Moken boats

The jungle walk on Wa-ale Kyun

Aung trailing our boat into the shallow creek
Wa-ale Kyun is an uninhabited, smaller island near Lampi. The plan was to follow a tidal creek into the island, then to do a junglewalk across the island to beach on the opposite site. After some 2 hours we would be back for lunch. Some of us stayed on the ship as we had done another jungle walk on Lampi the day before.


Wa-ale Kyun in Google Earth


Great-Billed Herons







At the beginning, we had to wait for the second boat, so we spread and the marsh was calm and quiet. Even the shy Great-Billed Herons and Fiddler crabs were observable.
After a while, we went deeper into the island and the salty water turned freshwater. We waited for the second group and after they arrived, we left the creek and began to walk straight through the jungle. There was no really beaten track, only sometimes signs of human live other than ourselves. Aung had a compass, Ye carried some drinks and a jungle knife he took from the kitchen.
creek becoming freshwater

Golden Orb Web Spider
We went straight through the jungle, always watching out for smaller and bigger obstacles: foot traps, spiky palms, slippery areas, spiders nettings. In a puddle we found small, motionless tadpoles, in the next valley frogs so small that they looked like jumping bugs.
When the planned 2 hours were over, nobody really cared. When 4 hours were over, we began to feel uneasy. Lunchtime was over and we still criss-crossed the jungle. Sometimes, it seemed we were going in circles, but in fact the type of palms, spiders and other wildlife around us did change. But tropical days are short and the ground was not even good to sit down. We did regret we didn't bring another compass, as Aung was most of the time out of sight looking for the best track. We couldn't see the sun under overcast skys so we had no idea of the direction we went to.
blue berry found in the jungle
At the beginning, we were glad to have the water and some cookies. Now we did not feel like finishing it off anymore. We began to think of how long it would have to last. This is not the area to have people searching you - it's the Mergui islands. After about 5 hours in the jungle, we realized it was already getting darker. And the ground was still no good even to sit down. So we decided something needs to happen when it was 4:30 p.m. And when Aung said he was now hitting the easier track instead of the shorter one, we refused and took the shorter one. And indeed, we found another dry creek which led us to the beach when it just turned 4:30.
Finally on the beach, we felt absolutely relieved. This was a place where our ship would be able to find us. And if not, we could easily spend the night there, no point. Claire had found footprints of a leopard, but we didn't care.
Arrival on the beach
David getting rid of leeches
Indeed, the first thing to do was washing the leeches off. To me, they are not as nasty as lots of flys or moskitos would have been. But I only had 6 or 8 of them in my sandals, others had more. But David took the top. When he went into the water, it turned red from his blood. He was clearly fooling the sharks from all around which would rush to such a promising smell in the water.
hero feet
We went off for a 2 hours walk. If anyone had told us before, it would turn out to be some 6 hours, we certainly had taken different shoes. Or, more likely, we would not have done it at all.
But in fact with the good end, it was a really nice walk in pleasant climate without nasty insects. The only concern was indeed the uncertain way of spending the night.
Clockwise from top left: Jo, Tiger, Ted, Liz, Ina, David. Not on picture: Claire, Sue, Aung and Ye.
final rescue
After some 45 minutes on the beach, our ship went around the corner.
We were glad to see them, but our friends and family there were much happier. They didn't know nothing really serious happened, they were afraid someone may have broken his leg in the middle of the jungle - or even worse. They had circled the island 3 times by then. So they told us Wa-ale Kyun had 36 beaches and by now, they would know all of them very well.
They had kept lunch for us (in fact the dinner was almost ready) and we were astonished ourselves, how much liquid simply disappeared now inside our bodys. We must have been really dry.
Anyway it was no surprise we had a really early and deep sleep that night...

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