Daaibooi - search for niches and a rare plant

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Daaibooi 20160204 022 smallOn Thursday February 4, 2016 at 8 AM the sleuths gathered at the beach of Daaibooi, not to go for a swim, but to start a search for niches in the top level of the cliff of the Seru Kabritu. Carel was not able to join this time but he had a special assignment for us during this hike, namely to find the rare Pilocarpus goudotianus, local name Palu kayente. So we had a double target for this hike, niches and a "hot tree" (translation of Palu kayente).
During this hike we had the same two guests that joined us in the previous week, Winnie and Frits.

We started our hike on the Southern side of the bay, where a steep path leads to the ruin of the fort that was built here in the past to protect this bay. The only remnants of this fort are a part of the foundation, visible as a straight line of limestone blocks, the underside of the flag post and the ammunition bunker.
From there we continued along the coast till we reached a dry-stone wall. We crossed this wall and went immediately in the direction of the hill in the distance.

We climbed the first cliff and continued to the second cliff. It is in this second cliff, the topmost one, that we wanted to search for niches or small caves. Each cliff was at a certain time in the past at sea level and the pounding waves could have created small caves. And these caves could have been used by the indians to find cover or as temporary shelter during their hikes.

Our guests experienced this hike as more challenging than the previous one. Last week's hike was considered a good exercise for this one. Main difference is the fact that we have to climb during this hike. And there is always a risk for bees when looking for niches. And that proved to be true. At a certain moment François was attacked and stung. We could see the bee's nest a bit higher up in the cliff. So the bees found their niche in this wall. We increased our pace to get out of reach. Luckily the bees were not too aggressive. Also spraying Baygon helped a bit to keep the bees at distance. This was our only encounter with bees during this hike.

We continued in the direction of the bay at the foot of the top cliff but didn't see much niches. Fred investigated a very small one and we took a break in a larger shallow one. That was all we found.

Up till then we were not very successful on our second assignment for this hike; we had seen several plants that looked suspicous to us, but each time we decided that this was probably not the plant that we were looking for.
When we reached the end of the cliff, Fred saw a dry-stone wall on top of the cliff, so Fred, Hetty and I went up while the others started their way down back to the bay.
The wall was built on the edge of the cliff and followed that edge for a while. When we reached the end we went more inland. And it is there that I found the Pilocarpus goudotianus, or at least a plant that looked like it. I called Fred and also he concluded that this was the one. So he took a picture with his smartphone and sent that to Carel without mentioning the name of the plant. Before we were back at the bay Carel had confirmed that this was indeed the Pilocarpus goudotianus; just to be sure he had forwarded the picture to André van Proosdij and André had confirmed that this was indeed the plant that we were looking for,

After the find Fred, Hetty and I started our hike down back to the bay. We found several other species of the Palu kayente on the top plateau. Apparently this plant needs a certain underground but also a certain height because further down we didn't find any, not even on our way back when we knew what to look for.

That concluded our hike for this week.