When the Kath is away...
Central and South America - 2005
About Me (2)
Costa Rica (2)
Kath's Confessional (4)
The Weird and the Wonderful (1)
Viva Mexico! (8)
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 5
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 4
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 3
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 2
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 1
* Looking for adventure in Iquitos
* Can someone give me a kick in the arse?
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 7
* The Mighty jungle - Day 6
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 5
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 4
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 3
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 2
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 1
* Preparing for the Jungle
* From the Mountains to the Jungle
* I´m Hiiiikin´ in the Rain... Quilotoa Crater to Chugchilan
* Horsing Around Chugchilan
* Through the Clouds to Chugchilan
* Half the fun is getting there - Saquisili
August 16, 2005
Gators and Skeeters - Day 3
1 July 05
We woke up to a delicious alligator and platano breakfast, packed up camp and started the 4-hour trip upriver to our next one. The morning was eventful as we spotted lots of dolphins, turtles, gators, an otter, a manatee, various birds and big and small monkeys . The scenery also changed, becoming more "jungle-like" than the previous day, with dense tropical trees and other vegetation lining the banks of the river, stretching as far as the eye could see.
Lucho, over the sound of the motor, heard some monkeys in the jungle and asked if we wanted to have a look. Of course :-) After climbing out of the boat and scrambling up the muddy bank, we stopped to listen for a few seconds. As usual I didn`t hear a thing... Also as usual Lucho did, and led us straight to the base of a very tall tree where, after some eye-straining, we too spotted a little family of black spider monkeys relaxing on the branches, making no noise at all. If I hadn`t known for a fact that Lucho and Juan weren`t guides and had never set foot in the area before, I would definitely have suspected them of having a "pet-monkey-family" on hand to show tourists...
In the mid-afternoon, after lunch and a snooze, we set off to fish in a nearby lagoon, dreaming about posing with the 2m long Paiche on our hooks. However, neither of us knew much about fishing, and with the sun still baking it was obviously the wrong time of day... Lots of fish were jumping on the surface, including Paiche, but nothing bit. Giving up, we went to register at the control station, discovering that we were the only visitors since January, save a Dutch couple currently visiting and a Spanish volunteer. With nothing better to do, one of the bored rangers came with us to the lagoon and immediately asked where our bait was. Doh! The Spanish volunteer, out spearfishing in a dugout canoe, gave us three tiny fish which we cut up and put on our hooks. As soon as I threw, something bit, and it wasn`t small! After a couple of minutes "struggle" I reeled in a 40cm Paco, enough to feed the five of us :-) That was the last of our luck - from that point on, piraņas ate bait after bait, one even chewing off Jevon`s line...
We returned to the ranger station at dusk to have our Paco smoked, and were invited to dinner. What a treat! We were each given a big piece of picaro (jungle rodent, the same as I ate in Coca, Ecuador), smoked and boiled with a sliver of fat sandwiched between the meat and skin, accompanied by boiled platano, rice and the hottest salsa I`ve ever tasted. Ouch! While we feasted, huge mosquitoes feasted on us, so as soon as we could we hurried back to the relief of our tents...
After another nap, Lucho and Juan woke us up for a night-time alligator-spotting session. With Juan paddling in the back and Lucho ready in the front of the canoe, we glided silently through the lagoon with our torches scanning the banks. When spotting a gator, Lucho would signal to Juan with the flashlight, and we would slide ever so slowly towards the beast, Lucho trying to determine size, spear ready to attack if it turned out to be big enough to bother with. Most were what they called small, i.e. less than 3m, and we were looking for far bigger ones - more like the log that scared me ;-) The only action came towards the end... We were close to a large gator when it dipped under water and made a lunge for Lucho, as if knowing what he was considering doing to it... Unusual behaviour, apparently, and not one I`d like to see repeated... Often appearing slow, the gators are extremely strong and quick when they need to be!
It was a long night, and if it hadn`t been for the hard wooden planks we were sitting on and the mozzies biting through my repellent-coated pants, I would have fallen asleep in the canoe. Because we didn`t spot any huge gators, we returned "early", at 1:30am.
Posted by kvabo on August 16, 2005 06:14 PM
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