5am alarm. That was painful. The only reason I’ll awake early (before noon) on a Sunday is at the potential chance to see some wild mammals in the jungle. I went along the PC loop trail with Juancarlos and Corrie again (not so sure what’s so politically correct about it, but I went along with it). It was a pretty chilled walk as we wanted to be pretty slow and quiet so that we could look out for animals. Juan pretty quickly spotted some movement up in the canapés, it was a couple of squirrels. Further down the trail we saw some monkeys howler monkeys, it was pretty awesome to see them out in the wild, but of course they had to be in a tree that was rooted in a swamp, and of course I had to have the wellies with a gaping hole in them - squelch, that's my word of the day. It was really difficult to get a picture of the monkeys, they were so high in the canapé and with the morning sunrise brightening the sky and being in the darkness of the jungle it felt almost impossible to get a decent picture. However, I did get a picture of the monkeys tail. SCORE! We then spotted a deer and I got a kick ass picture of its butt - Second word of the day is 'rear'.
The highlight of the trip has to be the fact that Corrie spotted a puma track. It was so fresh, it was amazing to think that just a few hours ago there was a puma walking in the exact spot that I was walking. We took som measurements and pictures of the paw print and noted were it was sighted so that we could determine weather it was worth putting a camera trap in that area. A little further down he trail I spotted another puma track, this time, a very small one. The puma had a baby puma with her! Excitement filled me at the thought of the two of them roaming around the jungle. It would make my year if I was to spot a wild puma, but it was great enough to know that they are here, within walking distance of me, and there’s some cub pumas trotting about too. Fucking awesome!
We got back in time for a late breakfast (9am - still can’t believe I was up that early) and chilled for a couple of hours. Sundays here are usually a day where the volunteers/workers can chill and have a bit of a rest. They also often go down to the local community – which is a 30-45 min boat ride down the river – to play football/volleyball with the locals. Me, Zoe a few of the other guys and the staff here made our way down the river towards to Lucerna.
We watched the guys who were crazy enough to play football in the immense heat, and cheered them on. It was amazing though, between the first and last game the weather had completely changed, blazing sun to cloudy and raining, to mild and sticky. The weather here is so intense, but I still can’t get over how quick changing it is. Once they finished football we decided that buying a beer from the local ‘shop’ was a good idea – it was indeed a great idea. Pedro, Tom Zoe and I were roped into playing volleyball. We had a blast playing (and losing miserably) and rewarded ourselves with the now warm, beer!
|Team Fauna Forever|
|Us playing Volleyball with the locals|
It was a bit of a rush to get back to boat as the sun was starting to set. The trip back was epic. I usually hate that word, but I am using it in its most sincere meaning. The sunset was magical, it was so bright and powerful that we were all in awe. The clouds started to gather on the way and I could see mist in the far distance of the river. This mist was rain, and I mean, rain! It was getting darker and darker and the rain was hitting us hard. We were using life jackets to cover ourselves but I was far too excited, I pushed my camera to the limit and when I thought that was too much, I had my GOPRO. I love weather. No, I really fucking LOVE weather.
Once we got back to our port, it was dark, wet and the steep hill to get to the top was slippery and unforgiving. I didn’t have my torch on my (well actually I did, but I put it in a silly pocket and didn’t realise, so I fully believed I didn’t, Zoe did the same thing - we’re such twats!) Pedro also didn’t have one, so we just went for it and paced through the jungle with no light, and with the rain beating down on us. It was so exhilarating. We got back to camp safely, we were all hot, sweaty and soaking wet so we all went for our freezing cold shower to cool off.
I love the evenings here, as it’s so peaceful and tranquil. The sound of the jungle is constant and comforting, while the candles at the table make a perfect evening ambience. Me and Pedro did some stretching/yoga in the communal area after a long day to unwind before we sat for dinner. We all have eat together, with the just the two candles to light us up. We all get along together so well that conversation is always flowing we’re always laughing. There is something really special about being here.