that I could reach out and touch one of them, because they really do look a bit creepy, especially when they're close enough to land on you with those little claws.

So I'm including my photos of the flying foxes.  And then I'll add photos from the internet, taken by much better photographers than I am, or at least they have much better cameras than I do.  Trust me, you can tell which are mine and which aren't.  No contest.

We leave tomorrow, heading to Mauritius!  Another French/British island, but further south.  And we'll report in with all of our new adventures!




1 comment:

  1. I can leave the bats, take 'em or leave 'em, as they say, but it is nice to share the experience. Enjoyed your comparison of the bird to the lead singer of Green Day! Also, a cinnamon tree! Oh, I would love that outside my front door.