Our trip into the Pantanal
Trip Start Feb 12, 2007
39Trip End Aug 10, 2007
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After a 23 hour bus journey from São Paulo we arrived in Corumbá - a small town near the Bolivian border.
From here we took a three day tour into the surrounding swamplands.
We were based at a small lodge complex on the Rio Miranda which was entirely raised on wooden stilts to be clear of the wet season floods.
In the evenings especially, but also during the day, the air was swarming with mosquitos. But covered in repellent by day and protected by our mosquito nets at night, we got away with very few bites.
On the first day we went for a horseback ride through the wetlands which had the horses wading through three feet of water.
Johnīs broken shoulder (which was on its way to healing) didnīt give him any problems while the horse was walking, but our guide (who was well aware of the ailment) found it funny at one point to make the horses gallop for a while, causing considerable pain.
The following day we took a jeep tour along the raised park road and into the heart of the wetland.
From the jeep we saw countless caiman alligators, giant river otters, many different species of wading birds and birds of prey and even some toucans.
In the morning, our guide took us on a walk through the swamp itself (serves us right for making the poor horses do it the previous day).
In sandals and rolled up trousers we waded and squelched our way through the water-lillies and rushes to areas of dry land where we saw wild koatis and howler monkeys in the trees.
In the afternoon, we took another walk through a dryer area which was prime for spotting jaguars and anacondas but unfortunately we were not in luck that day and in the mid-day sun, the walk was rather a slog.
On the third day, we took a morning boat trip along the river, which gave us an amazing perspective of the wildlife along the riverbanks.
Back on dry land, one of the guides had managed to catch a baby anaconda (not easily done judging by the teeth-marks on his hands and wrists) and gave the visitors a chance to hold it.
John took the opportunity, but kept it well and truly at armīs length!
That afternoon, we went piranha fishing in the river by the lodge using chunks of meat as bait.
Not having any luck from the bank - despite the meat being viciously and skilfully nibbled from the hooks by the piranha - our guide took us out the the middle of the river on the boat.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts and staying out till sunset, johnīs attempts were unsuccessful.
Back at the lodge, our fish was prepared, fried and served up to us with our usual dinner of rice and beans.