Manu and its river.

Trip Start Nov 03, 2012
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30
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Trip End Dec 31, 2012


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Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, November 30, 2012

Mornings are a drag.
Unless they drag you out of bed, into a car and throw you bodily into a boat headed into the amazon.

Even then.
5am is a bit much.

The drive took us down further out of the cloud hill onto the basin floor where we met a pilot and his co, who would spend the majority of the day in charge of us and a craft winding between minor rapid and major obstacle to our destination, the SAS camp, one of 5 or so camps allowed on this stretch of river.

We arrived at a small community on the river the consisted of a few family shops, restaurants and boat building/hiring companies that plied their trade up and down this Amazonian tributary.
Our captain, his mate (possibly his son) and our boat were busy, organised and focused. . The boat was nameless but stout and likeable apart from when you attempt to get in and out of her.

It would take an entire day to get to the SAS camp deep in the park and near the giant otter sanctuary so by 8 we were on the water, safety vests in sight, bouncing up and down the turbulent waters headed north. Somehow going down stream while feeling like traveling up hill.

Breakfast was taken on the boat, as was morning tea, lunch and snacks. The only stops we made were when we had calls of nature or photo opportunities from the denizens if the rainforest.
Butterflies have an interesting relationship for example, with turtles, when they come up and sit on the shore or branches, they land on their heads and lick salt from their eyes.
Why?
No idea. But it does mean you can get photos if turtles, covered with butterflies.

After lunch we reached a point where two rivers became one, joining together and heading east and north to join the rest if the Amazon rivers. Here we turned west, away from the fast moving rocky waters, onto what translated as 'mother of god' river. Slow, wide, gentle and murky.
We stopped at the ranger station (one if the few IN the park, most being located out on the borders keeping a watch in who comes and goes.
We logged in and our guide discussed sightings of various animals with the ranger. Seems we would be the only group in the park this late in the season and the previous group who had left the day before, spent much of 2 days seeking the giant otters, fruitlessly.

By half past 3 we had reached a point where the camps began, signposted only if you knew what to look for. Barely perceivable steps cut into turf and mud.
At one such point we were dropped off. Not at our camp but at the one next door as our camp, unvisited for 2 weeks, had experienced a storm and would need 'prep' for our arrival.
It made us feel very 'white hunter' the way the crew deferred to us, often making us feel uncomfortable.
We began a 20-30 min walk, hack, clamber along a noticeable path, stopping along the way to view interesting plants or insects (apart from those buzzing around our head) all the while hearing what sounded like wind through a pine forest - no, apparently its the sound of howler monkeys - before we arrived, almost as if revealed by a curtain, at our camp, accompanied by the sou d if chopping wood. Seems the storm did not only wash away our boarding steps. It had toppled a tree almost straight through our camp. Clipping the dining room/kitchen and filling all available free space with branches.

Camp Renaco

By late afternoon our rooms had been prepared (ours included a weata like 6'insect on the mosquito netting that refused to move) and we settled down to dinner prepared by our cook who was exhibiting more skills than the average, and due to his habit if wearing a chef hat with light (due to poor light conditions in the huts and no electricity) and wearing his apron around his shoulders and tied in front like a cape (for added protection against Mosquitos) we summarised the he was in fact, a superhero.
Powers, sating appetites and providing popcorn.

After the sun went down we went for a night walk, locating opossums, frogs (green tree frogs), toads (the rare horned toad) MANY spiders, as well as having pointed out to us the variety of fungal and plant life that abounds.

That night we slept soundly with only one complaint. The beds, are designed for non European bodies, in that they are about 5'5 at most, meaning at one point, Alexis experimented with sleeping at a 90degree angle (no, not like a Freemason) with his feet pointed at the ceiling. It didn't work.

Mossie bite record. 17.
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