Sunday, May 24, 2009

Plitvica Lakes

This was truly a visually awesome day marred only by the overabundance of Japanese tourists; they were everywhere and all of them looked ancient and some of them wear white cotton gloves but we can't figure out why.

Last night we had a good proper thunderstorm with lightning and heavy drops of rain not to mention really, really strong winds. We thought that our tent was going to blow away and it was blown pretty much flat several times but it seems to have survived the night. While we were lying in the tent listening to the rain lashing the outside I couldn't help but wonder if the germans camped just below us in the bowl of a subsidence were going to end up knee deep in water.

The Plitvica lakes are formed from the calcium carbonate that is in the water. The calcium carbonate comes from limestone that rainwater leaches through to run into the river and this causes huge sink holes to appear on the surface of the ground. Once in the river, algae and moss absorb the calcium and when they die they leave behind a small crystal but gazillions of these together form the weirs of the Plitvica lakes. Or so I am told.

The size of the weirs varies from a few centimetres to close to 40 metres high and the lakes that form behind the weirs are up to 47m deep. That's quite lot of pressure being held back by algae and moss!

Just below where I am seated, the water appears as if it is coming from a hosepipe; this is where the algae and moss have completely enclosed a jet of water and eventually this will close up.

Apparently any form of pollution, especially oils, will damage the ecosystem so the ferries that they have over the larger lakes are electric as are the busses that are used. The paths that one walks on look like below and there are miles of them to protect the environment from all the foot traffic.

Coming around a bend we spotted the omnipresent Mellman enjoying the view of the lakes and the tourists.

It took us about 5 hours of walking before we returned so we spent a very lazy afternoon reading and drinking coffee. We would have had an early night if it wasn't for the noisy dutch that have set up camp behind us. We got chatting to a, very superior, brit whose comment on the dutch was that "They're everywhere". He professes to be well off but, if that was so, why would he be camping in a caravan? The brits are amazing, they start wars and conflict everywhere they go and then expect others to sort out the mess. This was particularly evident with regards to Zimbabwe where he basically blames South Africa for the basket case that Zimbabwe has become; eyes open but the mouse is dead!

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