There is always something strange about certain photographs that is not evident when you take them.
For instance, the photograph above.
While this might look like some vegetation by the side of a river or stream, its that area of blackness behind what looks like steps up from the water level that adds a level of intrigue or mystery.
We had spent two weeks slowly going upriver looking for a needle in a haystack. It was an apt description, because there had been quite a large number of likely spots, all of which after investigation, came to nothing.
I mean, the description Professor Bates had given is was as hazy as day is long in these parts.
His recollection: that it was what looked like a cave behind lush undergrowth, with steps fashioned out of stone.
It was all the more confusing because when we found him, he was drifting on a rough hewn and constructed raft, half dead from dehydration. We were told he’d been on the raft for nearly a week.
That meant the cave could be anywhere between where we found him at the 10 mile mark, and 200 miles further on based on river flow.
We were currently at the 150 mile mark and the river was losing depth and width, and soon there would not be enough water to continue in the boat.
It was dusk and too dark to continue. We’d been enthusiastic those first days, continuing on in the dark, in shifts, using the arc lamps.
Then after a week, realising having lights on made us target practise, and after several brushes with death, and the loss of all the bulbs being shot out, we got the message.
There was the odd marauder during the day, but we had the width of the river for safety. Now that had gone too, and we had lookouts posted, but seeing into the dense jungle was difficult.
But we got through another night with no activity, and come morning, what looked like the entrance to a cave was not fifteen feet from us.
All we had to was row over and check.
© Charles Heath 2020