Parque Madidi and the Pampas tour.
Trip Start Oct 01, 2007
99Trip End May 07, 2008
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We got to the river an chucked all the bags, food, gas bottle etc etc onto our 25 foot by 3 foot boat and off we went. It was seriously humid and the sun was baking but we were loving it and were all greased up with factor 30 and repellent. Don´t put a repellent with deet of 80% on your face. You´ll taste it in eveything for hours after and it burns..... a lot.
Straight away we we under siege from all sides with views off alligators, caymans, millions of different birds and lots of turtles. Most of the Alligators and Caymans hit the water when they see you so our guide was trying to be slow and quiet as much as possible. Next minute he headed stright for a tree that was overhanginf the river and started making kissing sounds and whistling. We thought he´d lost it trying to call the alligators or something until we were surrounded by about 10 small yellow monkeys. It was class. They were two feet away and really friendly and curious. Things couldn´t get much better until later up river after many many more sightings we were treated to four pink river dolphins riding alongside the small boat
We arrived at camp (wooden sheds with 9 beds jammed into ours) and sttled in before dinner and our after dark trip up the river to see the cayman out hunting at night with torches. Dinner was grand apart from the mossies. Lou was really worried she´d get chewed like she normally does in hot places but we cleaned off the beds and headed out for the night trip. Everyone had a torch and we were all cayman spotting until about 10 small fish decided to jump into the boat beside us and smack Lou and Steph in the had in the process. It was so funny. They were following the light on the surface and if you had a head lamp you got it in the nut. Suicide fish. The screams and laughing were brilliant. After that the guide turned off the engine and using his paddle we headed back down river with the current while Pierre translated the information for us all. That night we hit the pub (wooded building with a freezer) just a short walk up river from us and we were treated to 3 different lightening displays all around us. Too far off to get any rain but close enough for a spectacular light show and some noise.
Next day and after a hard night for the two of us with some cramps we were off to find the anaconda snake a few mile up river and a draining 3 hours trek in the heat through the pampas
The Pampas were a mixture of some shoulder height vegetation and mostly wet grassy areas. The wellies were seriously needed as it got deep in a lot of places and we were trying to keep and eye for smakes among the smelly waters. I think everybody was feeling the heat and apart from the stagnant water smell we all weren´t far off ourselves. After walking for about 2 hours already Pierre noticed something moving below and started shouting snake... He thought it was only a small one until our guide chased it and pulled a 1 and a half metre cobra out of the water and started swinging it over his head like a lassoo. The girls screamed, the lads laughed and all the other groups came rushing over. It was trying to bite guide big time but he managed to calm it down and asked Conor to come over and hold it
After lunch and a good snore session by Louise we headed off to swim with the dolphins and do some Pirhana fishing for dinner. When we found the dolphins we chased them for a abit before Jonah, Itay, Conor and Steph jumped in. The rest didn´t fancy the swim as they were worried about where all the shit went from the toilets behind the camps dotted along the river. Conor didn´t mind meeting up with old friends though. At one stage Itay and Jonah were still in the water when we all noticed an Alligator to the right of the boat. They´re everywhere in the water along the river along with the Pirhana but seem to leave you alone if you´re not bothering them unlike their big brother the Cayman and the Croc
After fishing we got back and ate dinner including the slim picking of fish and after a cold beer we headed off to bed. There was much of the same the next day until lunchtime when we set off back to Rurrenabaque for the night before our flight the next morn. Same funny looking driver but a little more room in the 4x4 jeep this time cause the guide and cook stayed behind for another tour. Rurrenabaque was cool. A real amzon jungle looking town with cobbled roads and some nice cocktails in the Moskito bar. Still terribly hot and humid though. Next morning we got our flight back to La Paz with Amazonas this time instead of TAM. They were so much better. Nice little shuttle bus to the air strip (grass track) and the plane was cosy with only 19 passengers. We were right behind the pilot and could see out the front window coming in to land. It was great apart from the poxy rain outside that was to greet us. Back to smelly La Paz to organise our bus south and get some laundry done.