Day 2 in the Jungle: Monkeys and piranhas


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South America » Ecuador » East » Shiripuno River
August 24th 2006
Published: August 26th 2006
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We got up early for a morning hike through the jungle. We took a boat to get to the hike. To be honest we didn´t see that much. Jose tried to find interesting things, but the only great find was some spider monkeys in the tree (btw, dad, they were a lot bigger than the one in the museum in Bournemouth). But it was a kinda disappointing hike. We pretty much stuck to a trail, which seemed to be the antithesis of being in primary rainforest, and a group of five was probably a little bit too big, because the animals can hear you a long way off.

What was interesting was watching Jose. He literally was in touch with nature on a level that we weren´t. He would just stop and sense things that we would never have realized were right there. It was just fascinating that we all have ears and eyes just like him, but while ours are attuned to TVs and city noises, his were focussed so differently.

We came back, had a lovely lunch (the grandmother was an amazing cook, we couldn´t believe we were eating so well in the middle of the rain forest) and then it was siesta time.

The subsequent activities were amazing. First, we went to a little beachy area upstream and just hung out. We were able to enjoy the river and just being right there. Toucans and macaws flying over head. The never ending flow of the river. The tranquility.

Then we went to a lake where we went piranha fishing. We caught one straight away and looked at its razor sharp teeth and devilish eyes. After that, we didn´t catch a single thing. Apparently the fish got wise pretty quick.

Then the coolest part. We ditched the motor boat and just took a wooden canoe and floated down the river back towards our lodge for an hour as the sun was setting. It was incredible. Everything was so quiet and we just floated back towards our lodge, soaking in everything around us.

After a dinner, we went caiman hunting. Caimans are little alligators, about half the size of a Florida gator. After dark they just hang out at the edge of the river. Either they didn´t realize we were there or just didn´t care, because we were able to get close to them. Jose, in a moment of Crocodile Hunter bravado, reached in and grabbed one and yanked it out of the water. We were able to feel its prickly skin and soft belly before he released it back into the river.

Quite a day.

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