The Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world!

Trip Start Mar 07, 2007
Trip End Oct 04, 2007

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Sunday, June 10, 2007

This place is amazing!

We had a great group, with some Aussies again, we really don~t meet that many in our travels, so they are almost a novelty!

The set-up is that you go out to a farm, there are heaps of them in the area, and stay in basic kind of accomodation - cold water, hammocks. And then do a few activities - canoeing, horse-riding, piranha fishing, and of course, wildlife spotting and walking. The farms have loads of cows for beef I suppose, so it~s a multi-use kind of land, and really interesting to see the impacts and interaction of native wildlife and domesticated animals.

The weather was great, warm but not too hot, a good time of year to go, no rain, and fewer mosquitoes (still heaps! Simon got nailed, apparently when they are ´bad´ people ask to go home on the first day!)

The wetlands seem to go on forever, they are divine and unending, so many birds I could not belive, more than Manu National Park even. Jabiru storks, Parrots, Ibis´and so many more. It was a birdwatcher´s heaven, I have slowly become a birder, I love it, it~s so easy here because everything is new and interesting.

We saw the coolest animals, a tamandua (different to the one we saw in Manu) which was so cute, stood up on two back legs. It~s markings are like a little waistcoat - awww. An Armadillo, also gorgeous, scuttling around in the undergrowth looking cute. There were a million Caimans (crocs) and the birds were everywhere. The animals are so unique, and so common, I just cannot believe they survive so well with farming going on as well there, especially seeing as how degraded some areas are. The national park would be really interesting to go and see to see how many more animals there are.

The canoeing was amazing and serene, we pulled right up next to Caiman who were snorting their disapproval! Got eaten by mosqitoes on the way home, again!

One of the highlights had to be the Piranha fishing, how many people can say they did that?!! The things are so bloodthirsty  they are a cinch to catch and we quickly netted a bag for dinner (actually I was crap at it, and only caught one with the guides help - but only ate one as well, so was not wasteful at least!) they were bony, but tasty. And better to eat them than them to eat us. To fish you do stand in waist deep water which sounds crazy. And caiman actually come up to you to steal your catch, it~s quite an adrenaline rush, the pics will amaze you, they are really good.

We also got a horseride, which is always pleasurable, although these were mules really, and pretty relaxed, Brazil style you know. They got us to the pub though, and we nailed a cold carton in a few mintues. On the balmy way home saw an armadillo, life is good sometimes.

There are still things to see though - an Anaconda, and the ever elusive big cats, when will we see them I wonder? It~s good to leave some things still to see of course.

It really is a shame that it ended so badly with the company, but hey that~s life and we~ve had a good laugh about it now we are far, far away!

For more pics see Clive´s website - he has a waaaay better camera than us!
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