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Thursday 4 Mar 2010
Amazon River, Peru

Jungle trip... Day 2

(rapid version.. will update later if necessary)

Early morning swim in the Amazon river at the lodge's front at 5am was a great way to start the day (plus it's the only way you could get a wash out here).

Started to get little bites on my back when I got soapy (the fish seem to really like soap)... which were getting progressively nastier, so I got out fairly quickly. It wouldn't be until the last day when I would finally see just exactly WHAT was biting me! (The guys in the lodge said they were just sardines.. but I don't think sardines have bites quite that sharp)

We left at 6am for bird watching, but alas we didn't see many birds, but DID see more dolphin jumping out of the water and even a sloth in the tree (wasn't close enough for us to pick it up though!)

Back for brekkie and then off for second rainforest trek where we walked from the camp itself. Lots more unusual planet and ancient huge trees. Saw squirrel monkeys from afar plus I got my first taste of FIRE ANTS. While trying to balance myself in the swampy ground (they gave us Wellington boots thankfully) I grabbed onto a tree, until I felt a searing pain like acid running in a line down the palm of my hand and saw it was covered in fireants! It thankfully only lasted about 5 minutes, but the prickly feeling stayed for a good while. I don't think anyone could survive being covered in those things!

Incidentally while on the subject of sore hands, our guide was wearing gardening gloves when trekking through the jungle, whereas we had nowt but bare skin and the sharp pointy trees and plants were all out to stab you! So a top tip: BRING STRONG LIGHT GLOVES LIKE GARDENING GLOVES ON AN AMAZON TREK!

On returning we saw pygmy monkeys in the camp, very close to the bottom of the tree so I got some nice pics. I also say a red palm snake hissing at me then it wandered off. Pffttt.

After a sweaty day in the jungle, it was so nice to have the lodge as a place to wash clothes rather than having to wear them all again (as I experienced in Colombia). Plus clothes tended to dry here easily. The air was very fresh. I always imagined that the Amazon would be stuffy and humid, but that's only in the really dense jungle where the winds can't penetrate.

As soon as I wore the clothes again though, they immediately became sweaty so maybe this is a futile process.

Lunch then fishing in the afternoon up the Cumaceba river. More damn mozzies biting me through my shirt!

We used very basic fishing rods.. just a twig with a line and hook at the end. It worked though. After one frustrating hour, I finally caught something (I gave it such a tug that it launched the poor fish 5m into the tree above before crashing down again!). It turned out my prized catch was actually a parasite catfish .. one that sucks the blood of dolphins and even humans. Nice! The fish is called "Canero". It's certainly not edible, but I was thrilled that my first fish was a freaky predator epitomising the sort of things you can get in the Amazon. By the end of the day I'd caught 3 fish, but two jumped off the line before I could haul them in ... one of them was another Canero ... Falcon, our guide, said that he'd never seen a tourist catch ONE in his 8 years working here... double-cool Cool

Pete Foran. Parasite-hunter!

Beautiful evening on the river on way back with purple/pink sky. More dolphins and a star-lit sky made it complete. Even the mozzie infestation that night couldn't keep me from smiling!

Incidentally .. I was so glad to have my mp3 player with me. Between activities you usually spend several hours just sitting around the camp, waiting for the air to cool down before trekking out again. So a good book would have been a nice idea too... next time!

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South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan

Moiagasm!

Moiagasm!


After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

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Photo Album

  • I knew I felt...

    Amazon River

    Peru

    I knew I felt something biting me!
  • Amazon river...

    Amazon River

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    Amazon river from above
  • Up the Yarapa...

    Amazon River

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    Up the Yarapa river
  • Fresh water...

    Amazon River

    Peru

    Fresh water plant