Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
12Trip End Mar 09, 2007
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Rich and I were picked up from the hotel by a taxi and taken to the ferry where we joined a group of people going for the same trip. There were two Germans, two Argentinians and one French Canadian. Once we crossed the Amazon, which took about 40 minutes we were picked up by a car and driven for over 90km deeper into the jungle, where we took a motor boat to the main camp site.
Our camp site was positioned on the edge of the river bank and consisted of a number of wooden shacks two of which were afloat. The water levels differ between dry and rain season and there could be as much as 14 meter difference in the water levels hence floating houses.
At the camp site we met our guide for the reminder of the trip. He calls himself Asama and is one of the local Indians who knows the jungle well.
Shortly after arrival we were offered to go for a swim in Piranha infested waters of the Amazon, so we did. I must admit at first I hesitated and was worried about swimming with the blood thirsty underwater friends, but could not resist the cool water.
Rich was one of the first people to jump in the water, and I guess being out on the road for nearly a year did not go down to well with Piranhas apetite and he was left to enjoy the swim. Shortly after I decided to join in.
After the swim we were "Piranha fishing" in exactly the same spot. I managed to pull out three Piranhas with a final score of England 0 Poland 3. I guess Poles are better at fishing than the english.
After pulling out the Piranhas I got a closer look at the piranhas and realized what we were swimming with. Nobody from our group went for the swim in this water for the reminder of our trip.
Once we had our dinner we took a motor boat deep into the jungle and got busy with setting up a temporary camp for the night. When everything was ready we went by boat to watch a sunset over the amazon. The contrast of red sky, dark jungle and water which acted as a mirror proved to be amazing, but it did not last for too long as the amazon shortly got covered by the darkness of the night. At this point Asama announced it was a time for a crocodile hunt.
We went in groups of three in a canoe with the rest of the group remaining on the motor boat, searching with flashlights for the red eyes of the beast hiding under cover of darkness in murky amazonian water and bushes along the river banks.
It was Richard´s and my turn to go in a canoe with Asama and once we got ourselves into the canoe we realized that the edge of the Indian canoe was half an inch away from being flooded by the water. This coupled with the fact that we are crocodile hunting did not help raising my confidence levels and in fact has made both of us feel even more uneasy about the thing. After a while of floating in a complete darkness, occasionally interrupted by the searching flashlights, Asama spotted two red dots. We quickly closed in and Asama slowly got of the canoe into the water and went after the beast making carefull steps under cover of darknes towards the crocodile. Rich and I stayed on the canoe worried about the water flooding in. I panicked every time something jumped on me or fallen from numerous trees and bushes around.
Finally I could see Asama making a swift move and pulling the crocodile out of the water. He strongly held the crocodile with his right hand by the neck and left by the tail, making sure that the beast does not bite or get away from him.
Asama brought the crocodile to the canoe and I puddled us back to the motor boat where we could closely examine the crocodile, which turned up to be a lady crocodile. On the motor boat I got a chance to hold her and take some pictures. The crocodile has taken to the pictures like a true lady, she was camera shy but probably enjoyed the attention. After the photo shoot the beast was allowed back into the water to enjoy the rest of the night. Afterwords we got back to the temporary campsite and Asama has kindly prepared some more fish for us to eat. As I wasn´t to keen on sleeping in the hammock I spent long time chatting with the Germans and Argentinians about everything and by about midnight we all went to sleep. When I got to my hammock I adopted my favorite hammock position ' Buddha ´ and listened to the concert courtesy of the jungle, including all sorts of insects, monkeys and whatever else was moving around me, truly awesome!
We all got up early in the morning and went back to the main camp site to get a breakfast followed by another jungle hunt for monkeys. In the jungle we were trucking for hours getting completely wet as you do in the rain forest and stopping every now and than to look at the top of the trees trying to look for the monkeys. After a while of trucking I started to entertain myself by throwing things into the bushes and watching the rest of the group grounding to a hold trying to spot a monkey and not realizing it was a "Jerzy monkey" making all the noise. Try it sometimes it is a great fun bdy ¨Sorry guys if you a reading this¨.
At one point of the trip we got attacked by wasps and everyone started running really fast in order to escape from them. Somehow I don´t think this was a wise thing to do, due to other wild life waiting for us as well.
Towards the end of the trip we got to see some monkeys followed by the termites and bird eating spider which is capable of jumping 1 meter up in the air. Apparently if this type of spider bites, you will loose eye sight for around 1 hour and have a massive headache for 24 hours. Check out the picture and the size of this monster.
After the trip we got back to the main campsite and got some late dinner. The night was great, the sky was clear and in the far distance we could see lights of Manaus. At this point I realized that this was my last night in the jungle and as Rich put it "the end of Polish and English partnership", for now anyway.
On the last day we went to visit a rubber tree plantation and could see how rubber is produced. Overall the rest of the day we spent relaxing. Rich even got a chance to jump of the cliff into the water for the fun of it. Check out the picture...
Sadly at the end of the third day it was a time to say goodbye to Rich and the others. I got picked up by a motor boat with a drunk driver who amused himself by speeding at 50km per hour in between trees growing in the water and went back to Manaus to the same hotel where we stayed before and went to bed.
Around 40 minutes later I got a surprise, Maciek turned up at the door saying that it is a carnival in Manaus and we should go to see it. I did not expect to see Maciek in Manaus but felt great that he was there and we could both go out and enjoy the festivities. It was also good to see the contrast of being amongst monkeys one day and enjoying the carnival the next and on reflection I think I felt more at home in the jungle;)
The carnival was great and have never seen anything like this before. Brazilians certainly know how to enjoy themselves and how to make a great show. Check out some of the photos...
We stayed up for most of the night enjoying the celebrations. This was a last night for me in Brazil, as the following day I was flying to Boa Vista from where I would continue my journey by car to Santa Elena on a border between Brazil and Venezuela. As Maciek had alreadt bought his bus ticket we had to travel seperatly and arranged to meet in either boa vista at the bus stop or Santa Ellena in Venezuela.