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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Ecuador - 8 November, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Billy Clark Lodge, Rio Napo  S0106.296' W07735.545' 378 m
-  Jungle walk . . . 4 km
-  Canoe ride . . . 1 km
Billy Clark Lodge, Rio Napo  S0106.296' W07735.545' 378 m .
-  Canoe ride . . . 1 km
-  Jungle walk . . . 1 km
-  Inner tube ride . . . 3 km
Billy Clark Lodge, Rio Napo  S0106.296' W07735.545' 378 m .
-  Night canoe ride . . . 2 km
Finish Billy Clark Lodge, Rio Napo  S0106.296' W07735.545' 378 m

Leg 1 Total:

438 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

1,209 km

 

Weather: Mostly clear, sunny and hot.  Clear night sky.

 

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day2_02_PaintedFaces_C39_Web.jpg (115875 bytes)

Today is a very busy day.  After breakfast, they ferry us across the river for the start of our morning walk.  We first visit the home of Tom - an American who has bought up some land here in an attempt to try to save (at least a small piece of) the jungle.  He was fascinating to talk to - he has done lots of conservation work over the years and this time he wanted to do something first hand and directly himself.  We spent some talking to him and he gave us some cocoa nuts to eat the flesh off of.  We also got a chance to try some face painting with the red juice of fruit (Jacqui used it as a child as lip stick).  A few people were well decorated, while others just put on their lips.

 

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Then we head off on our walk.  This time the walk is even more up and down.  For a while we are walking on the edge of a cliff and we can look out into the jungle - one step to the left and you were gone.  Some of the slopes were steep.  One was almost vertical and we climbed down the muddy cliff side by holding onto the roots and using them as footholds.

 

Along the way we saw quite a few different trees and vines.  One of the vines can give you a liter of water from a one meter section - and it has been measured to grow over 1,000 meters.  We checked out the vine that gives the sap for the poison darts.  It tasted very bitter (it is OK to eat, as it only effects you if it gets in the blood) - it is also used for open heart surgery.  We found a wonderful colorful caterpillar, along with some frogs.  The guide made a cut in the Chicken Blood Tree - and we found out how it got it's name.  Sap that looked just like blood started to drip out.  There were many other trees and plants that were pointed out, but we could not remember them all.

 

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After about 4 hours, we arrive at a stream and are told that we will walk down the steam to get back to the river.  This is where you get wet.  Luckily for us, however, it is the dry season, so it is not too deep.  The deepest is up to our shorts.  But when the wellies fill with water, they get very heavy and we are constantly balancing on one foot to empty out the water.  We are at the back of the group and they stir up all the mud, so it is hard for us to see where we are going.  Much of the stream bed is made up of rocks, so we stumble along, trying not to fall in while we think about the orifice fish and worms that we have heard about - not pleasant things to get inside you (we were told by the guide that they do not exist here, but ...).

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day2_09_Stream_TarzanPaolo_C49_Web.jpg (97898 bytes)

At one point we get the chance to act like Tarzan - yes, it seems like you really can swing from these vines!  We carry on down the stream.

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day2_10_Stream_Group_C50_Web.jpg (117512 bytes)

Near where we join the river we meet the boat that will take us back to the campsite.  We empty out our wellies one last time (OK, we did purposefully fill our wellies with water for this picture).  Back at the camp we had lunch and the relaxed for a short while before we headed out for our next adventure (despite further lessons, the parrot did not pick the new words).

 

Then it is back in the canoes for a short ride up the river, where we are dropped off on the other side.  We make a short hike through the jungle and along the way we find a tarantula in an amazing spider web - it was 3-D.  We also had another chance to act like Tarzan, swinging from one of the vines hanging from the trees.  After about 45 minutes we make it to the river, where we are met by the boats and the inner tubes.  We will drift back down the river to our lodge while sitting on (or in) the inner tubes.

 

It turns out to be a blast.  While it does get a bit boring at times when we have to cover lengthy calm stretches, we make up for it with the few rapids.  The first time we went over, we did not hold our butts out of the water and we found out how shallow the water was.  Going through one rapid, Jacqui gets stuck in an eddy at the edge while Lars carries on down.  Lars frantically paddled against the current, trying to keep Jacqui in sight as she tried to get out of the eddy and back into the current.  We were finally re-united after lots of frantic paddling.

 

Then we started to play a game with Paolo and Sarah where we would grab onto tree branches overhanging the river as we passed through a rapid.  We would form a chain of inner tubes and humans, holding on against the strong current.  A couple of times the branches were torn from our grasp.  Jacqui was yanked out of her inner tube by the force as she held onto Lars' ankle.  She was able to get back in without too much trouble.

 

We make it back to the lodge in one piece (but a bit later than everyone else as they were not hanging onto every tree that they could find).  After a quick shower, we relaxed before dinner (still no luck with the parrot).

 

After dinner we get back into the canoes for a short ride up the river, at which point we turn around, turn off the engines and drift back with the current.  This is a great ride, watching the star filled night sky drift by with the sounds of the jungle coming from all sides.  It was fantastic and we got back to the lodge much to fast.  As we approached the lodge, a huge fireball shot up from the beach.  They had lit a bonfire to welcome us back.  Whoosh - once more it went up as they threw more petrol on it.

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day2_12_Camp_Party_C53_Web.jpg (35159 bytes)

Then it was party time.  Out came the jungle juice.  Not quite sure what is in it - it is sweet, served hot and is very potent.  You can easily drink it as the alcohol is masked by all the sugar and lime juice and whatever else they put in it. We all had a few, while we sat on the beach and watched the bonfire and the night sky.  Well, we thought we had drunk them dry, but then they just kept bringing the stuff out and we just kept serving it around.  We had a guy playing  guitar and some of us danced to the music.  After a while, we noticed that a misty fog was coming down the river between the jungle on each side.  It was amazing how it covered everything in its eerie haze, blocking out our view of all but the brightest stars.  It was a wonderful effect.  As the evening carried on we had some singing, more drinking (especially jungle juice) and some more guitar playing.  It was a fun night, but we would pay the price in the morning.

 

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