Sunday, February 28, 2010

C. cf. cordata 'Dayu'

The first cryptocoryne we found around south Kalimantan was near Dayu but we failed to locate any spathe. From 'the crypt pages', it was recorded that only C. cf. cordata was found around this region so we guessed that this should likely be C. cf. cordata too.
The river water level was high and all the cryptocorynes found here were in submersed condition. We were told by our driver that the rainy season was not over yet and encountered a few heavy rain pours during our 3 days 3 nights trip there. Large carpets of cryptocorynes could be found.
The cryptocorynes were growing with some beautiful long stem water plants with greenish leaves with serrated edges.
The leaves of these cryptocorynes are one of the larger ones which I had found so far. The underside of the leaves were very purplish in colour.
The substrate of the river was formed with fine sandy base mixed with pebbles and the pH of the water was rather low at around 4.5?
Oh, and did I ever mentioned before that we frequently found cryptocorynes growing in rivers used by the local for washing clothes, bathing, and disposing of human waste? This was no expeption. Always ask to use the toilet when you can't find the cryptocorynes!

Friday, February 26, 2010

South Kalimantan trip summary

19th Feb 2010 (Fri)
1500hrs - Finally managed to send out one last work related email to address my boss's concern. After a quick bath, I rushed out of house, took a taxi to pick my explorer friend up and then headed together to the airport. Luckily the traffic was smooth and we managed to reach the airport on time to check-in our baggage.
1715hrs - Boarded the plane to Jakarta.
1755hrs (Jakarta time) - Reached Jakarta and queued for a long while to clear immigration and claim our checked-in baggage.
1855hrs (Jakarta time) - Got out of the arrival hall and rushed upstairs to the departure hall only to find out that the local flights were at another terminal which required us to take a shutter bus or taxi to reach there.
1905hrs (Jakarta time) - Managed to reach the terminal 1 via taxi to complete our check in baggage.
1955hrs (Jakarta time) - Boarded the plane to Banjarmasin.
2230hrs - Arrived at Banjarmasin Airport.
20th Feb 2010 (Sat)
0005hrs -  Finally managed to complete our negotiation with the taxi counter at the airport and hired a car + driver.
0600hrs - Reached Taminglayang for breakfast at a road side warung (meaning a casual outdoor eatery in Bahasa Indonesia)
0700hrs - Reached Dayu, found our first cryptocoryne, likely to be C. cf. cordata with large submersed leaves.
0730hrs - Found 3rd location with C. cf. cordata in Dayu with emersed specimens.
0900hrs - Reached Ampah, decided not to travel further north, turned back and started travelling south.
1100hrs - Found 4th location with C. cf. cordata in Taminglayang.
1500hrs - Reached our last hunting location for Day 1, Tebing Tinggi.
1730hrs - Went back to Tanjung for dinner and stayed over in Tanjung. It rained heavily from 1900hrs until early morning the next day.
21st Feb 2010 (Sun)
0500hrs - Woke up, checked out of hotel and headed towards East Kalimantan.
0550hrs - Had breakfast along a roadside warung.
0650hrs - Found yet another location for C. cf. cordata near Haruai.
0800hrs - Reached foot of Gunung Lumut near the border of East Kalimantan, the furthest to the east we travelled to before turning back.
1000hrs - Reached back to Tanjung for Lunch.
1230hrs - Reached Barabai.
1600hrs - Reached Gunung Besar.
1630hrs - Found C. cf. striolata on Gunung Besar.
1710hrs - Reached a waterfall on Gunung Besar.

1720hrs - Friend almost hit by falling rocks at foot of waterfall.
1930hrs - Stayed over in a hotel on Gunung Besar.
22nd Feb 2010 (Mon)
0600hrs - Woke up and started hunting around Gunung Besar.
0800hrs - Found another location on Gunung Besar with C. cf. striolata.
1100hrs - Left Gunung Besar to head back towards Bajarmasin airport.
1300hrs - Spathe of collected specimen of C. cf. striolata 'Gunung Besar' opened.
1440hrs - Ended search between Banjarbaru and Rantau for C. hudoroi, no luck...
1610hrs - Reached Banjarmasin airport.
1620hrs - Managed to find a toilet to bathe in the airport before checking in.
1840hrs - Scheduled departure time.
1910hrs - Actual departure time. Stressed.
1945hrs (Jakarta time) - Reached Jarkarta Airport.
2000hrs (Jakarta time) - Reach baggage claim area and waited for friend's luggage.
2010hrs (Jakarta time) - Baggage conveyor belt had not even started. Decided to split up, I headed to terminal 2 hoping that they would still allow me to check-in for the connecting flight scheduled at 2050hrs while my friend continued to wait for his baggage. If I missed the flight, I would have to stay over in Jakarta and not be able to attend an important meeting the next day. Stressed!!!!
2015hrs (Jakarta time) - Reached terminal 2, happy to see that the check-in counter had not closed and was still serving 3 last passengers.
2020hrs (Jakarta time) - Cleared immigration, went to boarding gate.
2030hrs (Jakarta time) - Delighted to see my friend being escorted to the boarding gate by an airport staff.
2050hrs (Jakarta time) - Boarded plane back to Singapore.
2330hrs - Reached Singapore.
23rd Feb 2010 (Tue)
0030hrs - Home sweet home!!!!!!

South Kalimantan trip actual route

We decided on option 3 in the end, travelling far to Ampah during the 1st night before making our way back slowly. Below is a map showing roughly the route which we took.
We found 7 locations with possibly 2 species of cryptocorynes only, namely C. cf. cordata and C. cf. striolata. We did not have sufficient time to search for C. hudoroi on the last day as we covered too much distance in this trip. It was still within the rainy season and we encountered a heavy rain during the trip which caused many rivers along the way to flood, hampering our search.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

South Kalimantan - 19th Feb 2010 (Fri) to 22nd Feb 2010 (Mon)

This might be my last few field trips for a long while due to my mother's worsening health condition. Anyway we are going to South Kalimantan for the first time from 19th Feb 2010 (Fri) to 22nd Feb 2010 (Mon). We only have 2.5 days and 3 nights, reaching Banjarmasin on Friday night 2230hrs and leaving Banjarmasin on Monday evening 1840hrs (1640hrs need to reach airport).
Option 1: Friday night reach Banjarmasin, stay overnight. Saturday travel and hunt along road to Kandangan, stay overnight in Kandangan. Sunday travel and hunt on Gunung Besar, stay overnight in car on Gunung Besar. Monday reach back to Banjarmasin, evening time fly back to Singapore.
Option 2 (more extreme): Friday night reach Banjarmasin, stay overnight in Banjarmasin. Saturday travel and hunt along road to Kandangan, night time travel up to Dayu stay overnight in car along the way. Sunday travel and hunt around Dayu to Buntok (last town along the main raod right beside Barito river?) and then travel and hunt along the road back to Kandangan, stay overnight in Kandangan. Monday travel back to Banjarmasin, evening time fly back to Singapore.
Option 3 (most extreme combining options 1 and 2): Friday night reach Banjarmasin, travel up to Kandangan, stay overnight in car along the way. Saturday travel and hunt along road to Dayu and Buntok, night time travel back to Kandangan stay overnight in car along the way. Sunday travel and hunt on Gunung Besar, stay overnight in car on Gunung Besar. Monday reach back to Banjarmasin, evening time fly back to Singapore.
All the above are just plans now, we will need to see how it all go along the way, i.e. whether we can find a willing driver, whether the road conditions permit, whether there are hotels available, the weather conditions, etc......

Sunday, February 7, 2010

C. sp. 'Bukit Ibam Pahang Yellow Ring'

My explorer friend found very interesting specimens cryptocorynes from Bukit Ibam in Pahang earlier this week during his trip to Peninsula Malaysia. He conveniently termed it as C. sp. 'Yellow Ring' first.
The limb of the spathe is broadly opened and yellowish in colour. The limb is distinctively bullated with a pointed tail at the top where the yellow colour fades away. The limb also has very distinctive thicken yellow throat with the inside of the throat being white in colour. The unopened spathe is greenish in colour. 
Below are the photographs of the upper and under sides of the newer leaves for your reference.
I cut open the kettle when I reached home to photograph the female and male portions of the spathes.
Whether the above are related to an existing species (i.e. C. cordata? C. nurii? etc) as another variety or whether they could be considered as new species / hybrids / etc, we shall let you yourselves as well as the experts decide.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Goodbye to C. sp. 'Kota Tinggi'

I hoped everyone would remember C. sp. 'Kota Tinggi' forever. This fragile species could only be found in a small pool in an old oil palm plantation in Kota Tinggi in Johor state in Peninsula Malaysia (at least this is what I know, if anyone out there know another location, please let me know!). Its limb is dark reddish in colour wih distinct crumpled surface.
I can now reveal photographs of how the plantation looked like without fear of over-revealing the actual location of this cryptocoryne. This is because my explorer friend confirmed during his trip to Peninsula Malaysia this week that the entire patch of plantation had been chopped down. 
If I had known that this would happen, maybe I would try to spend some effort to track down the plantation owner to inform him that there is this species of plant which could only be found in his plantation and possibly no where else on earth and hoped that he would preserve at least a 20m x 20m area of  his XX hactares of plantation to protect this species from possible extinction.
Goodbye to C. sp. 'Kota Tinggi', may you rest in peace.