Lazy days at the Lake

Trip Start Jul 23, 2002
Trip End Jul 23, 2003

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Saturday, March 29, 2003

Towards the end of phase once most of the work was done the group split into two groups and went to visit an ox-box lake at the lodge where the boys go to play soccer every Sunday. I was in the first group to go and once at the main lodge we met up with Roger who showed us to the campsite. The trails hadn?Lt been used for a while and we had a bit of a surprise in store for us. All the rain had made quite a few swamps along the way, so not only did the water go over our wellies, but it went over waists in a few places too. It was an indication that we just weren?Lt going to stay dry while we were here, and we didn?Lt. Along the walk to the lake Roger caught a rat eating snake that was on the path, and got bitten in the process though it wasn?Lt too bad a bite (not venomous). This meant we got to see him up close, and Ewan got a birthday present of having the opportunity to hold the snake. We also saw Scarlet Macaws sitting in the trees (our first good view of them as we hadn?Lt been to the collpa at that stage), and had the fun of several stream crossings across fallen trees that formed bridges from one side to the other. Luckily no-one managed to fall in, unlike someone from an earlier phase.

At the camp site the first priority was a clean up of the site which hadn?Lt been used for about three months, and a couple of people headed across to the other side of the lake to collect some fresh spring water (yeah, not muddy and not chlorine treated). Then it was time for lunch and I don?Lt think cheese and tomato sandwiches have tasted that good for a long time. It happened to be Ewan?Ls (one of the staff) birthday and I had made a cake the day before and we managed to carry it out without him realising it, so happily we got plenty of cake to eat that day.

Once set up, we went to check out the lake and it really is an incredibly beautiful place. It?Ls really quiet as you?Lre quite a way back from the river, the lake is surrounded right to the waters edge by forest and there is a swamp at one end. We got out onto the lake and paddled around for about four hours doing a complete curcuit of the lake and just having a look around. The bird life was plentiful and we saw loads of Macaws, Parrots, Hoatzins, Kingfishers, Anhingas, swallows, and more. We didn?Lt get to see the anaconda that lives there, or any of the Black Caiman despite us looking for them. We had two boats out and just cruised around the lake enjoying just being there and the break from Bahuaja and work.

Down at the swamp end there were lily pads on the water and when you put your hands in the water it was really warm. We even had a fish just jump into the boat. There was a group of Hoatzins in the trees along the swamp and they are some of the most ungainly looking birds when they move around, and don?Lt have the elegant flight of other birds - they seem to fall around more. As the sun was beginning to go down, the Macaws started flying back for the evening. It was an amazing site with groups of 20 or so Macaws flying in and landing in the trees around you. At some times you had macaws and toucans all sitting in the same tree calling and the colours and sounds were amazing. There?Ld be trees with a dozen macaws sitting in them and you could just see the bright flashes of colour dotted throughout the canopy. It is definitely one of the best sights of macaws we had seen up until them.

As the sun began to fall we paddled back to the centre of the lake and watched the sky constantly changing colour. Even time you looked it had changed just a bit more and you were constantly looking around you and saying Wow to all the lighting changes over the forest. It was definitely a spectactular sunset. Back on dry land it was time to eat and then sit around and drink, chat and just relax - just what we wanted.

The second day me and Simon got up at dawn and took the boats out onto the lake to watch the sunrise. Again another beautiful sight, set off by the sight and sound of groups of birds taking to the sky to head out for the day. After a two and a bit hour paddle around the lake taking in the view we headed back to dry land for a while. I had a bit of difficulty with the large boat at times, when I?Ld head into a spin and end up looking back to where I?Ld just come from, but I ended up getting to where I wanted.

Back on dry land it was time for a bit of a rest before heading out into the jungle for a walk along the edge of the lake. Despite being only about 5m from the edge of the lake for most of the walk you couldn?Lt see a lot of the lake because the forest went right to the waters edge. I ended up getting to the dock and sat there for a while watching the others paddling around on the lake.

In the afternoon a few of us headed across the lake to terra firme and had a wander through the forest. Naturally as soon as we began walking tghe rain started, but it soon disappeared and the animals came out again. Before heading back we came across a group of saddle-back tamarins which we watched for a while. It was about then that I discovered that my camera had stopped working (and never worked again for the rest of the trip) and had become yet another one of the numerous cameras to have had trouble during the phase.

Back at camp, Vicky who?Ld been out walking on a different path came back saying she?Ld seen some Red Howler monkeys as well as a boa. We were all hoping to see the howlers as they were the monkey species that nearly everyone had yet to see - so we were disappointed when she said they?Ld disappeared and we?Ld missed them.

We took the boat out onto the lake again to watch yet another spectacular sunset. There was five of us on the boat and we were constantly pointing out different Wow moments to each other and didn?Lt really know which way to look as each direction was beautiful and then there were all the birds flying in for the night to look at aswell. The sky was amazing and the light over the lake was maing the jungle look so clear against the clouds. As the sun was going down we noticed patches in the sky that looked like oil spills as they were holes rimmed with unusual colours like green. Not anything like we had seen before.

After dinner we took the boats out yet again and went looking for caiman. We didn?Lt manage to see any and we didn?Lt spot the anaconda either.
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