|Happy New Years everyone!!!
We've spent the intervening days since the last entry in the Peruvian Jungle! Wonderful, and very much incommunicado. None the less, Tom and I want to apologize for not keeping up during our trip. We had a very busy schedule and as a result, failed to get to an internet shop due to fatigue, digestive issues, birding, hiking, machu picchu and such!This entry is actually being made as we spend our last few hours together in Lima. Tonight, Tom heads back to OR and I to Buenos Aires. I know you're thinking Tom's kind of a sucker for choosing Oregon over Buenos Aires but duty calls and he needs to get back to The Nature Conservancy. I on the other hand, plan to go shoe shopping! Okay, so it's time to get to the important stuff, such as how was our trip and what did we do? I think the best way to go here is to recount our trip in accordance with our itinerary. Tom will start with our journey far into the Peruvian jungle.
Buenos Dias to all of you. Amy and I had a great time in the jungle, or selva as they call it locally. We flew into Puerto Maldonado under partly cloudy skies and saw magnificent views of the jungle canopy. There was a lot of logging and grazing here and there, but the jungle still dominated the landscape. We met our guide, Gilbert, (prounounced hill-bear) and proceeded to the town of Infierno where we boarded a long, covered canoe with a motor. The comunity co-owns Rainforest Expeditions and provides some of the guides, including Gilbert, who was our personal guide. We had a great trip to Posada Amazonas, the first of two lodges, spotting new birds along the way. We saw a bat falcon, black vultures, king vultures, orependulas, white winged swifts and many more. The lodge was spectacular, only a few years old, built on stilts with separate dining room, lounge area, education center and 30 rooms in small groups, all covered with palm frond roofs with boardwalks connecting them. The bed rooms were all open to the air on the jungle side with a private bath and kerosene lamps instead of electric lights. We saw a rufous mot-mot and the whole it digs for its nest, and a poison dart frog.
We left the next day for the Tambopata Research Center, six hours upriver inside the national park. There were two check points where we had to show our passports. After the second one we no longer saw any more people or settlements or goldmining or logging. Here the wildlife comes first and Rainforest Expeditions owns and runs the research station, which was there prior to formation of the park. As a research station, they were allowed to stay. I can't recount all the wildlife we saw on the boat trip and at the lodge, but a few highlights were the six different monkey species we saw, the myriad of mackaws, parrots and parakeets gathering at the clay lick, the Tapir we saw from the canopy tower, the boa that Amy spotlighted on our nightwalk, the capybaras (the largest rodent in the world), the wood stork and skimmers and egrets and toucans and honeycreepers. And last but not least, the beautiful trogon.
Our trip out was exciting as the water had risen 7 meters in the preceeding few hours making the river choppy and filled with logs and debris. Altogether it was an unfogettable adventure that this entry fails to fully describe. And one we'd gladly repeat.
Gotta go for now, to catch our planes. Amy will add more from Buenos Aires.