Rio Napo 1 (sin moto)

Yay Ecuador!

(most of these pics are from a robust point-and-shoot Canon G15 I’m using with the Cybershot. I miss my little Lumix)

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There’s a reason for being here other than wanting to visit the Amazon forest. It’s in two parts but both require chartering a boat, or two boats.

Ben and I set off early yesterday morning looking for a boat. The back up plan was to find the Harbour Master, or whatever passes for that here. I’ve been worrying for a few days that my plan might not pan out, but we find a boat operator and tell him what we want. He considers it and says part 1, no problem, leave in the morning. Part 2 he needs to talk to someone about. He gets on the phone, we meet someone and have a long technical chat and within an hour we have a plan and I’m not only excited but relieved.

So this morning we’re doing the first part, getting a boat ride down the Rio Napo through the Amazon forest. We meet at 5:30 in the morning here
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Off we go east, downstream into the sunrise
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At times, when the river runs shallow, it’s very wide
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We make our way to the southerly riverbank
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And when it brightens it looks like this – dense and beautiful.
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It rains. Me and our indigenous guide. We can’t remember his name, yikes
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We spend a few hours cruising the embankment to our destination. They’re occasional small villages in the trees
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And once in a while industrial freight, headed somewhere crazy
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We stopped after a few hours and went into the forest. It looked like this
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As you know I like butterflies. Here are some I saw  in the forest and elsewhere today
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On a riverbank
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I only saw one of these and felt lucky to get the pic
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Fabulous
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Very small
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OK, here’s a gorgeous one. On the assumption this butterfly has never ever been seen by man before, I’m hereby naming it (Ecuadorus – bookmark until we find the family name)Ecuadorus lucinda. If no objections appear in the comments below we’ll assume it’s a done deal. She couldn’t believe it when I told her. Now on top of naming Tropical Storm Lucinda (a gale that came through Lake Nicaragua one evening we were there) her international fame grows.
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The butterflies gather on clay to drink
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Quite large, maybe 3 inches. Oops, bad shot
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These ones had ragged wings
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Other things on the forest floor. This frog. But I think it’s a toad
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Our guide said this one is poisonous
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A lizard
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A very large spider that was being attacked by a huge swarm of ants. We freed it up a bit
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This thorny spider was about an inch across (Ben pic)
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And a happy discovery – this huge fellow who’s a very close relative of the spider in Panama we wrote in some detail about. The back markings are different only as far as we could see
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There’s something called a clay lick in a steep ravine where parrots come to lick the surface apparently for potassium. If you click on this image you’ll see a few top right.
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We get back in the boat and our guide takes us to a village where we get a display of native customs from a girl and her sisters. It’s unfortunately not random and they’ve done this before for visitors, which takes the edge off it, but at least we don’t pay for the experience. But anywaIMG_0275y it’s fascinating

We’re given a strange sweet/sour drink from a local plant. It’s unlike anything I’ve tasted and quite good. After a few pulls on it I suddenly think ‘bloody hell, I hope I’m not about to launch into a rip-your-face-off 10 hour ayahuasca trip one country before planned’. I look over at Ben and can tell from his big grin he’s thinking the same thing
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Back on the river again
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We ask the boat guy to stop at a playa on a big mid-river island
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Great walking
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We go and explore the little forest
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Walk around it a bit
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You don’t want to walk in here at night
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Back in the boat
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Off to see some monos on monkey island. I’m a bit turned off by monkeys right now because of a bastard monkey incident that happened to Maddie and me a couple of days ago. Nope, I can’t talk about it. Just imagine what the grossest thing a guy in the street could do in front of you. Anyway, here are a couple of the little creep’s cousins
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This bird is an owl that spends the day parked on top of a post, pretending it can’t be seen. You can walk around it, wave at it, talk to it, generally try and make it move but it won’t. It just stares at you convinced it’s invisible.
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Hanging birds nests. Bigger than the ones in Costa Rica
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Then, 12 hours after we left, we set off for Coca before dark. Fantastic
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A volcano in the distance
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The big day is tomorrow. I’m seriously hoping nothing goes wrong, as it easily could.

Comments

One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Kim,

    love the invisible owl! reminders me of someone i know.

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