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Kian Barker
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Kian Barker

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Sand Geyser in St. Lucia

Greetings and Salutations,
 
Each night we head out into a very dark zone north of the quiet hamlet of St. Lucia. Without the help of a collective two million candle power of spotlights, we would have no idea what we were looking at in this alien darkness. So with the help of two spotlight all that is big and small is brought into full view. But sometimes what is illuminated can prove to be quite confusing. Lights can be a great help, but in this instance they added to the confusion, especially something that was unexpected. Although anything that was usual would have not been unusual. There is logic somewhere in that.
 
To go a little back in time. When I first started guiding in the Kruger area, after a week of extensive day training we were sent out at night. As a "roof" or green guide we returned to camp having seen some of the strangest animals that occurred in areas else where except in the Kruger. Things like the Cape Fox and bontebok. But it was scary out there and our imagination played tricks on us. But we learnt from the ridicule we received from the senior rangers. This sharpened our senses and ability to identify animals. In the end we were virtually able to identify any mammal at night with the aid of a candle at 100m. So after this initiation in nocturnal visual skills we seldom if ever made a misidentification. Although all the new guides went through the same initiation when we became senior guides and it was our responsibility to train them. The wheel turned.
 
Anyway last week I thought I had regressed to the state of a green guide. We were just through the Cape Vidal gate and over the first cattle crossing, heading off into the darkness in a westerly direction when I thought I was in the Yellowstone National Park. The only correct point was that I was in a Natural World Heritage Site like Yellowstone. Yellowstone is famous for the large variety of geologic geysers. There are a whole variety of them, mud, water, steam and sludge. Some permanently erupt, others are regular like a Swiss clock and others are irregular. What we had in the spotlight was an irregular sand geyser!! Sand was spewing skywards at regular intervals! It seemed as though two millions candle power of spotlights was insufficient to illuminate the cause of this 'sand geyser'. As I blinked for a second time in an attempt to refocus my eyes - the culprit appeared. A warthog with a face full of sand. His burrow had been partially disguised by some grass. All we saw was sand erupting into the sky from behind the grass. It seemed as though the presence of our gamedrive vehicle had disturbed this "pig" to such a point that he decided to "pump ' as much sand to the surface in order to get rid of us. In his attempt to rid us, it made for a weird scenario in the middle of a very dark landscape. When pigs go weird!
 
Hasta la vista
 
The Knait Wrydah

Posted by Kian Barker

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