No driving down the steep sandy slopes to the crater lake today. I think the drivers got a bit worried yesterday, given frequent meetings with bullock carts, the narrow paths, the steep slope, the deep tracks and the huge hollows, all of which makes driving quite a bit difficult. From now on we will walk and a farmer with a bullock cart will transport our equipment down and up again. This seems to be a much better solution.
Leshe Lake is a small lake, just over 3 m deep at the deepest point. Its surface is covered by water lily leaves, very similar to Lake Kumphawapi in northeast Thailand. The water lilies are not flowering yet, but maybe in a month’s time the whole lake will be completely covered with flowers.
The dry area on the lake bottom is used by local farmers to grow different types of crops, but also flowers. Everyday they make the long walk up and down the slopes to their farmland. Transport of everything, vegetables, wood, grass, hay, and coconuts is by bullock carts.
Leshe Lake is finally releasing its secrets. We found two more locations where the water is deeper, and where the sediments are fairly easy to core. However at a depth of about 5.80 m we always reach compact clay. No way to core through this layer, even though we tried with all available man- and womanpower. The sequence we get at all coring points consists of nice organic muds and intercalated layers suggesting that the lake might have dried out at two occasions. Maybe these are the same dry phases as those found in the Kumphawapi sediments? Hopefully we will know in a few months, because I am really keen on submitting radiocarbon dates as soon as possible.
More coring at Leshe Lake tomorrow. But now we will split up into two teams. One will be working on Leshe Lake and the other group will drive to the next lake, which is a deeper crater lake and sample the water and the sediments there Also tonight two people from the village will sleep close to our equipment and will keep an eye on it.