Saturday, February 2, 2008

Piranha Fishing

In the Amazon we were priviledged to see lots of amazing animals and plants. We were only ten minutes into our first canoe paddle when we came upon a sloth making his way up a tree. Unlike a zoo, the animals never remain in the same place. So, you find yourself wanting to stay and stay, just looking at something you may never see again. Sure enough, it was the only sloth sighting in the last few months.
On the first morning, I took the boys on a nature hike. While we were out Kim lounged in the hammock with Jessie. Three Giant Otters swam up to the dock and wrestled for a while before setting out again. What makes this rather extraordinary is that this view was even rarer than the sloth. Only 2,000 of the endangered otters remain in the world and Kim enjoyed three of them. Needless to say, the other guests were more than jealous.
We saw four types of monkeys, many of which played tag in the trees above our lodge. We saw around seventy bird species that we have never seen before. And we observed the Blue Morph butterfly darting about the river banks.
We had two sort of ¨rights of passage¨ experiences for the boys. The first entailed going out at night looking for caimans, alligators. During the day, for the most part, they hide in the marshy edges of the lagoon and creeks. So, with a big battery operated flashlight we set out to spot the red eyes of caimans lurking in the water. Nothing like being in a low canoe, with fifty red eyes all about you. Both boys were between my legs as we paddled up (within reason, Grandmas and Grandpas) towards the caimans for a better view. A portable blood-pressure indicator would have revealed increased pulse for all of us.
The day before we left I went out with the boys for a little pirana fishing from the canoe. Just a bamboo pole, line, a hook and some red meat is all you need. Drop it in, wiggle the line and pull up when you feel a tug. Up close, those little guys are pretty cool. And, yes, their teeth appear really sharp. Since it was catch-and-release, it was nice to have the guide in the boat to do the ¨release¨part. However, I did not anticipate the fiestyness of the pirana, enough to get itself free of the hook and flip about the floor of the canoe... one of those times you wish you were not in your sandals.

1 comment:

lyndsayslaten said...

amazing. amazing. absolutely amazing!! in the words of pierce pettis, "hold on boy, you're gonna need this memory"...!!!

send some stinking pictures!!! (says nathan)

send an update about your time with carolina! (says lyndsay)