Blogs from Amazon Rainforest, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru, South America

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Arriving in Puerto Maldonado Avianca flight 809 touched down with a bounce and a squeal in the Amazon basin’s booming metropolis called Puerto Maldonado. The gateway to the Amazon. The edge of civilization. The almost frantic braking of the plane gave us a sense of the short runway the pilot was working with. We slowed and made a single turn and parked at the airport. A blast of humid heat, as though opening the oven while checking on the Thanksgiving turkey came through the plane. Our first indication that we were in one of the remotest parts of the world was the single other plane docked at this two-slot airport. Instead of the 10-mile moving-sidewalk maze that defines most other airports, we walked a mere 50 feet from the plane to the baggage claim. This airport ... read more
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Each day, we are given a morning and an afternoon activity, with a couple of hours break in the middle of the day. My first day I started with the insect project. There is an entomologist working with projects abroad to make the first Peruvian Amazon Insect Book published. Salvador had been away on holiday for a month and so the lab was a mess. We started by cleaning everything. Then we went out capturing bugs. In the afternoon, Jacob was with me and we went to the second farm area where they have built a platform from which we can observe birds. We saw a vulture, hawks, parrots, macaws, and heard many others, but we really were excited by what we saw on the ground. We saw a non poisonous 3 meter long snake hunting ... read more
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We had our second full day of rain. And both Jacob and I got to go tree planting. You wear clothes that are already wet and dirty, because after the first 5 min you won't notice any difference. We loaded trees onto the boat and then went to the small first farm. There some of the crew had to dig holes with a weird pincher shovel post holer and the rest of us planted. The rain would lighten then grow heavy, but you are never cold. Mud and sand collect on you and then rinse clean. The farms are small stretches of land that have been cleared, otherwise the world is green on green on green. The jungle is completely different again to everything that I have experienced this year. Life is in super abundance, set ... read more
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Volunteers Su and Jennie agreed to bring our laundry in to town for us so we could stay at camp for the weekend. Jacob couldn't bear the idea of leaving. It meant that we could feed the animals 4 more times. There is nothing like the experience of opening the door to the young spider monkey cage and pushing them back, so that I can get through the door to dump their food bucket on the platform. Long fingered hands reach around me to sneak bits from the bucket. One holds on to me with a hand and the door with his tail. They are sweet, curious and exhilarating. I made it through the tapir enclosure without a nibbled hip this time. I did get stuck in the baby howlers cage for a bit. I was ... read more
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Breakfast was early, 6:30. We had to go to the new farm and clear land for the flowers to be planted. This involved machetes, my favourite tool. After carving a stick to lift up vines and make the job of machete easier we got to work clearing all the vegetation to less then an inch high. This is back bent tiring work that I quite love. We even got a thunderstorm and a full drenching to cool us down before we left.We came back dripping and exhausted. I was grinning, and it was only 10:30. Time for a shower and a good read in bed before the afternoon activities and lunch. I had a relaxed afternoon after the work of the morning. We went to the canopy to watch for birds. The canopy has now been ... read more
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When the taxi came to pick me up in the morning,everyone stopped to hug me good bye and wish me well. Again, it is hard to leave, but I had my reunion with Jacob to look forward to. As usual, the bus was an hour late and I sat talking to the store owner at the bus stop in broken Spanish. The ride was the clearest I had had yet. Every turn was spectacular, rippled mountains against the blue and cloud sky. I was late getting to Cusco, but still made it to the main square in time for the projected rendez-vous. Unfortunately, Kim and Jacob were much later still, and so I left before they could meet me thinking that I would go and check if they had left messages. All ended well; we did ... read more
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Can't believe a week can go this quick. But will be anxious to take our clothes to a laundry and take a hot shower. You are always sweating and nothing dries out. We got up for a beautiful sunrise and took a morning hike. Still amazed by the walking palm, ant tree, etc. Came across a flock of Pale-winged Trumpeters. The research station had raised a few macaws some years ago. These birds were introduced back in the wild where they found wild mates. However, these birds did frequent to lodge and took to artificial nest boxes. Spotted several lizards, orchids flowers and such. Fernando stopped and drew a circle with his laser and asked what did we see? ???nothing. Then he drew a smaller circle...again couldn't see anything. Then he drew it about 12 in. ... read more
Walking Palm
Sunrise
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At the crack of dawn we hopped in the boat and headed for the Macaw Clay Lick. On most clear mornings of the year dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters from the cliff, we observed Green-winged, Scarlet and Blue-and-gold Macaws and several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Since it was just Phil and myself, Fernando had arranged for us to sit with the researchers, not with the others from the lodge. Then we headed back for breakfast. After breakfast we headed for the Floodplain Trail. This five kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds. Fernando continued to amaze us with ... read more
White Throat Toucan
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We caught a plane from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, where Rainforest Expeditions picked us up for a ride to their headquarters. Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a communal business. Then transfer to a boat for two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas. This trip took us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. To our surprise, Phil and I were assigned to Fernando as our guide for the week...just the two of us. I was quite surprised by how wide these tributaries to the Amazon Basin were, with lots of rapids and log jams. Spotting various animals ... read more
Harpy eagle chick
Wide and fast moving river
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Less than 40 minutes after leaving the Tarmac in Cusco we had touched down in the Amazonian city of Puerto Maldonado and had gone from 16 degrees, low humidity and 3,400m altitude, to 33 degrees, 95% humidity and being able to breath nice and easily again. After being greeted at the airport by our guide for the next four days, we were whisked away to the Wasai hotel located in Puerto Maldonado. Here, we prepared our bags, grabbed our wellies and jumped aboard an open back 4x4 for the journey to our remote lodge in the jungle. We were heading to the Tambopata National Reserve; one of the Amazons best kept areas where we would be staying at a riverside lodge, sleeping in wooden bungalows and taking trips out on the river and into the forest ... read more
Tarantula
Jungle walk
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Tot: 0.31s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 8; qc: 87; dbt: 0.1066s; 87; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 5; ; mem: 6.5mb