Monday, March 1, 2010

Macro Monday - Water Lilies at the Okavango Delta

DSC08868 Water Lily

Ten minutes after we first encountered Tripod, we arrived at Chief’s Camp, situated at the lip of a rich flood plain of the Okavango Delta. We sipped a cup of warm rooibos tea on the back deck of the lodge.

DSC08505 Chief's Camp

Across the flood plain, we observed a giraffe...

DSC08312 Giraffe at Chiefs Camp

...quietly nibble the tender leaves of an acacia bush.

DSC08359 Giraffe

Later we were invited explore our exotic "back yard" in a faux-dugout canoe called a mokoro. I sat flat on the floor of the boat with my feet pointed towards the bow while my gentle guide propelled the
boat forward like a Venetian gondolier. It was comforting to silently glide through the water after our usual roaring through the wilderness in the open Landcruiser.

DSC08833 Canoe Ride

My guide, whose name I've regretfully forgotten, was boundlessly patient and stopped the boat each time I greedily snapped photo after photo with the water surface only inches from my lens.

DSC08843 Waterlilies

 I saw my son shake his head at me with a smile of great relief as he and his dad faded into the distance. What a luxury to creep through the reeds without feeling guilt for slowing down the expedition and without having to explain to my travel partners that I took these photos simply because I loved the colors...

DSC08909 water lilies

DSC08845 Waterlilies

...and that I needed yet another photo just because this was a different aquatic plant:

DSC08851 Waterlilies

My guide pulled out one of the water hyacinths and expressed the clear liquid out of the bulb that floats just below the blossom. He told me, in very good English, that the local people use this liquid as medicine to treat river blindness, also known as Robles' Disease (Oncocerciasis), caused by a nematode worm.

He went on to say: "I see you like the water lilies. I will make you a necklace." I was eager to learn what he meant by this. He began by pulling out a water lily with a stalk that seemed to go on forever:

DSC08862 Making Water Lily Necklace step 1

Then I heard a "snap... snap... snap ..." at an even tempo.

DSC08863 Making Water Lily Necklace step 2

I turned around again and saw that he snapped the stalk at one inch intervals without severing it completely and slid off the outermost fibers down about another inch. He repeated this from the opposite sides of the stalk...

DSC08864 Making Water Lily Necklace step 2 detail

...until he finished snapping the entire stalk. He tied the ends to finish this beautiful fresh necklace from nature and ceremoniously handed it to me:

DSC08866 Making Water Lily Necklace step 3

I proudly wore my new jewelry as we continued our ride. By this time my husband and son were completely out of sight.  We stopped to view the Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus)

DSC08876 Little Bee-eater cropped

Some of you already met the Painted Reed Frog during a Macro Monday last November; here's another one:

DSC08878 Painted Reed Frog

We caught up with the other boat and my son pointed out a hippo in the distance. We clambered out of the boat onto a termite hill and zoomed our cameras for a photo .

At the end the ride, my guide stopped the boat one more time, patiently waiting for me to notice more wildlife. I felt completely dense. I did not see a thing, only grass:

DSC08911 snake in the grass

I turned around and gave my best quizzical look.

"Look closely," he said, "it's green."

And then I saw it. Eegads! I suddenly had the urge to take inventory of the boat and check to see if I was carrying any hitchhikers.

DSC08913 Olive Green Snake cropped

Spiders and tarantulas don't bother me one bit, but I get the willies when an animal has no legs. If you have any desire to see a larger version of the Olive Whip Snake, click here.

Slightly relieved that we weren't going to be brushing up against any more reeds, we docked back at the camp and I looked forward to showing off my new necklace at dinner.

DSC08922 Water Lily Necklace


Kim, USA said...

I almost scream when I see the man make the water lily as a necklace. I and my playmates used to to that when I was young. Our school has a pond and it has plenty of white water lilies. But I did scream and my eyes popped out when I see the last picture. Did I see a snake curling??? Ekkkkkkkkkkk!! You make my heart palpitate hahahaha. Thanks for sharing I do enjoy your photos so much!! Happy Monday!

Blinded by the Light

Johnny Nutcase said...

there's so many great things in this post, i dunno where to begin. I LOVE all the photos. that lily is just gorgeous, wow! And i'm a fan of snakes, so i like the whip snake :) and the frog...and everything else. great stuff!

CC said...

Wonderful photos.
Beautiful necklace.
I even liked the snake.
Fabulous trip.

Kala said...

The water lily necklace is absolutely beautiful.

jay said...

That necklace is so cool! And sorry, but the snake is, too! And the frog - I love frogs, and he's just so cute.

Sounds like a wonderful trip!

Shammickite said...

WOW what a great trip. A place I will probably never visit, so thank you for sharing your reide through the swamp....

Marilyn Miller said...

A trip of a life time and a beautiful necklace too. What more can you ask. Just magnificent!

Colleen said...

Thank you for that wonderful virtual trip! All of the photos are magnificent. Thanks for sharing!

Vagabonde said...

What a wonderful trip you had. I have been to Africa many times (a dozen or so) but never to a wild reserve. That trip and all the images would stay with you forever. Your pictures are so clear they really give us a good hint at how exciting visiting this reserve must have been.

margie said...

lucky you. such a great trip.

Ginnie said...

I can't imagine being on an African safari in my lifetime, DB. Whenever I see one, like this, through someone else's eyes, I just stare in awe. That necklace was the cherry on top, I'm sure. Good for you for lagging behind. And good for us!

Ruth said...

A cup of tea on that deck please, as long as there is a bee-eater and I'm wearing a lotus necklace. How incredible is this!?

Unknown said...

How fortunate that you have had such a marvelous adventure in such a beautiful place! I am so envious! I'm with Ruth...I'll take my tea with lemon, please.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Manang Kim,
That's incredible that you were making the same necklace on the other side of the world!

Dear Johnny Nutcase,
I know how much you love snakes. You probably would have wanted to grab this snake to measure him but unfortunately you would have been forbidden to touch any of the animals here.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear CC,
Thank you! When I was a little girl in Indonesia, I was terrified of snakes. At least I reluctantly tolerate them now.

Dear Kala,
Seeing this necklace being made was one of my favorite memories of this trip.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Shammickite,
It was indeed a great trip; thanks for coming along!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
I couldn't ask for a drop more!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Colleen,
I'm glad you enjoyed bobbing along in the canoe with me.

Dear Vagabonde,
Oh my goodness, I can't imagine going to Africa without visiting a wildlife preserve. You simply must make a point of doing so next time you go.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear margie,
I do indeed feel so lucky! My kids got sick of hearing me say it during this trip.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
Thank you for not shaking your head at me like my son. I'm glad you enjoyed the ride.

Dear Ruth,
Coming right up! I would gladly share my necklace and binoculars with you!

Dear Susan,
How great would it be to go to Africa with you and Ruth??? Tea with lemon, coming right up! Scone?

robin-bird said...

oh! oh! this is a wonderful post! so much to enjoy including your description of how you enjoyed being on your own timeline and making your own choices about what to focus on. the necklace is such a beautiful and one i am sure you will never forget...flower lover that you are :)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear robin-bird,
Thank you for riding along in the canoe with me! Yes, I will always remember that water lily necklace!

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh my gosh!! Your children are so very blessed. SO BLESSED!

Dutchbaby said...

Aren't they though? Believe or not, my daughter decided it was more important to nap than to take the canoe tour. Teenagers!

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