The Amazon Rainforest Day Three

By Issy Goode - 19:49

Day Three

I think all of us were delighted to be having a later start on this day. We woke around 6:30am, headed to breakfast kitted out in our gear and filled our water bottles to the brim. Before we set off on our exploration, we were told to go around the back of the lodge where we unexpectedly found a large group of spider monkey's gathered in the trees. They were hopping from branch to branch, eagerly gathering up food that had been left for them by the kitchen staff. We stood by quietly and watched them until they headed into the higher branches, and then off we went into the rainforest. 

Today was all about seeing more of the Amazon wildlife. Frank stopped us before we could begin exploring and told us all to line up and close our eyes. We looked around at each other not quite sure what to expect, but did as he said as he started to tell us a story about what Peruvians do to protect themselves from harm. And we weren't sure of the truth to this tale, but our faces were soon painted looking like real explorers to ward off any evil.
Onwards we then went. Frank would stop frequently to tell us more about the local fauna and flora. He taught us all about the fire ants and the Tangarana Tree which hosts the aggressive insects; the tree and this species of ant live in perfect harmony together. The ant protects the tree from other predators and the tree provides a perfect home for the fire ants. We were told to steer clear of the tree where possible, because like with all insect bites some people can have a severe reaction, but others will still experience the usual unpleasantries of an insect bite. 
The rather ferocious looking bullet ant
A leaf cutter ant and his blurry friend at work in the distance. These critters were exceptionally difficult to photograph, especially for unprofessionals like us!
As we continued to explore we saw Frank up ahead pulling at vines. We watched on wondering what to expect next. He began to wind the vine around into a large loop, we were all then stopped and told to gather around a perfectly straight tree that had very smooth bark. He asked us all how we'd climb this tree with the looped vine he had made and we took many guesses - only one came close. He then showed us by wrapping the vine around his feet, gripping the tree high up with his arms and then pulling his body weight up to balance on the tree trunk. He shot up the trunk with ease and slid down it as though it were a firemans pole. Apparently Peruvians used this technique to gather coconuts and other fruits from high up in the trees. We were all offered to give it a try and many of us did, with little success. I managed only one jump onto the tree and couldn't lift my weight up high enough for a second leap. Michael on the other hand wasn't willing to quit without reaching the same height Frank had.

As the trek continued we spotted mostly ants and other insects, we were shown a tree that sheds its own bark to rid itself of pests and predators, and a rather questionable tree which you can see in the photo below. Before long we were introduced to an insect called a Suri, which actually means maggot. Frank got down on his knees and used his machete to begin chopping open these fruits to reveal the hiding place of said maggots, to of course offer us a taste. I wasn't interested but many of the group were quite keen to give it a try, and that they did.
It's just a tree you filthy minded beast
Frank continued chopping the fruits up with his rather over-sized knife whilst people had a taste. Quite thoughtfully, Frank continued chopping until he found one perfect for me. I'm certain mine was the biggest of all, but I probably felt a bit hard done by as I wasn't much up for giving it a try, but when in Peru...
Delicious looking, right?
The taste was nutty initially, as everyone had said, but the feeling of it bursting in my mouth was the most rancid thing, followed closely by the after taste. It was truly my least favourite part of the trip.

Frank continued chopping the fruit and what luck, he came across a fruit with 3 suri's tucked away in it! He turned to the sisters in our group and offered them up some grub...quite literally. Unlike me, they were more than keen to have another taste. It went down effortlessly, smiles all round.

The exploring continued and we stopped by a river to fish for piranhas. Unfortunately, nothing came of it but at least we tried! Now, onwards to the lake. We stopped here for lunch on big picnic tables beside what looked like a stage. Frank told us people slept in this area sometimes. There were also toilets, probably some of the least pleasant we experienced - so if you visit this place, give them a miss and venture into the woods for a much more desirable nature pee.
The river where we tried to fish for piranhas
Fortunately for us a new bridge had been built alongside this one!
Post lunch we strolled a few steps down to the lake and hopped in a big canoe to explore the lake and its' inhabitants much more closely. With the cold that came by the day before there wasn't much about unfortunately. Frank searched tirelessly for wildlife, pulling the boat over to explore into the woods for anacondas, no such luck however! From afar a few of us spotted something peaking out of the water, which quickly turned out to be a pretty large black cayman resting. Further down this route we saw some toucans from a far, being very noisy to say the least. We also saw some weird chicken birds - I never got the name, but they were very clumsy.
Some found these caterpillars a little creepy and they did look spikey but were actually very furry! 
We didn't catch many photos whilst on the boat, but I did see this beautiful moth perched on one of the tables after we ate lunch
Upon turning the boat back towards the small pier we dodged as many fallen trees as we possibly could but suddenly, despite warning Bobby a branch was coming up (a little last minute I might add!) we were too late to turn and the next thing we hear is Bobby comically saying 'oh we got stuck' from the front of the boat. And stuck we did indeed get. After some tactical thinking and making the most of the oars (and a lot of laughter!), we managed to un-beach ourselves and get going again. Before returning back to solid ground, Bobby had another near miss by almost falling straight into the water attempting to pull the boat up to the pier - not such a good day for Bobby! He laughed it off, as did we, and hopped back off the canoe after a few hours on the water. We trekked back through the forest on a different shorter route, and I was scared to death by Frank deciding to hide behind a tree and jump out at us.
Our route back also allowed us to see some very creative bridges - this one was quite stunning
Have you ever seen such a big tree?! I have seen some massive trees in my time, but these ones were incredible. 
Frank showed us these walking trees - they grow new roots in order to move towards the sunlight. Nature is pretty spectacular! 
Upon arriving back to camp Frank said he had one last surprise for us and pointed up into the tree. It was a little unclear at first what we were looking at, but soon the rather camouflaged and rather sleepy sloth came into view. After staring in awe for a while and admiring the adorable little guy up in the canopy, I headed into our lodge and had a rather unpleasant ice cold shower.
Here he is, up high in the tree! Once again we opted to take a photo through the telescope, there was no other way to do it with how high up he had chosen to sleep!
Tonight was our final night at Cayman Lodge Amazonie so we headed to the bar for cocktails and played cards until dinner. After dinner and a rather tiring day, Michael and I headed for an early night along with many of our fellow campers. We briefly stopped to watch the stars for a short while and also checked on the sloth once again - who was now on the move, albeit very slowly. We left him to likely get himself some dinner (or breakfast?) and headed to rest our heads for our final sleep in an Amazon lodge.

Day Four

We were offered a lie in but Michael woke at 5am to explore outside and try and find the monkeys that had woken us up, clearly conscious of our final few hours in the wild. The wind had been rather fierce in the night and personally I couldn't tell what was a howl from the wind or a squeal from a monkey. We checked on the sloth one last time but he'd gone off on his own travels. All our stuff was packed and we readied ourselves to say goodbye to Cayman Lodge. We had a little time to capture a few more photos and one last peak around our beautiful dwellings. After a quick breakfast we hopped back on the boat to head towards Puerto Maldonado airport for the second and last time.

Once we arrived it was time to also say goodbye to our amazing Amazon guide, Frank. He had been incredible during our time in the rainforest and he was so engaging, wise and passionate. Had we stayed any longer I'm certain a bromance between Frank and Michael would have blossomed. I couldn't praise Frank's enthusiasm anymore and we were all very sad to say goodbye.

Once at the airport we checked in for our next flight, our destination being a city 3,400m up in the clouds - the historic Inca capital and World Heritage Site, Cusco.
MissIsGoode

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4 comments

  1. I am literally awe of your photos, WHAT an incredible experience you both had! The same can't be said about that weird maggoty but I'm afraid... but wow, what an incredible looking environment!

    hannatalks

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    1. Awh thank you so much, I really appreciate it! It honestly was absolutely amazing. Haha no, less so, but I can't neglect the less glamorous elements of my trip! Thanks for reading 😊

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  2. WOW - What incredible photos you have and what an enjoyable read! xo

    ​Jess xo | ​Jessica Ann ❤️

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    1. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it :) x

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