Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Amazon Rainforest!!!!!

Let me first say, that the past few days in the Amazon have really been a life experience. We took the plane on Monday from Cusco, and after a 40 minute flight got into the Amazon basin at Puerto Maldonado. We got off the plane at around 10 am into 40 degree, humid weather. It was so humid, that our cameras were screwed up for around 1 hour after landing.
We meet our nature and jungle guide at the airport, Rodolfo, who would be with us the entire trip. We first stopped at Rainforest Expeditions office in Puerto Maldonado to drop off our main backpacks, and only took 2 day packs with us, with only vital clothes and cameras, flashlights, headlights, repellent, etc. We then took a car down mud roads to the boat, which was about 30 minute drive. The roads are just basic mud, and the car barely made it over some bridges which were just 2 planks of wood over a creek.

We finally got to the river, where the boat would bring us the rest of the way, which was about another 1 and half hour to the spot on the river where we would get off and walk the rest of the way to the lodge, called Posada Amazonas.

At first, the river passes through some secondary forest, where there are some people living on farms. So the forest isn't as tall, but within 20 minutes we got to the protected area, and primary rainforest. We took Rio Tambopata, and went into the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve, which protects the southern Amazon area in Peru.

Our guide was already showing us and spotting birds and other wildlife. We took out our binoculars and tried to find other wildlife. About half way to the lodge we were passing very thick primary or ancient forest when I spotted a Jaguar. After yelling to our guide about the Jaguar, he saw it as well, and we got the boat to turn around and position the boat near the cat, which at this point was relaxing under a tree right on the river bank. There were another 2 tourist on the boat with us, plus our guide, their guide, and the boat driver. We were about 15 metres from the bank, looking straight at the Jaguar, which was the size of a large dog. I took about 15 really nice photos, while Aneta was viewing the cat with the Binoculars, which showed every little detail and colour that it had. Anyway, we stayed another 5-10 minutes before the cat just walked back into the jungle, looking back at us one last time. It was one of those moments where you forget everything about life, and just want to take the moment and enjoy it. It is very rare to see Jaguar in the wild, as they are very elusive, and let me say, that we became the envy of the lodge when we got there, as everyone, tourists and other guides wanted to see one the photos we took.

Back to the boat, after viewing the Jaguar, we continued along the river and finally reached the small area where we would get off the boat, and hike in to the lodge, which took about another 15 minutes.

After getting to the lodge, we were told everything about it, including where our room was, and when breakfast, lunch and dinner were served. We got to our room to see the long hut we were staying in. It had mosquito nets around the beds, and the whole room was open, and one wall, facing the jungle in the back had no wall.

We dropped our things off, went to grab a juice and some water, and we were off to our first hike with our guide Rodolfo. He brought us to this canopy tower, about 30 minute hike through the rainforest. The tower is over 40 metres tall, which takes you just above the tree line in this area. The Amazon is so thick, no matter what direction you look, all you see is thick jungle, and the Rio Tambopata snaking its way into the jungle. On top of the canopy, we could hear so many birds and monkeys. We were able to see so many Macaws, Parrots, Vultures, etc. We could also hear the big Howler monkeys yelling and screaming in the background. Their sound is so weird and somewhat scary. After staying on the canopy for about 2 hours, we heading back to the lodge to relax a little and eat some dinner. On the way back, about 5 minutes from the lodge, we encountered about 30-50 squirrel monkeys, swinging in the trees. What they were doing, is grabbing these small fruits and nuts from the trees, and throwing them down 20-30 metres to the ground. Once they do that for a while, they come down, and eat all the small fruit they threw down. The noise and commotion they were creating was so funny, and I got hit like 3 times from these nuts and fruits. I was able to get some good videos of them, which we will post in the future.

The rest of the night we relaxed and talked to some of the other guests. The lodge is great, it has no electricity (well only for like 3 hours a day for guest to charge the batteries), so there are lanterns and candles on during the night. The showers only have cold water, since there is no electricity. The drinking water is from under ground springs and the food is all fresh from the jungle. We ended up going to sleep at around 9 pm since the next day we had to get up at 4 am, to go with a boat down the river, then hike to this oxbow lake.

Falling asleep was a little harder then I thought. First, the humidity and heat really don´t get better during the night. But the main thing is the jungle sounds. Since there is no wall on one side, no doors, it´s kind of creepy at first, to know that anything can come in at anytime. Once you turn off your candles, it is dark, I mean dark. Trying to fall asleep when you hear monkeys all around you is hard. Plus, you hear other noises like birds, bats, larger mammals, etc. It is like one of those CD´s you can buy, which have rainforest sounds to put you to sleep, except in this case, you are actually there with no wall. lol

We did end up going to sleep, and so far the first day was one of the best experiences of our life...

Until tomorrow, Indiana Jones out!!!

1 comment:

Matt said...

Can't wait to see the awesome pictures! Looks like someone will be flooding Flickr soon!