My trip to the South American rainforest
took a trip of a lifetime to somewhere I think very few Hong Kong people
would go, or even think about going to – Colombia. It was a very hard
decision to visit Colombia, especially with the sensitive politics there,
but for the rainforest, I would do anything!
joined an Ecovolunteer project (www.ecovolunteer.org),
which arranges for people to visit scientific research stations in many
parts of the world to help with conservation work. For this trip I went
to El Amargal Biological Station, under the Fundación Inguede
(a private conservation organization in Colombia), on the Pacific Coast
of the Chocó department of the country. The station is in a very
isolated place. From Bogotá (the capital of Colombia) I took
two one-hour flights to the little village of Nuquí, then a 2
hour boat-trip to arrive at the station. However, El Amargal is well
worth the tiring and somewhat dangerous transport needed to get there.
The view from the house up on the cliff is magnificent, with groups
of pelicans and egrets flying past every now and then. The sea in front
of the station is on the path of the migration route of humpback whales:
during my stay I saw them three times! In the forest I saw many animals:
toucans, hummingbirds, parrots, tanagers, lizards, frogs, howler monkeys,
and numerous insects. Every tree in the forest is huge, with many epiphytes
attached, and one of the largest trees in the plot under study has a
diameter of 180 cm (as part of my voluntary work there was helping to
measure trees). The forest is so dense and huge that you could not walk
alone for 15 minutes without being lost; in fact, even with a guide
we got lost once.
I took this trip I couldn’t imagine myself being in a rainforest, as
the wildlife there is so wonderful, the life-style so different from
Hong Kong, and I met many different people, including the very friendly
neighbouring Indians. All I wish is that more people could see and experience
the true beauty of nature, protect it and keep it the way it is.
next to the station (the hut behind) enjoying sunlight.
|The view from
the balcony of the station on a rainy day. Heavy rain and storm
constitutes almost 2/3 of the time in the rainforest.
of pelicans ( Pelecanus occidentalis) are everywhere!