Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bolivian Amazon - Camp and Caymans

The morning brought what can only be described as a 3 hour dirty road bump fest that got significantly worse the closer we got to our launch area, the deep jungle town of Santa Rosa.

We stopped along the way at various outposts to use the bathroom and buy some travel snacks. You will be amazed at how often you need to go pee when your bowels aer being shaken and tossed for hours at a time. The girls used the banos, the lads used the natural bathroom that was all around us.

Then came the rain. I always put allot of faith in my tour drivers however this van had no wipers and his wife who was along for the ride was wiping the inside of the windscreen to remove the fog. I just stared out the back and closed my eyes.

The rain was over as quick as it started. We stopped to look at a tree sloth and made Santa Rosa for lunch. A great pasta soup, sliced chicken and veggies..lots of veggies. After months of red meat and french fries my body actually said thank you Ken, you bastard. What were you thinking in Chile and Argentina.
The cost of the tour was 900 Bolivians, about $120. It included 3 days, 2 nights accommodation, 6 crazy good meals, out guide Victor, the 4x4 Disney ride, and much much more. I am so happy to be back in the lands of good value

The River launch was from Santa Rosa. There were various outfits and groups all launching from the same place. It was quite a beautiful spot really.
We loaded our long low riding river boat with supplies and set off. It was suddenly sunny and jungle hot. This being the wet season the river systems and estuaries were running high. There was lots of green, flowers of every colour were in bloom and there were birds screeching everywhere.
We set off and right away say turtles of various sizes sunning themselves, Parrots of red, blue, yellow and green, the very odd looking Bird of Paradise, Black Vultures and various eagles and hawks.
About half way into our cruise to came we came across a pink river dolphin and chased it for a while. They are odd looking creatures. Big heads, short stubby bodies and long beak like mouths. One of the highlights is tomorrow you can jump into the ink black water and swim with them. I will take a pass. This is not your all inclusive resort dolphin swim.

We landed at camp Indigenous and were immediately told to look out for the Cayman by the dock. Sure enough there he was in his glory. Welcome to the jungle redux. He just chilled and hung around the camp, he had been there for years. People were swimming no more that 20 feet from him and he just looked bored. However, those scary eyes always knew where you were.

We got settled in, watched the cayman for a while then hit the hammocks. I fell asleep right away. Victor woke us up and we launched for a 5 minute ride up river to a river outpost. A hut that served ice cold beer. Good call Victor. We returned for a great dinner, then got ready for the night river cruise.

Darkness brought the scary sounds of the Amazon night creatures. We set off looking for the evil red orange eyes of cayman. When you flash you light on the banks of the river and see those devil eyes you know who is in charge, and its not us humans.
There were fireflies everywhere, glowing eyes peering at us from the bushes 10 feet away and the odd "what the hell was that' sound.

We turned off all the lights and just anchored in the river for a while. The starts just blazed in the sky. I did my looking for satellites thing and in the distance there was heat lighting that added to it all. We sat for about half an hour until a huge splash broke the silence. It was time to head back, but Victor smiled and said, everyone relax but I just broke the cord to start the motor. Well we are surrounded by cayman in the middle of the night, the mosquito's have just honed in on us and now we were just drifting. I just laid back and looked at the sky. A few others, well not so much. I was pretty sure I heard a soft whimper or two.

Well I did not find out until we got back but Victor needed help. One of the Aussies sitting in the back of the boat was eager and it was not until he was actually leaning over the tanks of gas did he realize he had a smoke in his mouth. Victors shoelace and the smokeless Aussies help got the engine running and we were off, back to the safety of camp. One last hurdle, climbing the dock at night with they cayman and his fire red eyes watching us.

Mosquito bite count is up to about 500. They laugh at deet!

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