5 day trip into the Amazon Rainforest and we had everything in store for us from piranha fishing and alligator spotting to camping in the high jungle. Each day we spent with the lead guide Villi and his assistant Gustavo, both of which turned out to be absolute legends by the end of the trip!
First 2 nights at our own personal lodge built within a clearing on the Yarapa and Cumaceba creek and second 2 camping further into the 'high jungle'.
The trip started in Iquitos by car then by boat from the mainland to the jungle and finally another smaller boat to the lodge. The small boat would be with us for the week, unbelievably sturdy for a little boat! We were packed with supplies from the mainland to last us the trip.
Even on the first leg of the journey from the mainland we spotted the Amazonian pink and grey Dolphins! Great start.
The lodge was really good, and all to ourselves! Unexpected but well happy!
Lunch was ready for our arrival and first of many new things we tried, this time cat fish was on the menu! Really good food.
That afternoon/ evening we took the boat up the river, navigating through some crazy fallen trees and tiny passes. On route we spotted monkeys, birds and alligator eyes (just on top of the water).
First day and Gemma was greeted in the lodge by a massive spider, lost a welly in the mud and got slapped in the face by a fish that jumped out of the water...!
The day started with some piranha fishing. We used shaped pieces of tree as the rods, thick plastic wire line with about 3 inches of metal cable and barbed hook attached to the end. Hooks sharpened on a rock that morning at the lodge and raw meat cut on the boat... Caught quite a few, different types as well. Also pulled in a catfish! All to be BBQ'd and eaten that lunch and dinner!
In the afternoon we cruised to Gustavo's village, pink dolphin spotting on route and I got to have a drive of the boat we'd be spending the week using.
Good seeing Gustavo's local village, we arrived on one of 3 days each week when they have access to some electricity so the whole town was out and about. Met the local Sloth family and got to hold the main one Pablo. Gustavo picked up some ammunition and his shotgun and off we went! Just missed the sunset from the river but the sky was amazing still!
That evening we took a night jungle trek, hunting for spiders, frogs and other nocturnal creatures. Saw quite a few and the biggest tarantula was outside our lodge stairs!
Camping for the next 2 days, a 3 hour boat ride into the deep and 'tall' jungle.
Set up camp just as the rains came down. The whole camp was made from scratch, trees cut down and tents put up all using Gustavo's machete!
After some dinner cooked on the fire and when the rain calmed, we donned the head torches and went catfish, fishing. Gemma caught a weird fish, a bit like a piranha, and also a cat fish somehow bit off the monster hook on Gustavo's line...
Interesting evening in camp, sleeping on the floor, under a mosquito net and tarpaulin tent! Literally in the middle of no where, noisy being in the jungle at night!
Spent the morning on a jungle walk. Villi teaching us all about the medicinal plants and the locals use of the jungle trees. Gustavo hacking a path for us and marking the route.
We found a mini lake in the jungle full of fish so headed back to camp, picked up the fishing rods and set off to catch lunch. Jungle fish on the menu, caught whilst fishing of some mouldy trees hanging off the bank! Whilst fishing we also saw a big (1.5m) electric eel in the water!
After lunch we did a bit of cutlery, clothes and body washing jungle style in the Amazon river and prepared ourselves for the night trip!
The afternoon/ evening boat cruise ended up being the craziest of the trip! What started as a normal river boat cruise under a clear sky, quickly changed after dark (3 hours from camp). After paddling for an hour or so whilst Gustavo was looking for local small mammals to shoot for dinner the storms erupted.
Probably the biggest storm we've ever been in, hammering rain so we could barely see and hours from camp, a few times running into fallen trees in the the river. A true rainforest storm, the lightening was lighting up the whole sky.
About half hour from camp and me and Gemma still bit worried we were going to end up having to bail off the boat, Villi shouts 'Lagarto' (Spanish for alligator), pulls his shirt off and dives off the boat. Jumps back on, and on turning round Gustavo had jumped off too only to come back in the pouring rain with the most aggressive type of Cayman Alligator found in the Amazon in his hands!! They promised to find us one if they could and did! Villi still managed to get in a 5 minute talk on the history and natural facts about the Cayman before letting it back in the river!
Wet to the bone and all my dry clothes at camp hanging to 'dry' on the river bank, a bit of clothes sharing with Gemma had to go down.
End to an amazing week, packed up camp, a much needed shower and lunch at the lodge and trip back to the mainland and Iquitos.
Managed to stop off on route from camp at an 800 year old tree all the locals call the 'sky scraper of the jungle'. As all my clothes were wet from the storm, I climbed to the tree, through mud, in flip flops, elephant shorts and shirtless...
The week was made by Villi and Gustavo, couldn't have asked for better guides, craziest people ever, they knew the jungle like the back of their hands and learned so much as well.
Actually sad to head back to the mainland in the end, although looking forward to a beer and pizza!
Don't normally write such a long blog but thought it was worth it! Few more days in Iquitos and then deciding whether to take the people 'cargo' 3 day boat to the boarder or to fly to Rio, Brazil awaits....