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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Peruvian Adventure 2016 - Posada Amazonas Day 2

Our alarm went off at 4am; time to get ready and head to breakfast. Jorge was taking us to Tres Chimbadas Lake today. We were greeted with pancakes, fruit, bread, ham, and cheese. It was all delicious, despite not really being hungry at 4:30am.

After breakfast, we boarded the boat with Rodrigo and he took us up river to where we needed to hike to the lake. It was a fairly short ride. While the sun came up, we could see the banks of the river coming more into view.

Once we were dropped off, we had a 30 minute walk through the jungle to the lake. Gustavo greeted us at the lake on the wooden catamaran we were going to use to explore the lake. Gustavo skillfully glided us along the water as Jorge pointed out various birds and explained how this lake may no longer exist in about 300-400 years, depending on the erosion of the river. While this was happening, the sue was rising, giving us a beautiful view on the water.

Near the border of the refuge, Gustavo stopped the catamaran in the grass near a little inlet, with hopes we would see the giant river otter. The river otter is the apex predator for the river. They are also known as the wolf of the river, since they hunt in packs. As soon as we stilled ourselves, we could hear the young otters crying for their parents to feed them. They were incredibly loud; much louder than the birds we were next to.

Eventually, our patience paid off and all four otters of the family group swam only a few meters away from the boat, providing excellent photo opportunities. Super cool! Jorge kept mentioning we were lucky and must be emanating good energy, since he had not seen the otters that close in a long time, maybe ever.

Once the otters had moved on, we tried our luck fishing for piranhas. Kari was the only one in our group to catch one, but she was too afraid to touch it. I held it, so she could photograph it. The piranhas successfully stole the rest of our bait! Super speedy little buggers!

On our ride back, Jorge explained and demonstrated how to row the catamaran with the special oar they had. Much different than anything we had seen before. We saw a few more birds, including a cormorant on our way back.

During our walk back through the jungle to the Tambopata River, Jorge pointed out some leafcutter ants working as a group plus a few other plant species. We also greeted Gustavo's family, as they live in a house along the trail near the river. They certainly live a different life from what we are used to.

After a quick ride in the boat, we were back at Posada Amazonas. We were greeted by a snake and an egg sandwich snack. Pretty awesome start to the morning! We both changed to get ready for our next activity: the clay lick. All while listening to the howler monkeys.

On our hike to the clay lick, we found a large number of brown capuchin and brown squirrel monkeys in the trees. We stopped to watch for a bit and take some photos. With all of the monkeys nearby, the first clay lick was a bust. The macaws and parrots are too sensitive to come down from the trees with monkeys around.

At the second clay lick, we were treated to a show by a dozen or so red and green macaws. We sat mesmerized for about 15-20 minutes until they flew off. Pretty spectacular! Again Jorge mentioned how blessed we were, since not many people actually get to see the macaws. Go us!

We made it back to Posada Amazonas with just enough time to drop our stuff and head to lunch. With each passing meal, this place reminded us more and more like Chapungu. We seem to be fed constantly, including dessert at all meals! May need a diet after this vacation!

After lunch, and our short break, we met Jorge to take a boat to the medicinal gardens. The medicinal gardens are located at a new eco-lodge that the native community at Infierno are working on as a solo venture, taking what they have learned at Posada Amazonas and using it here. While not yet complete, the lodge was beautiful.

Jorge took us on a short-walk around the gardens, explaining what the different plants were used for. He also had us try a couple. The Cordoncillo was a pretty powerful anesthetic that caused our mouths to go numb for a while. Supposedly, the roots can be used to help numb the pain of a snake bite. After our experience with the leaves, I believe it.

As we neared the end of our hike, the "pet" wild pig, Pancheta, came to greet us. He snuggled into my leg before trying to bite/nibble on Kari. Once we got him to stop trying to bite her, he followed us around as Jorge showed us the shaman house and explained the purpose of the shaman. In Infierno, a village of ~900, there are 7 shamans and about another 50-60 more in Puerto Maldonado. He mentioned that it is very important to find a good shaman. Good to know.

On our ride back to Posada Amazonas, we saw a couple capybara on the river bank. We stopped to take some photos. Unfortunately, we never saw jaguar, tarantula, or poison dart frog. Oh well. There is always a future trip.

Back at Posada Amazonas, we got cleaned up for dinner and started getting ready for our night hike.

Dinner was fantastic! By far, my favorite meal we had at Posada Amazonas! It was a twist on lomo saltado with spaghetti noodles instead of rice. I piled my plate high with delicious beef loin, noodles, and banana fries. I also got the tomato soup to Kari's surprise. Everything was delicious!

After dinner, we met Jorge for our night hike. We initially followed another group before splitting off. We saw a lot of small spiders, hundreds, if not thousands. Quite amazing when you think of the numbers. We also saw a couple tree frogs, a wild pig, a snake, several bullet ants, and loads more spiders. To help bring the wild pig into view, we turned off our lights and stood completely still. After a few minutes in the dark, we turned our lights on to see a pig in the middle of our trail before running off into the jungle. Freaky but awesome! Unfortunately, we could not find a tarantula, a poison dart frog, or a jaguar. Looks like we will need to go back to the jungle to try again.

Back at Posada Amazonas, we packed up our stuff, much easier when you only have a small bag and showered before bed time. It was certainly a long, full day!

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