|Trinidad & Tobago|
This is where the Ganga River meets the Indian Ocean, a huge expanse of mangrove covered islands and estuaries that change salinity with the tides. The Sunderbans is the largest river delta in the world and also the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world. It's home to the largest population of Royal Bengal tigers in India and also some of the world's largest crocodiles, which can get to be over 20 ft. long and big around enough to hold two grown men. Every year villagers are killed by the local wildlife. We went about in a large boat through the uninhabited regions of the wildlife sanctuary. Since the islands are heavily forested and we were confined either to the boat or to very limited, fenced-in walkways on a couple of the islands, we did not see much of the unique wildlife (except baby crocs at a breeding station). No doubt, the water, too, teems with life, including elusive pods of rare freshwater dolphins, but it's too full of silt to see anything at all. For this reason, this area felt wild to me, and mysterious, a place where a thousand eyes peer at us, unsentimentally, but we are blithely unaware.
[-Usha Alexander, Oct 05]
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