29 today and bitten on the arse by red fire ants

Trip Start Jun 12, 2006
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Trip End Jul 01, 2007


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Flag of Brazil  ,
Sunday, November 5, 2006

So the first time in years I haven't got completely hammered on my birthday. I was so tied after a long day of trekking that I had one beer and got off the sleep.

After my 20 hour bus journey from Rio to Campo Grande I was jumped on by 6 or 7 tour guides looking for business.

I decided to go with the most chilled out bloke who said tale your time and come and see me in a bit. The tour was only 65 dollars for 4 days, which seemed really good value and included fishing, horse riding, boat ride and many treks.

In Campo Grande I met Sammy (an ozzie) and Siobhan (Irish chick) and have been travelling with them since down to BA.

Two hours rest and I got on another bus for the middle of the Pantanal. The Pantanal is the remains of an ancient sea and now the biggest wetlands in the world with the most wildlife per square mile in the world.

After the three hour ride I got my first sight of two macaws in the sky, I hadn't seen any all through my trip so far. A jeep waited for us when the bus dropped us off and this took us down a long dusty road into the wetlands. Along the way we had a glimpse of what we were in for, hundreds of birds and the occasional animals running across the road.

After 30 mins we arrived in the camp, quite basic but running water and sheltered rooms with hammocks.

After a couple of beers it was time to sleep, knowing it was a 5 o'clock start. At 4.30 a bell rang waking us all up, this was well before sunrise, but gave me the opportunity to watch the sun come up across the Pantanal and hear the Howler monkeys in the distance.

The morning saw our first trek through grass and woodlands on the way we were lucky enough to see two pumas, run across the front of the jeep, the guide had not seen one in months!!!! Bugs constantly bit me and I had the unpleasant experience of being bitten by fire ants on the are. Not very nice I can tell you!!! We lots of bird life, caimans, but the highlight of the morning was the Giant Otters. A group was in a large lake, the guide ran down and started making noises at them, they responded with a similar noise.I have great video footage, but the pictures down do justice to the size of these animals, the are massive.

In the after we took a boat ride and swam in the rivers. Along the way again so many birds, including osprey, hawks, herons, cormorants, eagles and parrots. We saw lots of Caimen in the river and our first views of Capybara, again we also saw some giant otters.

The next day after zero sleep we went Piranha fishing, probably the highlight of the four days for me. The guide chopped up cow heart and we put it on the end of our lines. After only a minute in the water you can feel the buggers bitting and with a swipe out the water a piranha pops up on the end of the line, making a loud winning noise. After a while we were catching them so frequently we had to throw back the small ones. What was even funny about it all we were bare legged in the water with the them swimming around us and caimans in the close waters, the guide seemed alright with it all, but a couple of us got a nimble from the Piranhas. I had a mossy bit on my left leg, on bugger tock a little nibble, bit a shock but didn't draw blood.

The afternoon we spent horse riding, the first time I had ever done this and I really enjoyed riding across the plains.

On the way back was a huge storm, we all got drenched and late night I slept like a baby. 4am in the morning we got up for a night hike, spotting foxes and more caiman and the last day we did another hike, spotting an armadillo and blue macaws.

All in all a great experience and got close to the Galapagos for a complete wild life experience.

After a delayed bus journey, we just made are over night bus south to Igassu falls on the Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil border.
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