Into the Amazon

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, September 7, 2012

We just spent 5 days in Yasuni National Park in the heart of the Amazon at the Napo Wildlife Center (NWC).  We will describe our first few days in the Amazon in this posting and finish it off in another posting.

We were greeted in the airport by our naturalist guide Juan Carlos immediately upon our arrival in Coca, taking a bus to our launch point on the Napo river - one of the direct tributaries of the Amazon river. As we waited for our motor boat, Jim took the opportunity to capture some pictures that let us know we were in a unique part of the world.

That two-hour boat trip was filled with anticipation as we sat in awe of the river and its currents, the jungle along the shore and the barges carrying oil company trucks and machinery. We arrived at the 'creek' that heads into the NWC where we transferred to two large canoes and headed deep into the jungle.  There are no motor boats allowed in Yasuni so the remainder of our transportation for the the trip would be human-powered.

Our community guide Hugo paddled with great skill always keeping his eyes and ears aware of any opportunities for us to see wildlife. Juan Carlos seemed like he had antennae connected to the jungle!  And in the rear of the canoe was the hardworking Cheyan whose paddle strokes were strong and constant. These men guided and transported us throughout the journey, making this another totally amazing (amazoning) experience!

The 2-hour paddle along the creek opened to a small lake with the NWC glowing in the sun on the opposite side. The local Anungu community run the lodge which supports employment, conservation and community development. Our lakeside hut was a magical room with a king-sized bed draped with a mosquito net. Prior to dinner in the dining lodge with our group of 7, we headed up the observation tower to see the sunset and participated in an orientation session.

Each day we arose early (between 5:00 and 6:00am), ate breakfast and jumped into our canoe off on some kind of excursion.  We tromped/creeped/waited/photographed through the jungle, visited the local indigenous community learning about their culture, and went on a night canoe and hike. Thankfully, although much to the chagrin of some of our other group-mates, we saw no snakes.

Our hosts fed us well and cared for our needs while creating an atmosphere of adventure, appreciation of the sensitivity of the wildlife and nature around us and a safe experience in a place that can potentially be quite dangerous (eg. 10 meter long caiman in the lake, deadly fer de lance snakes, etc.).  This is a magical place.
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Bonnie on

Wow guys - love the photos and I feel (more like wish) I am right there with you when I look at them - these are amazing.Absolutely stunning!! - enjoy :)

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