Tag Archives: insects

Sounds of the jungle

Crickets and other insects provide the constant orchestral baseline for the jungle soundtrack. The accompaniment is, however, surprisingly sparse during the day, with the odd bird, monkey or frog adding to the score (and don’t forget the ducks, yes ducks, that almost feel too familiar and domestic for a jungle setting). There is some percussion in the form of the odd splash of cayman taking to water and turtles diving in off of their basking spot and fish jumping into the air and smacking the water surface as they fall again.

The rain arrives on day three, and the constant drip drip sounds heavier on the plastic roof of the kitchen. Long after the showers have finished, water channels down through dense foliage and tricks you intothinking it  is still raining as big fat drops fall from the leaves and land in your path. Paddling the canoe in the rain is a multi-sensory experience with light sploshes to your face (the rest of your head and body protected by an oversized poncho), and the ones that miss you hit the water and ripple out and out. Walking in the rain feels great, – the jungle a grown up playground where you can jump in puddles and stomp through mud and free your wellies with a satisfying squelch.

On trips out in the canoe the engine hums at different frequencies as the driver full throttles ahead on deeper, familiar stretches of the river, or dips the engine completely to navigate the shallows. Occasionally, grinding over the riverbed in the extreme low water you can hear the crunch of breaking branches as the engine is first fully engaged, then killed. The boat holds together, gliding quietly for a moment  before the engine kicks back in. The main sound when paddling the smaller canoe is the gentle splashes of the oars dipping in and out of the water. In rare moments, – when we are all in sync, in harmony, – it is hypnotic.

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If you go down to the woods tonight…

The jungle at night is not somewhere you’d want to be by yourself, our guide told us. Scorpions, spiders and other dangerous creepy crawlies and animals make their way out of hiding when dusk falls. One wrong move could put you, at the very least, in some serious pain.

Head torches on, we walked single file and slowly through jungle pathways, flashing our lights everywhere to avoid stepping on bugs or bumping into snakes or spiders hanging from the trees. But we also walked slowly in order to spot things.

Nearly walking into a shiny spider thread, I followed it with my torch to a perfectly formed web on which sat a huge spinning spider. This was the first of many.

© Eran Samocha and Chen Cohen

Others spotted dart frogs, a cluster of rash inducing hairy caterpillars, tree frogs, a tarantula. We saw scorpions, an anaconda, giant grasshoppers and the stickest stick inset I’ve ever seen. We didn’t see any wild cats or boars but with ten of us walking in succession, it was never really an option.

Switching off our torches to listen and adjust to the natural jungle environment was a magical moment. No speaking, no shuffling, – just the buzz of the insects, a musty, earthy smell and the warm heat rising from the ground.

© Eran Samocha and Chen Cohen

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