Snorkelling in crystal clear rivers

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Oct 15, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Mato Grosso do Sul,
Thursday, June 10, 2010

The sun has been shining non stop since we arrived in Bonito, we have had a great time. There were fifteen people on the Tucano tour so plenty of new faces for us to meet. We spent the rest of the afternoon after initially arriving putting up our tent (yes, we are camping again!) and lounging on the beds by the pool and the hammocks in the shade. Bonito is THE place to snorkel in crystal clear rivers, abseil down caves and generally have a good time. Unfortunately, it is all very pricey but we had been recommended to suck it up as it is worth it. We decided to test the water (literally) on our first full day. The tours offered through the hostel are for a 2km floating snorkel down the river, so we hired bikes for the day and headed out to a small park 7km from the hostel where we could cheaply have a go to see if it was worth spending the 50 to do the proper trip. It was all down hill getting there which seemed like a great idea at the time and we rattled our way through the gate on our bone breaking suspension within 30 minutes. There is a large grassy area complete with volleyball and football, but luckily, we had the place to ourselves apart from three friendly Brazilian men who kept laughing at our cringes as we attempted to join in with their swimming.

The river itself looked crystal clear from the surface, fairly deep- up to 5 meters I heard the mad (loco) Brazilian man say, who was having a blast duck diving around us. It was teeming with fish, all one species- from teeny tiny to whopping half a meter long. The only catch to this idyllic scene, with the sun shining and a river full of fish for us to test our snorkels out in, was the rather Arctic water temperature; it really took our breath away!

We thought we'd sit on the edge for a while, and that if we stuck our feet in for long enough, we’d become accustomed to the temperature. Well the only thing that we did get used to was the free pedicure the baby fish were giving our feet and legs! One pays a lot of money to have all the dead skin eaten off your skin in our country! It tickled and only started to hurt when they mistook the hairs on our legs for food and started ripping them out- I now have small bald patches around my ankles!

Almost an hour later, we decided it was now or never, so we made sure we leaped clear of the shallower water so that the little fish didn’t start eating in places they shouldn’t be, but that became the least of our worries. I don’t think I have ever jumped into water so cold, yes I know England is freezing, but this really took the breath out of you! We fought the urge to climb out and run into the sun and donned our snorkels ready to swim up river. Under the water was not quite crystal clear, but enough to see the giant fish hiding in the dark inner bend of the river! It was a little spooky, the fish sort of merge around you and they took a liking to any fingers and toes that were sticking out. We headed up river- we only made it about 10 meters as the current was so strong! The loco Brazilian men had started to feed the fish which sent them into a harmless frenzy which resulted in them coming after our extremities! We were absolutely freezing, so after a rather eventful 20 minutes headed back to the hot sunshine. We decided that 2km of this would not be such a great idea thus saved ourselves 50 each and a bout of cold no doubt!

We dried out pretty quickly and headed for the nearest restaurant where we were greeted by two huge macaws (the traditional image of a parrot). I had only seen them behind wire in zoos, so when they flew at Jamie’s head and away, we were very impressed with their size and majesty. Beautiful colours- one was bright red and the other a fantastic blue and yellow.

We had a quick lunch of burger! Healthy, we know but we were cycling 7km back up hill to get to our hostel. As you can imagine, the return ride took a good couple of hours, and consisted of a lot of embarrassing stops on park benches through town!

Jamie bought us some sausages to go in our Paraguayan bought pasta and sauce and we eventually made it home!

Once the sun had gone down, and we finished chatting to our new friends, we went off to our tent and had a relatively comfortable night.
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