Ecuador

Night time jungle walk, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.

Torches in hand, it’s dark in the jungle, each evening of our visit to Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, along with our guide—remember we didn’t go anywhere without him(!)—we took the boat up the river to the Laguna Grande.

Near the entrance to the lagoon we saw  fresh water dolphins feeding.

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Fresh water dolphins in the Cuyabeno River

And on the lagoon itself some tour members went swimming. Not me! It’s a habitat full of  people-eaters; people-eaters like anacondas, and piranha, and caiman. And as you can see from the photos the water is black with sediment. It does make for beautiful reflections but it would be impossible to see any attackers approaching.  Nope, the Laguna Grande’s not for swimming, not when you’re me. But John, who swore before we got there that there was no way he’d be going in any water in Amazonia, couldn’t resist.

Apparently it was very warm. But, I noticed he only went in the once.

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Sunset on the Laguna Grande

One evening the boat wound through the trees to shore and we went for a walk in the jungle, in the twilight, to see what we could see—maybe a snake or two, maybe a tapir, or a tarantula. (As you know from my last post we did see a boa from the safety of the boat). Did I mention it was raining? No? It rains a lot in the jungle and it teemed down just as we started on our walk. It was too wet even for iPhoneography. The rain didn’t dampen our guide’s enthusiasm, he loves this place.

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Rain clouds at sunset, over the Laguna Grande, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador

To describe this expedition as fun would be a little misleading. It was sweaty under my rain  poncho, the ground was slippery, and it was dark under the canopy of the trees.

We saw lots of spiders and frogs and bats swooping low over the water. But the rain meant the larger animals stayed out of sight. At the furthest point from the boat our guide asked us to turn off our torches. John was standing right beside me and I couldn’t see him, or hear him breathing. It was dark like a dark I’ve never experienced, including the New Zealand bush at night. It was noisy too. The wildlife makes a racket, frogs and insects all announcing their presence; in the far distance monkeys were calling to each other.

In those few seconds, I heard something crashing about amongst the trees. But nobody said anything. Perhaps it was only my heart thudding dangerously BUT our guide did switch on his torch and announce that it was time to return to the boat. And, he seemed in a hurry to me.

The dark was deeper now, my torch wasn’t really up to the job. There were roots and steps and holes to trip over or fall into. It goes without saying, I suppose, that if anyone in that tour group was going to fall into a hole it would be me. And I did. Right in—to knee depth.

It hurt. I wanted to have a good cry. Any other time or place after a fall like that I might have. And I’d have checked myself for injuries. Not there. Who knows what people-eating creature might have been lurking at the bottom of that hole, lying there in wait for someone like me. I was up and on my way to our boat before you could say Jack Robinson!

Back in the boat, the rain clouds were retreating but the sun had set. It was night. The boatman navigated by torch-light, the sort of torch I needed in the jungle—supersized.

Would I do it again? Of course. But maybe without falling in the hole. It wasn’t fun but it was exhilarating; and I survived! What a miracle.

For more walks around the world visit Jo’s Monday Walk

19 replies »

    • Hi there Barbara, Down here, around the coast of New Zealand and out on the water it’s quite common to see dolphins. But freshwater dolphins are a strange idea for me, too. They did look different, their beaks (is that the correct term?) seemed quite long and their skin has a pinkish tinge.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It looks so serene and beautiful, Jill, but you set my nerves on edge just thinking about those lurking creatures. I’m a wuss, but a good natured one. 🙂 Thank you very much for adding your rich adventures to mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really should be commiserating with you for that falling-in-the-hole thing but truthfully, I laughed all through the post because of your witty way of putting things :A
    The pictures are lovely, Jill and IF at some point in my life I decide to go to a jungle, I’ll take a super sized torch!

    Liked by 1 person

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