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Published: March 29th 2012
Another 7.00 am breakfast and we all piled into the tiered jeep for a five-minute drive (which the day before we had walked 20 minutes to for the canoe trip) to the boat jetty. We got on to a pontoon with a planked floor bolted across with a wooden ladder to an upper level held up on metal stilts. Some of us climbed to the upper level. Plastic garden chairs were available on each level.
The guide started the motor and we chugged very slowly through the fields of plants and water hyacinths in the opposite direction to that taken on the canoes, the boat totally obliterating any sign that we were actually in water until it cleared a watery trail through the middle. The going was very slow as the plants had grown so thick. Forty minutes downstream, we entered a large lagoon mainly cleared of all plant life and the boat came to a stop. We were each given a thin bamboo fishing rod with a piece of meat for bait and shown how to fish for piranha. Jo tried for about 20 minutes unsuccessfully to catch something and gave up. Ed managed to catch 3 fish. We
Fazenda San Fransisco
I'm caiman to get you......
all had to be careful as our fishing attracted the caimans and we were warned not to let them get too close because if they sense food, i.e. the piranhas (not us - we are much too big for them. They only eat what their jaws can fully catch in one go!) they can jump up to six foot in the air and we certainly didn't want one sharing our boat!!
Once the bait was finished, there were quite a few piranhas in the bucket (from which they make a very tasty soup offered daily at tea time). The guide removed four or five with which to feed a fishing hawk and the caiman. He told us that we would have to move the boat to a different spot to feed the caiman as they did not want to encourage them at the fishing spot as it would be impossible to get rid of them at the fishing spot on future fishing trips. We drove back towards the embarkation point and stopped a third of the way back at another spot relatively clear of plant life. The guide first put a piece of bamboo in a couple of the
piranhas' mouths and threw them singly into the water so that they would float long enough for a huge brown hawk perched on a tree on the bank to swoop down and skim the water to pick up the
fish and fly off. If we had been fast enough we would have been able to capture a photo of the hawk mid flight. Unfortunately we failed.......
The guide next put a piranha on the end of the bamboo fishing rod but with only about five inches of fishing line so that the fish was swinging at the end of the rod. He then swung it over the water, dipping the fish in and out of the water, teasing any possible caiman nearby to 'come and get it'. Three or four caiman came drifting in and fought with each other to claim the fish. Another photo opportunity somewhat easier than the hawk!
Following this, we returned to shore and back to the fazenda. After an early lunch of similar food to previously, we loaded Amber and were back on the road for a long driving afternoon towards Brotas.
The scenery was not wonderful so eventually we got a little bored of looking out of the windows and took out our kindles and between loo stops and buying cold drinks at various garages along the way, we read our way to the 'bush camp' where we were pitched our tents for the night. We arrived late at a football pitch belonging to a school, slap-bang next to a 24-hour garage with separate toilets and showers for men and women (all surprisingly clean with shiny white tiles). Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to 'upgrade' as there was nowhere to upgrade to and we grudgingly stumbled around in the dark alongside the rest of the group and
erected our tent by the light of the stars and our torches!
We settled down in our sleeping bag liners and went to sleep.
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