In the northeast of Langkawi you can still find an enormous and intact mangrove forest. You can not see it from the outside because the northern entrance is protected by a shallow sandbank and an embankment which you have to cross with the boat. Once you are inside you find a lake of seawater with an island and towards the west you see the huge impressive mangrove forest with lots of big and small waterways. If you don't know your way around you will find yourself lost for certain.
If you look closer at the mangroves you can see different kinds of roots and leaves which point to many mangrove species in at least four genera. On a close sandbank with a mudflat you can recognize first of all the genus Avicennia with their special aerial roots called pneumatophores (see picture 1). One of those trees can have up to 10.00 of those small roots. Further we can find at least two different species of Rhizophora with their typical looping aerial or stilt roots (see picture 2). On the next day we drive into the forest with our dinghi and can see the shallow horizontal roots of the genus Bruguiera.
We follow the watercourse and with the help of our GPS we find the famous “hole in the wall” (see picture 5). This is a small river or narrow channel trough a cleft in the rock face which connects the two big mangrove forests in the north and east of the island. We are watched by crab-eating or longtail macaque (Macaca fascicularis – see picture 4) who probably wait for food from the tourists who come to see the “hole in the wall”.
Langkawi is also a paradise to watch birds. In the mangroves we can see for example a few great hornbills flying by – Buceris bicornis – and watch big bird of prey hunting like the white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) or the Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) – a medium sized bird of prey of the family of hawklike birds. Also some colorful kingfisher cross our path.
Back at the boat we paddle with our sea kayak to the sandbank again where we finally find lots of mudskippers (Periopthalmus sp. – Gobiidae) – Keanus new favorite animals. Most of their time they spend out of water and can attach themselves to the roots of the mangrove trees with their typical round Gobiid fin (see picture 6). On the mudflat itself you can see the fiddler crabs from far away moving their one big claw (see picture 8). They belong to the genus Uca and are typical for mangrove forests. One of the two claws of the male is greatly enlarged, colored and used to attract female fiddler crabs while moving it up and down like playing a fiddle – that's where the name comes from.
You can probably find a lot of other animals and interesting things in this area, but we have to keep on sailing because we finally want to go round Langkawi.