Jungle Expedition: Day 1
Trip Start Nov 29, 2009
78Trip End Jun 27, 2010
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Where I stayed
Camping in the Amazon
Having booked our tour in Iquitos it was off into the unknown. Quite a dull 2hour car journey was the start of our trip and it took us to the port town of Nauta. From there we started the real journey.
Met our guide Edwin who was incredibly short but also incredibly enthusiastic. Had a local breakfast of rice and chicken served in a banana leaf which was actually tasty. Much better than anything Bolivia wrapped in a leaf. Clambered between boats to board ours and waiting for the guys to fill it up with petrol. Should point out as well that this trip was just the 2 of us plus our guides! Motored off to our jungle lodge and the first stop. Within minutes we had spotted river dolphins in the distance leaping from the muddy water and as we continued it began to feel more remote and jungle like.
Stopped at our lodge briefly so that we could dump everything we would not need for our night camping. Had a lunch of catfish as well which wwould turn out not to be the oddest food we tried by quite some way. Repacked we were ready to head deeper into the jungle.
We got a second smaller canoe and also a new driver, Manuel, for the trip. He didn`t say much but was constantly smiling throughout the time. Headed up the river and then took a much smaller tributary to continue. In the first 30mins of this part of the trip we had already seen many types of bird and several iguanas sunning themselves on the river banks. The wildife then got a lot more exciting.
Whilst motoring down the tributary Edwin suddenly called for the motor to be cut. We had no idea why he wanted this as we could see nothing. He pointed into the jungle on our right and there were 2 types of monkeys swinging and running through the trees. Took a few moments to pick them out but once you ahd you could spot loads of them! Very cool to see them in the wild like this from meteres away on the river. A little further down the river and again the motor was cut. This time for a sloth climbing away on a remote tree. No idea how you can see this from just scanning the jungle! It was moving at a reasonable pace and not as slowly as I have always been led to believe it would be. 3rd and final big spot on this part of the river was the family of squirrel monkeys in the trees to our left this time. The were running and leaping between trees! So cool just to watch them, especially the mothers leaping with their babies attached to them. managed to get a couple of great pics and videos as well!
Our journey kept taking us deeper into the jungle until we came across a lagoon. Just before entering it a dogfish jumped into our canoe followed by a pirhana, very strange behaviour. The campsite was on the side of the lagoon. When we pulled up Edwin got out to check there weren`t any snakes or other animals nesting near/in the site. Manuel set up camp whilst we went for a walk into the jungle. Edwin explained about the different plants and fruits and we got to try a varity of different shapes and sizes. It was surreal to be in the actual Amazon just wandering around cutting a machete path to search for more wildlife. Edwin foudn it was well in the form of a troup of koatis that were up a tree. They came running down as we walked up to them and scuttled off at a great pace. With it getting dark we headed back to camp for dinner!
Dinner eaten we then returned to the boat to go back out onto the lagoon hunting for caiman. It took a while to spot it`s red eyes reflecting our torchlight but we spotted one. Manuel manouvered the boat in with a paddle as Edwin leaned out of the front to grab it. He did so and soon we were both holding a caiman on the canoe. A little caiman by their standrads but still awsome to have found one. Everything wildlife wise had gone perfectly on day one!