Lago Pacatura

5 June 2003.

For our Amazon safari we rose early in Manaus and travelled via taxi, boat, bus, and motorised canoe to a jungle lodge 60km South East of Manuas. We took a breakfast with the locals having a Guarrana, sweet potato and banana juice to quickly lube up the digestive tract.

This is the wooden lodge that we stayed at on our first night and was the base for our rain forest escapades.  

Inside were lots of very unusual looking bugs, basic shed like facilitates and whilst they had mossy nets, they didn't seem to work. We woke up to a mossy or two in the net and a mad monkey beating on the roof.

It was also increasingly hot, we had to get used to all day sweat, sticky clothes and mossy repellant.

Jason liked to sit at the front of the boat and would often paddle through the jungle foliage. He would often call back to ask our guide if the red spider or other various insect, that had landed on him was poisonous.

Claire prefered it when he sat here. When he sat behind her, he kept poking her with a stick so she kept jumping thinking it was another bug or spider that had landed on her.

This is a massive water lily pad. They are not everywhere but when you come across them there are lots.

Underneath the leaf are spikes that prevent fish from eating them. The flowers that you can't see only bloom for five days a year. There are roots down to the bottom that hold the lilly in place.

This is Claire with a piranha fish that she had caught on her first time fishing. She caught four in total much to surprise of the guide and Jason who were also in the boat. From then on Jason was called 'Jungle boy' by our guide as he didn't manage to catch anything. ( He was often reminded of this throughout the trip).

The fishing scoreline:

Brazil 2, England 4, New Zealand 0.

The reason Claire has such a scared face on her in the photo above, is because you can see here the tiny sharp teeth of the fish.  The guide and boat driver both had Piranha scars from bites which looked a little nasty. Claire kept panicking and flinging the fish towards the boat for Jason to catch. ( I am not sure whether it was the fact that it was the teeth or the fact that it was another fish I had caught that made him so mad.)

This is a boa-constrictor which was outside our lodge. He had been kept in a box overnight as it was caught eating chickens.  It was a tad angry when they let it go.  Apparently the snake will now not come back.  (Yeah right -we think this goes along with alot of the other Indian stories that we got told.)

We also saw another snake the next day in the jungle. It was a bush master and as the name suggests its quite dangerous. We didn't get a photo of it as it moved quickly and it was hard to see against the foilage. It is also highly poisonous so neither of us was game to chase it for a kodak moment.

This is an old monkey who was resident at the lodge. He is very tame but still had a mind of his own, and kept Claire up most of the night.

Jason played with it for hours without every really developing mutual trust or respect... A very head-strong and cheeky chap.

Believe it or not this is the best photo we have of Amazon mammals. Despite seeing Capuchin Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, Pink Dolphins, Grey dolphins and Jungle foxes, this picture of a sloth is the best we could come up with. We also heard Howler and evening monkeys during our night-time boat ride ( very freaky).

Sloths aren't the fastest moving creatures so the excuses for this photo are limited. They will move one arm at a time and take a minute to move it before contemplating what to move next. It is amazing that it is not extinct as it is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

We also saw numerous parrots, bats and other birds with binoculars.

Just before this picture was taken we had seen pink dolphins jumping. It was a memorable sunset and the perfect end to a fabulous day.

Just as we thought we had already had the best day, we took a boat about 9pm, to catch alligators.  

Jason held two Ginja alligators that were caught by hand by our guide. A baby one and this one which is estimated to be about 3 years old. Alligators feel like a plastic mat to hold. Claire's favourite moment of the trip was watching Jason's face as he first got hold of it.

Lookout Steve Irwin.

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