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Miscellaneous Pictures
Bantayan Island Outreach
June of 2014

The port seen here is the port entrance to Bantayan Island when coming over from Cebu. Note the flatness of the land. Typhoon Yolanda rolled right over this island with no natural barriers to buffer it.

The Philippine Tokay (Tuko) Gecko. Large, fast, and fearless, these giant Geckos when disturbed will run toward you and leap, often landing on you before leaping away again. Much fun and an unexpected delight if you're fond of catching critters for closer inspection before releasing them again. Their fearless maneuvers were not the only surprise though.

The crafty Gecko in the picture leapt out of nowhere onto the middle of a new roof we were still in the process of building. The chase was on! I managed to catch this Tuko bare-handed without triggering the release of his tail (which would grow back in 4-6 weeks time). If you touch the tail, he will drop it in defense. The tail will wiggle violently and distract you while the rest of the Gecko gets away.

After the picture, he calmed down and I relaxed my grip. The Tuko then promptly turned his head around and clamped down on my finger. I've been bitten before by much larger lizards and they didn't break the skin. This Gecko was much smaller so I'm thinking, "no problem, just gently open his mouth and pull out my finger". A few moments later I discovered why these Geckos have larger heads than other Geckos species I've handled before. The over-sized jaw bones can lock in place after they bite down. Now I had a Tuko Gecko locked onto my finger and I couldn't get it to let go. (I found out later on that submersion in water is one trick to get them to un-lock but I didn't know it at the time.) I had work to get back to and he wasn't letting go so I commenced slowly pulling my finger out of his mouth. The Gecko was smiling, I'm sure of it. I didn't know it yet but he was about to win the battle, leaving the giant invader that caught him bloody and retreating. The bite didn't hurt because his teeth were not pointed. I could see that they were flat and in a neat row. As I twisted my finger, trying to pull it out, I watched my flesh peel away. The neat little row of flat teeth were amazingly sharp. I had my finger in a Chinese Finger Trap with razor blades woven into it. There was much blood. I finally got my finger back and then I let the Gecko go free, unharmed. (He earned it.)

There were rooster everywhere and they crowed all day, every day, not just in the morning. I think there was an added urgency in their crow... It may have conveyed the message, "Please don't eat me!"

I thought the picture with the blue fish netting was interesting. There's a baby chick right in front of that adult cat but the cat isn't at all interested.

The sunrise photo on the beach is from the front of our resort where we slept. We never really had a chance to enjoy it since we left at sunrise and didn't get back until well after dark each day. The moonlight picture is the same beach on our return that evening.

One of the families we helped rebuild had turkeys and ducks in addition to the more common pigs, chickens and cows. One unlucky duck was tied to a pole and rotated over a fire pit for dinner.

The dinner on the table is a typical team dinner that our cooks prepared for us at our base of operations after a long day of work. If you like seafood, this is a great place to be. The impressive spread consisted of large clams in a seaweed broth, grilled fish, fried fish, fish soup, sweet and sour fish, and local steamed crabs with meat sweeter than any Blue-shell, Alaskan, or Rock crabs I've had in North America. All fresh, all from the waters surrounding the island.