Floatie, Floatie, no Splashie Splashie
Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
117Trip End Ongoing
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We had heard great things about Bonito, a beautiful cave with spectaclar rock formations and a dark blue lagoon, plus the opportunity to snorkel for a kilometre or two in crystalline tropical river waters with lots of fish. Arriving there in the evening, Ed and I spoke some Sportuguese (Spanish/Portuguese) to organise a room and tours for the next day. Our spotless room had comfy beds, private bathroom with hot water, cable TV all for the princely sum of $15USD. Also had the decor and ambience of a garage with metal roller-blinds on the windows and doors - extremely secure!
Next morning and the 5 of us were squashed into a taxi on the way to our snorkelling spot of Rio Prata
Fed and rested, we met our "English-speaking" guide, Marco. To be fair, he could say "over here" "OK" and "follow me" - all pretty essential when you are snorkelling down a river together. A super-nice guy, he sported a Wolverine-like hair style and sideburns, goofy grin and a baseball cap, but strangely enough the combination worked well for him.
Kitted up in our skin-tight wetsuits and wetsuit booties, the Irish team, Ed, myself and two Brazilians jumped on the back of the ute to get to the river. A bonus of the trip was a 1km walk to the river through beautiful dry, tropical forest. On this short walk we spotted a deer, two monkeys and various birds. Felt strange walking in the booties.
Slipping into the 25 degree water, my fears about getting cold were a little diminished. Here Marco uttered the immortal words:
"Floatie, floatie, not splashy, splashy"
and off we went
Within five minutes we had seen at least ten fish each and couldnīt believe the clarity of the water. Around this time, Marco decided I was the translator for the English speakers, probably because I nodded and smiled enthusiastically due to nerves and excitement and picked up on a key phrase "Tudo Bem" or "Tudo Bem?" ("Everything good" "Everything Good?") a little quicker than the others. His other English phrase was "pee, pee?" when we had a break on the river bank.
What an afternoon! It was blissful floating gently down the river with trees dangling from the banks. We really lost all sense of time but it was a thrilling yet relaxing experience. So many types of fish, big, small, bright, dull, slow, fast - and all of them seemed totally unaware we were there, they would swim right in front of our masks.
Another first for us was an underwater digital camera we hired as a group. Ed of course was the main man for the job. I got my hands on the camera near the end and went crazy with it. Weīre pretty pleased with how the photos turned out.
At one point of the journey, the river deepens into an area where you can dive down to see the water bubbling out of the sandy river bottom
Finishing the trip, we raced away from the riverbanks but not before some sandflies had a munch on us. All of us were absolutely delighted with the experience and couldnīt believe what a great time it had been.
Visited the Laguna Azul (blue lagoon) in our sexy hard hats with our Irish friends, and Ed got busy with his camera. We were surprised about how much Portuguese we were understanding from the guide. Apparently the blue colour was from the light shining into the cavern not the water, but it was beautiful. I was a little underwhelmed and thought the experience overpriced, but caves donīt generally thrill me (glow-worms are nice īthough!).
Quick lunch and Ed and I farewell the Paddies and start a series of bus journeys which will take us down to the famous Iguazu Falls.