Report 18
January 6, 2000

Moth
“We’re seeing animals in great abundance,” reports Michael Fay.
Photograph by Michael Fay

[Note: nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit dispatches.]

We’re all sitting out here on this hillside—the 12 Pygmy guides and Maffa, our camp manager—waiting for an airplane to bring food. We’ve started to run out of food. We’ve still got another 10 days to go to get to our destination. Since we don’t want to rush or get fatigued, we called in an air drop from the project at Nouabalé-Ndoki. So we’re going to be bombarded by sacks of manioc and salted fish in about 15 minutes.

All the boys are in good spirits. We’re in good health. And we feel very privileged at the beginning of this millennium to have been in one of the most remote places on Earth, seeing animals in great abundance that have never seen humans before.

This block is one that no one has ever explored as far as we know. This will probably be the only place like this that we visit during our trip. It’s been an amazing experience to be in a place where you know no man has been for probably a hundred years or so.

Report 18 Update:

January 6, 2000

The air drop went off very smoothly. It was like missiles flying out of the sky [or] shooting stars that came crashing through the trees and landed with a big thud! We got seven sacks of supplies [that weighed] about 20 kilos [54 pounds] apiece. Salted fish, cigarettes, sugar, milk, rice, manioc, sardines—all the things we need. So we’re good for another three weeks at least, and we’ll be proceeding through this Shangri-la of ours.

Now we know that air drops work painlessly. You have to hide behind a tree when the missiles are falling. It’s kind of like the movie Armageddon in New York City. We saw one manioc sack go through the branches and it kind of exploded with a trail of white flour behind it. But we actually recuperated about 90 percent of it.

So all’s well that ends well. We’re still alive, and our coffers are full. We’ll be talking to you guys again soon.

—Michael Fay, Wildlife Conservation Society


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Report 17 - January 6, 2000 Report 19 - January 10, 2000