|Minivan from Ban Lung to Kratie. As the first attached photo shows, the road is red dirt. Not too bad unless it has been raining....which it had...
When we arrived in Stung Treng (half way to Kratie) I looked up in the sky and saw a ring around the sun - see attached photo. First time I've ever seen this. I looked it up on the web and it is apparently a 22 degree halo, also called a parhelic circle. Although I am happy to be corrected. Something to do with ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. Seemed a bit hot for that, but what do I know. Anyway, pretty spectacular, if not a little unnerving....thoughts of end of the world etc....
Kratie is famous for viewing the increasingly rare Irrawaddy dolpins. Not many left since the Khmer Rough shot most of them, and gill fishing claimed many others. They aren't like your average Flipper dolphin - they don't swim up to the boat and start doing party tricks. No stroking here. Instead they are quite elusive - evasive even. They stay 50 to 100 yards away from the boats, and surface for just a second before diving again. So photographing them is a nightmare - almost farcical. You have a boat full of people all scanning the water with their cameras, then frantic clicking once the dolphins surface. Only problem is that by the time you've focused and pressed the shutter button, the dolphins have disappeared. And they you are guessing where they will resurface in 20 seconds time.... Add to that the blinding sunlight which means you can't see your view finder, and you have quite a challenging situation.
Putting the camera down, it really is quite beautiful to watch these now very threatened dolphins - I think there are less than 100 left. There are conservation efforts in place, so lets hope that they will still be around when Philippe and Emma come here.