26th October 2009 - 30th October 2009
We thought we were in for a good night's sleep after scoring the front seats on the bus with the most leg room. Little did we know people were going to be constantly opening and closing the front door throughout the night, slamming into Sammys legs every time. He wasn't a happy traveler on arrival so we immediately got on the internet and booked some flights to avoid the next lot of buses (50 hours worth!).
After breakfast in the small town we arrived in (Lago Agrio) we were picked up by our guide and taken to a mini bus. The mini bus took us two hours further into the jungle where we hoped on a boat to take us even further. Despite the rain the two hour boat ride was thoroughly enjoyable as we had a terrific driver who enjoyed speeding through the water and cornering the boat around the tight curves. The only stop we made was when Sammy and I spotted a Tarantula at our feet under the seat in front of us. It must have dropped from one of the trees above and Sammy said to the people in front 'Don't move but there's a tarantula under your seat'. They freaked out slightly but fortunately nobody jumped overboard. The guide picked up a stick and failed to catch it so Sammy bravely took charge and fished it out of the boat and threw it into a tree. Once again the protector! We arrived at the lodge before too long and after settling into our rooms were called for a briefing. It all sounded great to us and we couldn't wait to go on our night walk that evening.
When it came time to go we donned our rubber boots and raincoats and headed in the boat to watch the sunset. Not far from the lodge we stopped to do some pink dolphin watching. Within a couple of minutes we saw a pink dolphin appear out of the water. It was so beautiful and we were able to watch it for ten minutes before heading off. Not long after that, on the ride out to watch the sunset, we were lucky enough to spot a huge anaconda in one of the trees in the water. It was about 50cm round and 6m long - simply enormous and stole the title from the Panamanian boa constrictor as the largest snake we've seen in the wild. After watching a beautiful sunset we headed on shore for our first jungle walk. We needed our torches and spotted several insects along our journey. We didn't encounter anything too frightening so we slept well that night following a delicious meal.
The next day we headed on another jungle walk after a visit to our new friend the anaconda. It was still in the same tree as it would be for the next week to shed its skin. On this walk we saw more insects in the day light, learnt about jungle medicine and also saw some dart frogs which were pretty cool. That afternoon we did something I never thought we would - Piranha fishing. I caught two small Piranhas and one large one. Sammy caught one as well but it didn't quite make it to the boat for a photo op because it slid off the hook. Funnily enough after Piranha fishing we were encouraged to go swimming (and did) in the same water and not more than 100m from the anaconda. No one was eaten and that night we ate my Piranha for dinner. It was delicious.
Our third day in the jungle involved seeing some very old and huge trees and visiting a local village. On the long boat ride there we saw lots of birds including McCaws and Toucans along with several species of monkeys. At the village we learnt how to make their local pizza dough out of roots from the ground. It was really fascinating and the staple food for the village. We also tried jungle make up and laughed when a local boy took a particular shining to Nicky, one of our lovely group members. We joked that her and her boyfriend Paul would have to adopt him. It wasn't too funny when we left and he chucked a tantrum! That evening we were again blessed by another beautiful sunset and spotted some more Caiman (small crocodile like creatures) in the water.
The following morning we woke up at 5am for some early morning bird watching. We saw lots of different types of birds before paddling back to the lodge for our final breakfast. We were then packed up and on our long journey back to civilization before we knew it. What a great trip! It was made extra special by the fantastic group we had and our very knowledgeable guide Lois! Thanks heaps everyone!