The soil of the islands was entirely composed of shell-sand-broken-up cockle-shells. The only vegetation was a species of samphire, growing like heather, but this only flourished on the parts where there were no nests. In the neighbourhood of the nests this was utterly destroyed and trodden down. In it were countless hosts of mosquitoes and poisonous-looking horse-flies, and I fully expected to be fearfully tormented by them. However, much to my relief, I was not stung once during my five hours' stay on the islet. The same flies were met with later in the Dobrudscha, when I was not so lucky. They can fetch blood every time!
Our Camp In The Forest
Photographs by Baron Bomemisza
This expedition of ours, being quite unauthorized, caused great excitement in the minds of the Turkish authorities. I heard afterwards that the telegraph wires between Scutari and Constantinople were kept busy with official reports and inquiries about the mysterious Englishman who was travelling about the country without leave or licence. As they could not get hold of me they put into prison the poor Albanian, whose only offence was that he had given us food and shelter for a night. He was accused of 1 conspiring with foreigners,' and B-, on hearing of it, had considerable difficulty in effecting his release. All the time, as it happened, I was provided with official permission from Constantinople, but I had not known that I was within the jurisdiction of the Governor-General of Scutari, to whom I had been recommended. He had actually received from Constantinople telegraphic orders to assist me in all my undertakings.
It will not be an easy matter in future for anybody to penetrate as far as we did, for the natives will, not unnaturally, oppose any visit, for fear of getting into trouble again. This is no doubt exactly the effect desired by the Turks, and after all it will serve a good purpose in protecting the Pelicans from any molestation, for they appear to be receding farther and farther from civilization, and I hope that this particular colony may remain in undisturbed possession of their remote islands for very many years.