Welcome to the jungle

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Uacari Ecolodge / Mamirauá / Brazil
The more the merrier

After a short stay in Iquitos, to recover from my ayahuasca treatment, I took a boat ride down the Amazon again. All the way to Tefé in Brazil, about 750 miles and over 30 hours by boat, in the heart of the rainforest. I was going to camp out there for a week in a floating hotel in the Mamirauá reserve, an area about as big as Brunei. On arrival I was the only guest, there should’ve been two others but they had missed their plane. Fortunately they arrived later that day so I had some company. During the week it got busier and busier in the Uacari Ecolodge. First we got a new house biologist and later a group of, mainly American, tourists.

Mamirauá reserve / Brazil
My face would be red as a lobster too wearing such a thick coat in the tropics.

Busy, busy, busy

At first I was afraid that being this deep inside the jungle would mean that you’d be bored a lot. But nothing could be further from the truth luckily, because there was an internet connection and a bar. Besides that there was a pretty busy schedule too. With at least every morning and afternoon, but sometimes in the evening too, an activity. Hiking, canoeing, fishing, boat rides, visiting villages, it just never stopped. Apart from the countless and sometimes rare birds, we were mainly searching for the Uacari monkeys, after which our hotel was named. Every day we’d head out in small groups, whereby the group that had accidentally seen the monkeys were welcomed back in the lodge as if they had won the superbowl. Especially if they’d been able to get a picture of these timid animals. But the fact that we saw any wildlife at all was mostly due to the excellent spotting skills of our guides. And between them my guide was the champion.

Mamirauá reserve / Brazil
This is a really small one, but really tasty too.

Plenty of fish in the….river

But what we really hoped for was to run into a leopard. And although there were dozens roaming the area, some day old foot prints were the closest we got to an encounter. By the end of the week I was kinda bored with hiking and cruising down the river, but right about then some variations in the program were introduced in the form of fishing expeditions. First I went spear fishing with my regular guide. I was unsuccessful, but after a few throws he actually managed to catch an Araipaima. The biggest fish on earth with scales, that can grow up to 200 kilos. Catching piranhas on the other hand was far more successful for me, but then again I had some experience doing that. Fortunately I might add, because one of the others lacked experience and underestimated his opponent. Therefore it could take a bite out of his finger while he tried to remove the hook. Welcome to the jungle!

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