Though we were out at 6am this morning to whizz up to Kampi
to get our dolphin fix, it was well worth it as the 'early bird catches the worm' or in this instance a considerable amount of dolphin activity ranging from the regular splash when they slightly break the surface of the water, to full, head-out vertical appearances followed by full, body-out somersaults, which we didn't expect to see. There was one group of four dolphins who circled our boat for twenty minutes, providing us with a series of displays across the range I mentioned above. This was Kratie dolphins at their best and most customer-friendly. The boat pilot ferried us to three locations to catch sight of the dolphins, all within100-300 metres of the riverbank, most of the time using his oar rather than his engine so he didn't scare them off. It's difficult to judge how many dolphins were in the area, or whether we kept seeing the same ones, but it was certainly an experience that exceeded our expectations. And just for good measure, we were the only boat on the river during the hour-plus we were on the Mekong. For those who haven't seen the dolphins at Kampi, it's 16 kms north of Kratie, took 25 minutes by moto and the cost per person for the boat ride was $9, quite a hefty rise from recent years but if everyone has the experience we did, they'll think its worth it.
Following our dolphin fix, we carried on north as far as Wat Sarsar Mouy Rouy, the 116-pillar pagoda at Sambour, stopped at the village of Baay Samnom to chat to a group of women and children for half an hour, before heading back for a sticky-rice with nuns encounter at Phnom Sambok. We called into a few wats en route including Wat Thma Krae where I spotted a partial lintel at the base of some steps that was in good nick. Back in Kratie for 1pm, we ate at U-Hong restaurant next to the market despite there being a power-cut that affected the whole town. Now its time for some shut-eye for an hour or so. Tomorrow morning we head for Stung Treng before a cross-country adventure to rendezvous with our transport at Tbeng Meanchey (for the onward trip to Preah Vihear and Banteay Chhmar).
Labels: Kampi dolphins, Kratie