Only me and Andrea took the optional Amazon tour, we met up with 3 other people from GAP at the airport. Tasmin and Bruce brother and sister from london and Andy also from London. The flight was only 30 mins and took us from the high andes at 2300m to deep into the amazon Jungle just 20m above sea level. Wow what a differnce, it was hot and humid, very hot and very humid. The moisture in the air was immediately sucked into my skin, hair and clothes as soon as i stepped foot off the plane. A small motorised canoe took us down the Madre de Dios river, passing Puerto Macdonaldo once a thriving gold mining town. Civilisation got less frequent and after 45 min we arrived at the lodge. The lodge was really new, only open to the public for 2 weeks, there was a huge swimming pool which would have been fantastic in there was water in it, they were due to fill it the day we left, typical! Our Guide was Klaus he was really nice, lives in Cusco and is studying about birds and wildlife, he was really informative.
He showed us to our lodge, me and Andrea were sharing a detached bungalow, windows on every wall, no glass just wire netting, the view through every window was of plants, huge trees and banana plants, this was definetely the jungle! Klaus took us on a short trail around the grounds, it took us about an hour. Mosquitos were everywhere, it was the first time i needed to use my bug spray and as soon as i smelt it it reminded me of working in Austarailia on the banana plantations, at least this time i wasnt working and could just enjoy myself. We walked through swamps with wellies that were provided, Klaus stopped us as we hear a loud noise, he told us it was the howler monkeys but they were too high in the trees to see. It was creepy to think of how many eyes were watching us right now.
The humidity was almost unbearable and as soon as i got under my mosquito net on my bed i rested my eyes...2 hours later i was awoken by Andrea telling me it was time for dinner. I joined the group for a lovely dinner, soup, chicken and potatoes, food was good here but spicy food is rare and i was craving a good curry from home, pepper isnt even put on the table and you normally have to ask. The group of people were nice but Bruce just reminded me of Alan Partridge, all his manarisms were alike and every sentence ended in a punchline all of which not funny. But i laughed just because of his similarities and this seems to encourage him, ha so funny. After coffee we took a night walk, it was the same trail but obvoiusly different for starters it was pitch black.
Im not the biggest fan of creepy crawlies and after 5 mins Klaus stopped tolook at a huge tarantular, this made my hairs stand on end and after that every branch i brushed past was a potential critter! A nice shower calmed me down, there is no hot water in the lodge so the cold woke me up a little but not for long, electricity only runs until 9pm so with the darkness i fell asleep. The noise in the jungle was so intense, it seemed to get louder and louder but i slept not problem, the humidity seemed to send me into a trance.
Day2. The sun and heat woke me early, i took a walk down to the river before breakfast. It was orange in colour due to the mud, the rain seemed to break away the banks of the river and trees were pulled away and dragged downsteam, the flow was really fast.
I saw a kingfisher flying from flower to flower along the banks, Puerto Macdonaldo has the highest record for bird sighting in any one area and has 10% of the worlds parrot population (full of facts me!) I thought how i would have loved to be on the Amazon river but this was good enough and better than nothing, it was great to experience the jungle. Breakfast was lovely and we were joined my a german filmcrew we watched some of their footage on the monitor, Jabiru Storks, Roadside hawks and Herons. Our day today would be spent on the Sandoval lake but to get there we would have to take a 2 mile walk down a sandy path, we it would be a sandy path in 2 months but it was the rainy season and the once samndy path was not a mud fest! It was so hard to walk through and took what seemed like ages i felt so sorry for Andy he was a size 14 feet and the largest wellies they had were a size 12, two times small and with no socks was a nightmare for him, bless! The walk was worth it thou, we hopped into a small canoe and Klaus and his helper paddled through the swamp before arriving in the lake.
We came to see the Giant river otters, there was only one family of 4 here and so hard to spot but within 10 mins we could hear them and they were nearby, Klaus paddled as quick as he could but they had gone, so close. As we paddled to the opening i could see the vastness of the lake, really huge surrounded my trees reflecting in the still water. We stopped on the bank for lunch but Klaus told us to hurry as there was a storm coming in about 15 mins, i could see the black clouds on the distance and sure enough in 15 mins it was pouring down, we took shelter under a viewing tower and i was kept amused by the colourful butterflies. The storm didnt last long and we got back in the canoe, i spotted something in the water, we had seen pirahnas before jumping to in the water but this was different it was the otters again, i could only make out there heads a little they were so far away it wasnt worth trying to catch up to them them were too far.
We paddled back to the mud path, it was just as hard going back and maybe worth because i knew what to expect. Another lovely dinner followed by an early night again, there was nothing else to do,with no electricity!
Day 3. Travelled back to the airport via the motorised canoe, it was so relaxing to ride upstream. My mind seemed to clear of any thoughts or worries. I really enjoying the jungle, the humidity was hard for me, i realise now i dont fair well in really hot conditions but it was great experience. Flew back to Cusco to rejoin the group.