Soon the sound gives it away — a stream rushing through the rainforest. A fallen tree on the way forces us to take another path, winding down, careful not to step on leaf litter. No one knows what lies beneath the dried and decomposing leaves.
Glimpses of white shine through the leaves. The sound is loud now — a low, continuous roar. We find a rock jutting above the stream and step on it, then exclaim in unison: “Wow!”
Winding through the canopy the stream flows right before us. It dives under the rock on which we stand and swivels over to stabler terrain to the right of us. It is not just the rushing roar we can hear now. There is whistling, hissing, gushing, rustling… along with a dozen other sounds that I can’t put to words. Also the rushing water works up a wind. Leeches still clamber up my shins, and I drag, roll and flick them into the water as I set up the tripod.
We walk past the cottage reserved for Romulus Whittaker and, at the edge of the forest, there is an electric fence (which was not electrified). We climb it and take a few steps downwards into the foliage. And we realize that we have just been transported into another dimension. Pandora, maybe?
The diffused sunlight that enveloped the open grassland in front of the cottages is absent here, cut off by the canopy that makes us feel we are inside a tunnel. An occasional croak is heard, succeeded by soft mumbling whispers as the running water gossips with the rocks.Everything sports some shade of green. The water, the leaves and the canopy…
The interns at ARRS said the place throngs with life at night, but unfortunately they never went on a night-walk that side during our stay, so we couldn’t accompany them…
These were two natural streams, both flowing right through the same rainforest. Perhaps both would merge somewhere, or one may get consumed by the other. But when we met them, they sported entirely contradicting personae – as different as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Text and photos by Sandeep Somasekharan
Read more Agumbe Diaries
- How looking out of the window saved my sanity – a quarantine birdwatching tale - December 28, 2020
- Stargazing on the Appalachian Trail - October 20, 2020
- Comet watching : Neowise aka C/2020 F3 - July 14, 2020