Lake Victoria Islands Tour April 24

Easter sunday Jim, Larry, Anita (a student who works for TATS) and I went to Lake Victoria islands. I got the best recordings of the trip so far! I had no idea how extensive the islands were in this huge lake. The drive took about an hour to the wharf and fish market. Larry arranged with a guy to take a boat out for most of the day, and we headed off to Sowe Island, seeing many birds, including egrets, cormorants and white storks, not the Kampala type. Anita was familiar with this first island, and showed me around. Jim is a child-magnet and after a few minutes had an expanding group following him around. I met the school teacher, stopped by the church to record some music, and had a good recording session on the other side of the island, with the children following me being very good and quite while I recorded. Larry got some fish and we went on to Paradise Island, which was aptly named. After losing the “security” guy who kept talking while I was trying to record, as Jim went with him, I got wonderful recordings and video of egrets and other birds, mostly in the trees.

Kings Island was had belonged to the King of Buganda, turned into a commercial vacation spot now. Dragon flies circle you as you walk. Waves lapped up onto rocks with cormorants and egrets perched on them. You have a perfect view of this from the tables covered by grass roofs. There was even a great rest room. In the middle of the island was grass-roofed bar with couches, audio system and sculptures. Behind this was a grassy area with a few trees and an amazing number of birds and a few cows. In the grassy/treed area I got great recordings. I ate a whole tilapia freshly caught and cooked and with the chili sauce.

We saw otters in the water, briefly. The final island we stopped by in a forested area and I had to walk through a big tree branch to get off the boat. As soon as I looked up there were huge spiders all in front of me. Of course I freaked out, spiders not being my favorite thing, and it was a while before I got up the courage to follow Jim up into the brush. There appeared to be a path, but it didn’t go anywhere, and we still heard the loud waves and loud music from across the lake. I got one bird call recorded. However it was probably good this happened because I learned that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where I’ll be next week, will be even thicker forest than this, and  have these same harmless but large spiders.

We had dinner at the Kabira country club, which was really nice. I had chicken biryani and part of a death by chocolate cake.

Easter Monday is a holiday in Uganda, so nothing was planned. Jim and I went shopping and managed to find a microphone cable, CDs, a map of Uganda, Stony ginger beer which is quickly becoming a habit here, batteries, and other useful stuff. Larry, Jim and I had a great Ethiopian dinner at the place that was bombed last summer. You would never know that happened, except that we had to go through a security check on the way in. The prices are so reasonable – about 10000 (around $5) for a huge platter more than enough for 1 person. We split 2 for 3 people.

Pix will go up later. Tomorrow (Tues April 27) we go on the longest tour, Lake Mburo, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (gorilla tracking), Queen Elizabeth (tree lions are there), Rwenzori Mountains and Bigodi Swamp bird sanctuary. I will be back late Friday.

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About marahelmuth

Composer / researcher specializing in computer music, professor at CCM, at the University of Cincinnati. Embarking on a trip to Uganda April 13, 2011. I will be working with Teach and Tour Sojourners, who arrange tours in the parks and reserves and lectures at universities. On the tours I'll be recording wildlife sound and video, to be used in future compositions.
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2 Responses to Lake Victoria Islands Tour April 24

  1. Jeanette says:

    I teach math in a NC Community College and just heard about the teach and tour program. I was so thrilled to find your website. I would love your candid comments about whether it is a good idea or a bad idea to go with them It sounds fascinating on the surface, but I am concerned that it might be a scam. Were they honest about requirements and expenses. Any info you can supply would be greatly appreciated.

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