Day 72 - Into the jungle we go

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Loreto,
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We woke this morning to the sound of the jungle waking up. It is bird paradise here and their morning songs are so lovely. We hopped up at 6 after a great sleep in the darkest room ever and grabbed a cup of coffee before heading out on the boat for some bird spotting. It was wonderful to be on the water at such a fresh time of the day. We saw herons, cormorants, hawks and so many others birds its hard to name them all. We floated into a lagoon and Leo pointed out some flowers and berries that are being exported to Japan to be used to make a sort of vitamin drink. Interesting. We sampled some and agreed they were the most sour thing we'd ever eaten. We saw huge flocks of paired parrots flying over head and then a troop of spider monkeys decided to pass by. It was a huge troop of about fifty monkeys and they gave us an amazing display of their abilities by jumping from tree to tree and grabbing on the thinnest branch possible. We laughed and were amazed. We headed back after this lovely morning performance and just before we arrived at the lodge we looked on the left bank and there were all the rescued monkeys on the shore watching the boat. The lodge rescues and rehabilitates animals and places them back into the jungle. The bank opposite the lodge is an almost halfway house for them. The lodge still feeds some of the monkeys and animals that can't yet fend for themselves. As the animals get stronger and their troops pass through the area they will join with the troops and return to the jungle. So among the animals were three spider monkeys (one just a baby), a howler monkey, two capuchin monkeys, a night monkey and two coati. The wonderful thing is they all live together like a family. The monkeys groom each other although they are different types and live peacefully. It was lovely to see. Leo informed us that the lodge buys some animals off the black market to try and save them. There is still a major problem with animals being taken from the wild and sold on the back market. Really sad. So after a great start to the day we headed back to the lodge and sat down to a delicious omelette breakfast. The food has been super so far and we will leave very well fed, we fear!
After a little rest we pulled on long pants, shirts and gum boots and started our jungle walk. Leo said that a fisherman had caught a baby Anaconda in his net that morning and they had kept it to show us before releasing it. We stomped into the middle of the lodge area where Leo and Plus, the local guide, pulled the snake out of a box with sticks. Terrifying! It was about two and a half metres long and had a few snaps at the sticks before it slithered into the small pool of water in the middle of the lodge area. There it peeped its head out for some fresh air before slinking under the water into a hiding place. Leo said it could smell where the river was and would make its way there in the morning. Nothing like living in the middle of nature!
We then headed into the jungle. It was a great experience stomping through the mud as the jungle got thicker and thicker around us. We stopped to look at amazing trees, caught a few tiny frogs and marveled at the owl moth and others. One of our first sightings was a huge flock of about thirty red-chested parrots. Just exquisite with green and blue wings and red on their head and chests. They were enjoying eating the water hyacinth. Another great sighting on the walk was seeing a saddle-backed Tamarin and a Dusky Titi Monkey in the trees. So sweet. Leo showed us fire ants and termites that when squished become a natural insect repellant. We saw worms eating the inside of a massive tree, you could hear them munching from a way off, and Anton even took a swing on some vines just like Tarzan. Plus, our guide, weaves a lovely ceremonial crown for Tess and we learnt about some medicinal plants and their healing properties. Although the mozzies were quite a menace we had a fantastic time on our first walk.
We got back in time to have a shower and sat down for lunch. Delicious, again.
Then it was time to relax and nap. This is the perfect place to do it. At around 4 we got up and Anton decided to go fishing with Leo and Plus. Tess left the guys to it and enjoyed a quiet cup of tea and a read while overlooking the river. Two surprise guests decided to arrive, a Scarlet and a Blue-and-Yellow Macaw. They sat in the tree just next to the kitchen and happily squawked and groomed each other. What a treat to see these amazing birds in the wild.
Anton managed to catch his first Piranha! He caught two in fact. The fishing is really crazy here. You bait up, throw it in and yank up the rod within seconds generally with a fish on it. No reeling in or hours of waiting. Good fun. We sat down for a delicious meal and reminisced about our day. We then spent the evening looking at pics with Leo, reading and catching up on the blog. It's been an interesting day of learning and relaxing.
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