|Lynne outside the 'long wooden bungalow' Kabini River Lodge|
|Underneath a kapok tree, Kabini Lake (or River), Kabini River Lodge|
|Lynne embarks for the 'lake safari'|
We pushed off roughly on time and puttered past a dead tree, obviously a favourite with the local cormorant population.
|Cormorant central, Kabini Lake|
There was a lone deer….
After a while he restarted it and we crossed the lake to look at a pair of pied kingfishers.
The thirty minute wait was not wasted. The boatman continued to tinker ineffectually with his engine while his passengers watched the one tusked elephant wade into the water and swim across the lake. I knew elephants can swim, but I had never seen it before. While their legs do a sedate doggy paddle - or rather elephant paddle - they swim just below the surface using their built-in snorkel.
As the heat abated a herd of deer came down to the water,….
|Gaur, Nagarhole National Park|
|Sunset on Kabini Lake|
|Coracle fishermen, Kabini Lake|
At the Ayurvedic Centre the proceedings were similar to those I experienced in Sri Lanka, except the Indian way is to provide a loose cotton g-string, more for show than to cover modesty, but it is not a good look for a man of my build. I sat on a chair for a back and shoulders massage then lay on the slippery, oily wooden bed for the body massage. For 45 relaxing minutes I was rubbed from head to foot in warm oil. When that was over I had a steam bath and finally, unlike in Sri Lankan, I was offered a shower before putting my clothes back on, not that soap and water did much to remove the oil.
|Gecko on the wall at Kabini Lodge|
These little fellows work tirelessly to keep the insect population down
It was a misty morning and chilly, too, at least when driving in an open vehicle. Our Indian companions wore woolly hats and pullovers, but as hardy north Europeans we eschewed such comforts, confident it would warm up later.
According to the white board outside reception tigers had been seen on three of the last five days, but only one vehicle had to see a tiger for it to be recorded so the odds were still against us. At the point where we left the tarmac and headed onto the rough forest roads I saw this poster and photographed it in case it was the nearest thing to a tiger we saw. As I have reproduced it here, you may deduce that it was.
|Peacock, Nagarhole National Park|
A racket- tailed drongo - another fairly common bird, but always worth seeing - flew across the path and posed in a tree. My picture is no danger of winning a wildlife photography award but you can see the unlikely rackets that dangle from its forked black tail the best part of a body length below it.
|Racket-tailed drongo, Nagarhole National Park|
|Stag looking out of the mist, Nagarhole National Park|
There are 29 species of mongoose. These two, I am fairly confident, are stripe-necked mongooses which we have seen in India before but this is by far the best photograph we have managed (and even then is not good). The common grey mongoose in Sri Lanka is much cooperative.
|Wild pigs by the waterside, Nagarhole National Park|
|Tiger paw print, Nagarhole National Park|
Part 3: Kabini and the Nagarhole National Park
Part 4: The Road to Ooty
Part 5: The Nilgiri Blue Train to Coonoor
Part 6: Across the Palakkad Gap and up to Munnar
Part 7: Munnar - Tea, Dams and Elephants
Part 8: Madurai
Part 9: Rameswaram
Part 10: To the Very Tip of India
Part 11: The End of India and Beyond
Part 12: North to Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) and Kollam
Part 14: The Backwaters of Kerala (and some Coir)
Part 15: Marari Beach, Rest, Recreation and Refuse
Part 16: Kochi, a Second Visit