Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 66

Ok so I just spent some of the best days of my trip in SA. My brother and I took a very small prop. airplane to Rurrenabaque or as it is poorly pronounced ¨rubberducky¨ Bolivia. We landed safely on a small patch of dirt known as the Rurrenabaque airport. Shortly after we booked a 3day trip to the pampas region of the Bolivian Amazon. After a 3 hour jeep ride (which we ran out of gas twice) we arrived at the entrance of the park and boarded a long narrow boat with a sweet 15hpr. engine and began our ride upstream. The river was only about 20ft. to 50ft. across and at its deepest point maybe 15ft. Not quite a river but a good stream. The best part about this stream was that there was literally an alligator or five every 10ft. along the bank and I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. Amongst the gators and caimen there were all sorts of birds and huge capybaras. Herons, giant storks, cranes, cormorants, everything. We arrived to our little shanty, complete with individual mosquito nets. In the morning we awoke quite early and took the boat downstream a ways to watch a most beautiful sunrise. Once we returned we ate one of the best breakfasts of the trip. Afterwards we hiked for 5 hours through the thickest tallest grass, nastiest bogs, thickest mud, and the most humid air. Don´t worry though there was good reason. We were snake hunting. After about and hour and a half we reached a small dry area of trees. We walked around for a few minutes and then our guide noticed something. He told us not to move and be very quiet. We did and what he found was a cobra. Yes a cobra. Though Brock and I didn´t actually see it we did try to get it out of its hole in a tree for about half an hour. No luck. So we marched on. As we trodged on we saw many black eagles, pampas condors, and giant storks. After about another hour our guide beckoned us to where he was. In the middle of a shallow muddy pond he found an anaconda. The three of us started circling the area in which it was spotted. Finally he stuck his stick in the water and revealed the snake. As soon as I saw snake I dove down and grabbed the beasts head. After wrestling for nearly a minute I had tamed the beast. A good sized snake it was too. It was about 7 or 8 ft and weighed nearly 50lbs. The guide helped throw the snake over my shoulders for a picture and then he took over. After a few more minutes we released the hog back to his home and marched on. Much like a garter snake anacondas release their waste as a defense mechanism and needless to say like a garter snake it is absolutely foul. One of the worst stenches I have ever encountered. When we retuned we had another amazing meal and watched the sunset from a small jungle bar on stilts. After the sunset we returned to camp and I began frog hunting. This was as easy as shooting fish in a cup. Frogs are about as abundant as gators. Almost as abundant. I caught and photographed many different species of frogs and I think I may have discovered a new one or two. The following day went to watch pink river dolphins and catch pirahnas. The pirahnas were small and very hard to catch but their giant jaws and teeth made it worthwhile. Soon after we returned to pack up and head home. On the way back from fishing within about 5 or 6 minutes we counted over 67 gators/caimen and that was only the ones we could see. We made it back to Rurrenabaque without incedent and are now awaiting trasport back to La Paz. Hope everyone back home is enjoying summer as much as me. Later.