Dragons On the Talofofo
Saturday's (September 28, 1996) touring kayak adventure took place on the
Talofofo River, which dumps into the Talofofo Bay on the southwest corner
of the island of Guam. The cast of characters on this day trip included
Peter, who can stack more kayaks on a small Nisson than anybody I have ever
seen, Richard, Ester, Richard's wife and Luke. Richard
and Ester paddled a folding kayak and Peter
and Luke were using one person sit-on-tops.
The river was flanked by nypa and cocnut palms, with pago trees and bamboo.
Behind this was breathtaking limestone and basalt cliffs covered with papaya
and tangan-tangan. The flat water at the mouth of the river was full of
hydros and pago flowers floating down the river that blew off the trees.
Halfway down the river we encounter a palm tree bent over by storms and
erosion and extending across the river with the top growing strait up at
about an 80 degree angle. This was an irresistable lure for Peter and Luke
to climb up the tree and leap into the water below.
However, halfway up the trunk... Crash! It sounded like a large branch falling
to the ground, but, as Peter quickly pointed out, it was a monitor lizard
more than one meter long! After Luke jumped into the water, we all paddled
around trying to photograph the reptile that had climbed back up another
palm to join a slightly smaller monitor lizard. To get a better photo Luke
decided to join the two by climbing up their palm tree.. It wasn't until
he was halfway up the tree that Peter pointed out to him that monitor lizards
can be dangerous if corned and I suppose that being trapped at the top of
a palm tree would be a fairly good example of how to corner a monitor lizard.
Now this was truly a "National Geographic" moment. There they
were hanging from a palm tree, two introduced species- the
monitor lizard was introduced to Guam from teh Philipines via Spanish
galleons about 200 years ago and Luke was introduced to Guam from Tennessee
via Continental Airways about 3 years ago. Anyway, the lizard permitted
him to take a photograph.
The river narrowed from 35 meters across at the mouth to just 5 meters across
where we turned around. The only trick was to turn Richard and Ester's 5
meter long Folbot folding kayak in the small current of a 5 meter wide river!
Luke hung out in a small eddy and watched Peter and Richard pull of a small
feet in the physics of kayaking by turning the kayak around and we headed
down the river to the beautiful Talofofo Bay. Days like these make you feel
lucky to live in the tropics!
September 28, 1996
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