Friday, November 18, 2011

SW Thailand - Long-tailed Macaques

One of our favourite spots in the Krabi area was the mangrove walkway, a winding, raised path through the mangroves on the western shore of the river. Wonderfully peaceful and unspoilt (despite being so close to civilisation), it always felt a little different, with variations in time of day, light and the state of the tide.

On one such walk, we were about to reach the small jetty on the river when we found ourselves in the midst of a large party of Long-tailed Macaques. For the following hour or so, we remained politely undisturbing of each other, although in very close proximity.

In the process we were able to work out who was who in the group, including the matriach, the scouts and the carers - even the vocalisations started to make sense after a while, and it was a joy to experience, with just the two of us and up to forty monkeys undisturbed.

They didn't hassle us and we didn't hassle them, and after a while they just got used to our presence; at one point, a White-bellied Sea Eagle circled low overhead, and as we looked up, we exchanged glances with the monkeys who were serenely doing exactly the same thing...

We've encountered plenty of monkeys during the trip (in several different countries) from extremely shy (e.g. Formosan Macaques in the Taiwan mountains) to the smart-ass blink-and-you're-minus-your-wallet types at popular spots, but for an untainted interaction with close cousins, our mangrove experience was the best yet by some distance.