The Pantanal

Trip Start Sep 27, 2005
Trip End Mar 07, 2006

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

We travelled up from Foz de Igauzu to the Panatanal to stay on an ranch in the middle of the wetlands. Once in the national park we immediately saw some caymans, toucans, cranes and kingfishers. We were told that we were in hammocks one night, camping another and the last night would be in an hostel but it was too wet and so we would have 2 nights in hammocks and all 18 of us would sleep in the same shed full of hammocks that had a dodgy mosquito screen, you have never smelt so much deet in your life! The first night we were taken on a night walk to see what was out there. We saw an agouti, some capybara and the guide wrestled a couple of caymans before bringing one back to show us so that we could feel how soft the skin of the side of it was compared to the rest of the animal!

The next day it was horse riding in the morning and a forest walk in the afternoon. It was the first time Iīd been on an horse in years and mine decided that it was fed up with being covered in biting insects and tried to rub itself against every available object including trees, bushes, other horses and other riders legs as well as sneezing all down Emmaīs legs. The horses are well trained and follow each other so when we started cantering mine managed to overtake the others before realisin there was no other horse infront and it didnīt know what to do and started looking around or help from the others. From this you can tell how much control I had over it!

The afternoon walk was mainly ejoyable for seeing the howler monkeys. We had been woken before dawn to see the sunrise and the howlers had been roaring away as we watched the sun but now we got to see them in their environment. We also some some paccaris,a type of pig, and lots of mosquitos that took a liking to my back and bit me through a thick cotton shirt. The mosquitos are rather big up here!

The next day it was a walk and canoe before piranha fishing. Along the walk we saw peccaris and howler monkeys again as well as a red haired deer as well as lots of butterflies, crickets and frogs. This time the Becky was on the receiving en of atleast 247 mosquito bites in about 3 hours! The canoe ride was amazing as we saw some giant otters. These are much, much bigger than normal ones and the ones we saw lifted their heads a good 12 inches out of the water and their front legs were still under water.

After lunch it was a truck ride off to the hostel for the night but when we crossed the Rio Paraguay they stopped the trucks and we took out some cane rods with a fishing line and big hook tied to one end. We were given lumps of raw meat and just attached those to the hook and dropped them in the river. You could feel the fish coming in and biting the bait and after 20 minutes I hooked reallife piranha and the first fish I have ever caught!

The trip to the Pantanal was excellent and a full list of animals seen will be included once I remember to bring my notebook with me when I updating my diary. Itīs a very long list!
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