The wonders of modern communication and night time canoe ride.

Wed 20 Apr 2016 23:23
Many times Rob and I have marvelled at modern communication technology. We can keep in touch with you all from the middle of an ocean and talk with you by mobile phone from the bar in an Ecuadorian yacht club while looking at Zoonie moored mid river. We have never taken it for granted. Which is why we know we must now wait patiently until the lines of communication are restored and we will learn how Bahia has fared and whether we still have our lovely marine home.

Bahia is only a few miles from the epicentre of the terremoto and we know 11 people died and numerous buildings have collapsed including the home of marina manager Juan.

It seems odd that Zoonie went through a powerful quake without us.

Marcel and Andrea were understandably worried about their children in Guayaquil even though they knew they were OK they could not be sure there wouldn't be another quake or after shocks. So they chose not to join us on our last meander through the jungle.

The splash we heard could have been an otter, there are giant ones around here, or a dwarf cayman. Many of the forest animals are timid and elusive. Raoul told us that nocturnal cameras pick up deer, black panthers, jaguars, tapirs, pecary in abundance but we were satisfied just to see their tracks, especially the big pussy cat ones.

We spotted a well camouflaged leaf toad, a relative of the cane toad, and a bright green lizard hiding under a leaf.

Raoul took hold of a long green stem with a round cross section and shook it vigorously. It separated into a fan of pale yellow, centimetre fronds, "and this is what Panama hats are made from!"

Eventually we emerged into a clearing where the large thatched huts of the Yakukawsay Kitchwa Centre had been built as an educational experience. One was full of carved life sized examples of the indigenous animals. The manatee is now endangered with only 26 left in Ecuador but the river turtles are being farmed and returned to the wild in big numbers by the locals.

Raoul led us down hill to the creek and the wooden canoe that would return us to the Napo shore and our big canoe. A shy young lad paddled at the stern while Raoul worked away at the front. We saw some of the same species I have mentioned but as darkness fell we could just make out bats feeding on fish from the water around us.

Back on board the ambience helped keep our spirits up and we enjoyed another delicious meal prepared on board from local produce before Juan Carlos presented us with our Amazon Explorer Certificates and Raoul gave us a slide show of the weekend.

It was a fine experience, deep in the jungle with a lovely group of people passionate about the area.