September 27, 2007

Amazon Jungle

Ok first off there are tons more photographs with descriptions and such here on my flickr site – in case anyone really wants to go through our entire Amazon travel log. Here are the highlights, though.

During our stay in the Amazon our time was basically spent like this: Hike out at sunrise (like 5am) each morning, back to the lodge for lunch, nap in the afternoon, then hike out again at dusk. Noone wants to be out in the jungle during the heat of the day. Not even the birds or animals – they all hunker down when it gets that hot out.

So one morning we hiked to a lake and canoed across it:
Matt in a canoe
Jeanne in a canoe
Then hiked several miles further to another, much larger lake:
View from the Oxbow Lake
water plants
Unfortunately we didn’t see any of the resident Giant River Otters, but the bird watching was spectacular:
Birds and nests
brown birds
hawk pearched on a branch

And we got to go fishing….
Matt fishing for Piranha

Using raw meat as bait…
fishing for piranha

for piranhas!
Piranha
Reuben (our guide) made the fish bite a leaf so we could see its teeth before we threw it back. I so did not want to fall in after seeing them!

Oh I should probably mention at this point… I broke my nose the fist day in the Amazon. I was getting out of the canoe and I didn’t see this rail on the side of the dock and I slammed into it face first. It sucked a lot. But considering we were at the very beginning of our travels there was nothing really to do but ignore it and move on. There had to be at least one disaster on a trip that long, right?
Not Happy.
This was taken about a half hour after the accident. I’m so unhappy in this picture it’s not even funny. I got over it after a nap and some ibuprofen, though.

We also saw and learned about many different types of trees and plants:
Naked Tree
Naked tree – It’s called this because once a year it sheds its bark to keep vines and moss and stuff from growing on it.

Brazil nut tree
Brazil Nut Tree – Although because they grow throughout the Amazon and not just in Brazil, really they should be called Amazon nuts. It takes a tree 20 years to produce its first fruit and they can live to be hundreds of years old.

Walking Palm
Walking Palm - The roots grow in an a-frame so that they can move the trunk around to find light.

Us with the Strangle Fig
Us with a Strangle Fig – which is a tree that grows around an existing tree, eventually strangling and killing the host leaving a hollow center:

Inside the Strangle Fig
Inside the Strangle Fig - this one is very, very old.


And even saw some monkeys!
Monkey!
There is a little lemur in the very center of this picture. We saw an entire family jump and run through the jungle canopy but they are FAST so photographing them was pretty tough.

We went on a night hike (scorpion spider!) to the river’s edge where we searched for Cayman with flashlights from the canoe. Their eyes glow red if you hit them right:
Caymen

We climbed this 100 foot “canopy tower” at dawn to bird watch up close:
Canopy Tower and Macaws
I love this photograph – two macaws flew by and I managed to catch them in the shot!

Canopy Tower
Looking down

And to watch the sun rise over the hazy, hazy jungle:
Sunrise
Brazil nut trees

We spent quite a bit of time in various types of bird blinds:

Bird Blind
Looking out at a clay lick – Birds go there to eat the clay for its salt content. Noone really knows for sure exactly why but the theory is that they need the salt to help digest any rancid fruit or nuts that they ate.

Matt Birdwatching
Matt in a natural blind by the rivers edge wondering why I’m taking his picture

Macaws
Some more Macaws seen from a blind

Sadly we didn’t see any of the snakes that live in the jungle… we did get to see some cool lizards, though:
Lizard
And tree frogs that liked to hang out in the women’s’ bathroom:
Tree frog
One night, after seeing the tree frogs, I was already in bed and Matt was coming back from the bathroom and we hear something jump. So he’s all “Oh my gosh, Jeanne, there’s a frog in our room!” So I shine the flashlight on the spot assuming that Matt had seen a frog…and…It’s so NOT a frog. It’s a giant bug. Big enough to make the same loud noise landing as a frog does. So Matt shooed it back into the jungle and I re-checked that the mosquito net was secure…The night time jungle noises were actually really cool, though. Loud but soothing.

The last evening we were there we went across the river to visit this man’s Plantation:
The farmer
The farmer knocking down a coconut so we could try its milk.

I absolutely loved this part – the gardener in me was very excited to see and learn about all of the different fruits that he grows:
Banana Trees
Banana trees - the vine in the foreground is what he uses for mulch!
Starfruit Plant
Starfruit
Matt checking out the spiky
Some sortof crazy spiky tree

And even taste a few!
Me with the almost chocolate
I don’t remember what this is called but it is related to the fruit that chocolate comes from. It was delicious – sweet and sour at the same time. Yum!

All in all our time in the Amazon was amazing, thought provoking, and truly wonderful.

Next up – Cusco. Which if you are here for the Knitting is where things get really interesting.

11 comments:

  1. what an incredible adventure!! i am adding your blog (way later than i should have) to my google reader and will go back to read more about your trip! oh, and ouch!! regarding your nose!! :o(

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  2. Wow! I can't believe how adventurous you are! The part about using raw meat as bait for piranhas made me squirm! Good stuff!

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  3. Those are amazing photos!

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  4. OHH sorry about your nose! Your pictures are really great!

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  5. Cool pictures! Is your nose alright, now?

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  6. Oh dear, an injury at the beginning of your trip! Hope it's better now and didn't make you too miserable. The pictures are all amazing. I really like the ones taken of the canopy tops, with the mists. Amazing! I'm enjoying the travelogue and pictures so much, thanks for sharing with us.

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  7. Wow - that looks like a really amazing trip. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I am so amazed by your trip. You broke your nose?????? Yikes! I would have been sitting in a hammock all mad too. I'm glad you didn't let it ruin your trip.

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  9. Your photos are fabulous! They almost made me want to be there - but then I remembered how much I hate bugs. What a bummer that you broke your nose. Glad it didn't ruin the rest of your trip.

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  10. Wow. Love all the pics. The lodge you stayed in is amazing. I can't believe you broke your nose though! Hope you're healing well!

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  11. wow - awesome pics, jeanne. everything is so beautiful and serene looking there.

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