Cuyabeno Part 2

To see the wildlife in the Amazon jungle, you need good, sharp eyes, and better yet, a naturalist as a guide to point them out to you. Even then, they can be difficult to see. We would be rushing down a river when William (our guide) would make a hand signal to our piloto (boat driver), we all lunged forward as he slowed and made a u-turn, William standing in front with binoculars and pointing where to go. Then we’d all stare where he had pointed and try to find what he had seen while speeding by.

Each day we went out in the boat, and we saw caimen, a python, fresh water dolphins, a three-toed sloth, amazing birds, parrots, parakeets, and several types of monkeys. Once, we were  cruising down the river, everyone taking in the beautiful scenery when Salome suddenly screamed. I was right beside her, and for a split second considered jumping out. I never saw the cause of the scream, but William did. A large, pink fish had jumped out of the water and almost hit her. He told us the name of the fish… but ugh, I’ve forgotten.

On our second day in the Amazon, we spent three hours in the morning hiking through the jungle. We saw a very large tarantula, heard amazing birds and saw some of them with the help of William’s telescope. There were tiny, brightly colored frogs from which the indigenous people make poison for blowgun darts. We hiked up and down, through muddy river bottoms, over slippery rocks — it was great.

After lunch and a siesta, we went back out at 5:00pm to do a night hike so we could get a gander at the nocturnal creatures. As we were boating towards the hiking spot, we noticed massive, dark clouds moving towards us (pictured above).

“Hold on, I need to check the weather. If it rains, we can’t do the hike,” said William. We all looked at each other and wondered, does he have cell reception out here? As we sat there, it started to rain.

I am ashamed to admit I was a little relieved. I was already tired from the earlier hike, and the idea of doing another after dark, with who-knows-what creatures, wasn’t super appealing. We all donned our ponchos and watched William watch the sky as the rain increased.

“We still all want to do the hike, right?” he asked? I chuckled, thinking he was being sarcastic. No one said a word. He signaled the piloto and off we went. 10 minutes later, the boat was pulling up to land, but it wasn’t our warm, cozy ecolodge. I knew this place, it was where we had finished the hike earlier.

“Let’s go!” William said. Oh boy, so we’re going ahead anyway, with the bonus that we’re in a deluge. Monkees in the trees, if they were awake, probably saw a small trail of bright LEDs bouncing through the jungle below, stopping occasionally, then continuing on. We later referred to this as the spider walk, because they were out in droves. All kinds, big ones, small ones, little white spiders that looked like a leaf pedal, but that moved when you got close. Giant grasshoppers, and something called  jungle lobster that looked, well, like a cross between a lobster and a grasshopper. No anacondas, though, which was fine with me.

The photos for this day are here.

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