“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Monday, 16 February 2015

Day 2 - first full day in the Mara

Daniel (our room guard) came with tea, coffee and biscuits to wake us up at 5:45am - it was still pitch black out so when we were ready to get going we flashed the torch out of the tent and Daniel came running back to escort us to the truck where George was waiting with hot water bottles on our seats and a picnic breakfast packed in the front. Unfortunately within a few minutes of setting off, my hot water bottle had leaked all over my trousers and the cool morning air had frozen my leg! marvelous. Didn't see the sun rise either as thick cloud was still covering the area. However we spent some time watching a hyena, a jackal, an eagle and a vulture all tucking in to a Thomspon's gazelle kill during which Caroline managed to drop her bean bag over the side of the truck! By the time breakfast rolled around, the sun had come up, we were baking hot and parked up beside the Mara river watching hippos fight with Crocodiles, where we stumbled on this happy birthday message written in sticks on the ground presumably to catch the eye of a passing plane passenger. Unfortunately for Caroline she's not a particularly good liar and so failed to pass it off as her own work for me!
I know it's only been 24 hours, but I have fallen head over heels with my new Nikon D4. The clarity is incredible and the controls are not actually as hard as I thought they would be.

These two images though were taken with my little point and shoot because the only lenses I have for the Nikon are a hired fixed 500mm Sigma and an 80-400mm telephoto Nikon of much lower quality, neither of which can be used to shoot anything unless it's a fair distance away, but beginners can't be choosers.
Caroline's first battery ran out during the morning drive too which was a real surprise as they should all have been fully charged. So when we got back at lunchtime we tried to charge again and made the worrying discovery that either the battery was faulty or worse... the charger was not working. This could turn out to be a real problem as my Pentax K5 takes different batteries to her Pentax K10D and she only has 3 more charged batteries to last all trip. We worked out some small actions to take to minimise battery usage (reduce the chimping, leave it on instead of turning on and off each time which activates the auto-dust removal shaker etc.) will have to just keep an eye on it.
The sunset game drive was a bit of a wash out, no kills, no drama and no sunset again, but better luck tomorrow at dawn. Dinner was however quite comical as Caroline managed to get a little tipsy and a lot giggly - so much so that she fell off the back of her chair round the campfire and then fell up the steps to the tent where she was giggling so hard. Lord knows what Daniel makes of the pair of us - particularly as it was only 10pm! Took one of Carolines sleeping pills and stopped taking the Malarone - am determined to get at least 5 hours sleep if I can.

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