Sparkling Fireflies

A friend told that Malaysia boasts one of the rare firefly colonies in the world. It is about an hours drive from Kuala Lumpur on the North-South Plus highway. We took the Sungai Buloh exit, went to Bukit Melawati and then headed for Kampung Kuantan and followed the signboard to the firefly park. It was a single track road like rural Indian roads and people were driving like crazy!

It was too early and even the ticket counter was not open. So, we had a chance to chat with the locals and boat men. Of course, took few snaps before dark.

This picture looks very romantic right? But, in reality the Selangor river at Kampung Kuantan is muddy and the boats tethered were too small. My first thoughts were, should I really go in that crazy boat?

When I asked about the depth of the river, first boat man said that it should be around 40 to 50 feet deep...scary, then another fellow contradicted by telling that it should be 20 to 25 feet deep. However, both of them told that it is very murky that is why the running river water looks so dirty.

At the ticket counter they assured me that there has never been a mishap since the boating service started 10 years ago. Further, they said that we will be provided with life jackets. To my dismay, all the life jackets had broken clips, which doesn't serve the purpose:( When questioned, the boat man simply came closer and tied the straps together like this ^^

With a short prayer I dared to climb the boat after it was completely dark. When we moved away from the boat club, the only artificial light faded off and I felt it like some adventure movie, as the silence was heavy and the weather sultry. Slowly the boatman steered the boat close to the berambang trees AND suddenly I noticed hundreds of sparkles dusted on the low bushes!

As we cruised, we noticed that all the flies in a tree were flickering in harmony like a controlled serial light:) The dark sky was studded with twinkling stars and were trying to compete with the fireflies in the river bank. What a sight, amazing! With all my fear gone, I started to chat with the boatman. He  said that the fireflies emit light as a signal to mate and commented that the fireflies were lesser on that night because of the bright sky. He added that it would be ideal to watch them on a no-moon night.

We spotted a couple of fireflies on the murky water and I thought that they had fallen off the branches and were dying, I felt sorry for them. But the boatman consoled me by telling that they were having a good time in the water, and I had to just blink hehehe... Later, I checked online and found that some of the fireflies are aquatic and they lay larve in the murky waters!

I wanted to take a snap of the glittering bushes but the visitors are prohibited to use flash, which would disturb the fireflies. Even with Night mode, I couldn't get a decent shot:( Though the painted banner does not do justice to reality, I took a snap as a keepsake:

A memorable experience, despite the odds:) Um, so happy that I recall the nursery rhyme:
Row row row a boat, Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.

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