23-May-2004 -- I decided to make 23rd May ’04 my day for this confluence.
After about an hour and a half drive my GPS put me about 15 Kms from the confluence point. The first thing I noticed the area is solid oil palm plantations. Every square kilometre looks exactly the same.
One huge forest of oil palm trees, intersected with access lanes and paths. My initial reaction --- one could easily get lost in there.
When I reached the area of the confluence I drove up and down the sealed road, looking for what might be the
nearest access point into the sandy lanes and hopefully the confluence point, but not being able to see much more than a few yards into the estate made it very difficult for me to judge.
I finally decided to turn into the estate and try my best, nothing ventured - nothing gained…..as they say. I entered and after making a number of twists and turns right and left I suddenly heard the alarm on my GPS telling me I was approaching the waypoint. I decided it was time to get out and walk.
Although oil palm estastes are not as overgrown as secondary jungle, they can be difficult to penetrate, the oil palm trees are not very high, only about 10 – 15 feet, and are quite closely planted, it’s not at all like the open spaces of rubber tree plantations.
After fighting my way through the undergrowth and many falls through the under-covering of palm leaves on the floor I manged to find the confluence point. Happiness....
The views around me were unintersting, all I could see was oil palm trees in every direction and a covering of palm branches over my head. Luckily I was still able to get a satellite signal strong enough to keep my GPS reading the location point.
I took some photographs as required. But by now it was late afternoon and the light was fading fast under the cover of the trees.
I had grave doubts as to whether the photographs would be good enough to post on the web site, and was already thinking of another visit next week.
As darkness fast approached I decided to get out of the trees and back onto the open lanes, before risk being left in the forest all night. I returned to my 4WD and by back-tracking my GPS route I was able to find my way out of the estate and onto the road.
A quick drive home and a visit to the “Fast-Print” photoshop told me what I had half expected, the photos were no good.
The next visit will be 30th May ’04.
A week later the day dawned, time for a second visit to the confluence. This time with my own camera and also a borrowed digital camera, plus the usual tools, GPS, compass, drinks, cellular phone, (useless - as there was no coverage this far from town) and lastly but not least,
my two kids to keep me company.
I had no problems finding the confluence point again, having had left a few markers the previous week. This time I made sure I took lots of photographs with both cameras.
My kids enjoyed the adventure, especially my five year old, as he loves going into the jungle, a keen “Hash House Harrier” runner when the “Kids Hash” often runs through jungle trails.
This time on the way home I decided to try and find a very little known phenomena in this area. ‘Mud volcanoe pools’.
I had been told about these by a fellow “expat” who had visited the pools last year.
Very few local people know about these mud volcanoes as they are situated in the middle of another oil palm plantation. Luckily my friend had given me the coordinates for my GPS. Trying to find the correct entrance into the oil palm estate again proved very difficult, but we eventually found the correct entrance. Half an hours driving around the estate, along overgown lanes, unused tracks, continual back-tracking and trying different lanes, we eventually found the mud pools,
(see attached photos.)
As dusk was falling we didn’t stay too long, just long enough to get out of the estate as darkness hit us.
A return visit to the mud pools, together with old clothes and plenty of washing water is now on the cards…….
to enjoy swimming in the mud!!!!