Monday, February 14
A long, 10 h, night ride with the bus last night. At a bridge along the road, named El Puente, around 12:00 h after having lunch, we take a motorized kayak. By boat it takes 2,5 h to get to Dolphins Lodge. We see, a cayman, a sloth sleeping in the tree, some brown bird (owl?), a snake sitting on the shore and another one gets away and the squire monkeys. Nice flowers and at the last part a bit of rain. Relax till 16:30 h in hammocks at the lodge’s watchtower at the river. We go to Laguna Grande in the black flooded forest. Calm water and lots of trees around. Cool picture. Some birds and the pink (and gray) dolphins. The dolphins play. Then as night falls, we go to hunt alligators and boas. In the flash light the eyes glow and they are easy to spot. Mostly young ones. They don’t wait for us and disappear in the water. One big alligator stays and we can see it closely. Then guide David finds us a boa. A skinny one, get it and we can hold it.
Tuesday, Before breakfast a black with brown “badger” walks behind the cabins. The kayak takes us to the lake again and we see more nice birds. Again the pinky dolphins and we do a land tour. David tells about the trees and we see other monkeys in the trees. A toucan poses for the picture. After 3 hours we we’re back at the boat, survived the 30 cm deep swamp and have to paddle back. Some turtles on branches, just above the waterline, and more cormorants. Lunch time and a shower (needed after the sweaty weather). This afternoon we try to find the anaconda others saw before and do the sunset (yesterday there wasn’t much sunset). Guide David is on the search while we’re waiting (the 6 tourists). We search all the ponds, nothing. David goes further into the jungle and then one of us spots something under a branch. It’s a thick branch in the water or maybe…. We call David and he directly says it’s her. He comes and pulls her tail out of the water. Pulls her up and we see a huge snake. The snake is about 5 m long and some 25 cm in diameter. Wow.
Wednesday, By boat to an indigenous village. See again more birds and turtles and a few tortoises, some black monkeys and toucans. We walk into the forest to see a giant tree. It’s 600 years old and much bigger and higher than the others. Not much later we land and walk through the fields and forest. Learn about the plants and find some frogs. In the village we have lunch with a local woman. She is very shy, but tells about life in this small community, 7 families big. We get yucas (cassava) roots from the field. She cuts the plant and gets the roots out of the ground. She peels them with the machete and after scraping the roots, the water is squeezed out with a palm leaf device. Filter the fine fibers with a wooden net and the flower is used to bake pancakes. Lunch with the fresh baked pancakes on wood fire with rice and tuna salad. A shaman tells about their customs. Back to the boat and the lodge. Relax and have dinner. After dinner a night walk. We go by boat and see more caymans (black and the other one). On land a big spider, a ground yellow striped frog and a quite big tree frog. The tree frog just got a grasshopper and stays on the spot. We find tapir prints and hear a jaguar. See some nocturnal monkeys in the trees and then back to the lodge.
Thursday, early start, at 5:30 h on the boat. See the giant otters and more birds. Breakfast and then with the luggage on the boat. 2,5 h more of jungle. At the bridge we get off the boat and take the bus to Quito. We take another route back and after an hour we’re at a river. A small ferry takes the bus to the other side. Quite cool. It should save us 1,5 h. At the other side the bus doesn’t start, but after a push it’s on again. More rural areas and we’re on the way again.