Friday: 7.30 pick up was fine, our guide for the transfer is Juan. We saw some interesting wildlife on the long drive in, such as rheas, capybaras, caymans, and spoonbills. Some bush fires are burning. But the boat wasn’t there for our transfer up river! After 30 mins, Juan moved the car on to the sand and got stuck! Should be looking for jaguars, but instead we were trying to push a car out of a hole in near 40 degree heat with ash gently raining on us… Got there in the end.
The boat is not luxurious! A tiny cabin, and the bathroom has very brown river water. But the air con is good, and so is the food. Apparently Steve Backshaw (BBC wildlife presenter) was staying here a couple of weeks ago. Our guide is Flavio, who learned English at a mission school in the jungle with his tribe. Our only fellow traveller is Jan from Sydney – she put 6 dollars on a pot luck bet on the Melbourne Cup and won 52,000! She is very fit for a 72 year old, and seems to have decided to spend her winnings on several wildlife-orientated holidays..
Saturday: Breakfast at 5.30, off in the boat at 6.00. We saw 6 jaguars!!! SIX!! Incredible! Including a courting couple, in the afternoon, they were mating right in front of us. And we saw one more jaguar too In the afternoon.
Sunday: No jaguars this morning. There had been a brief thunderstorm before we set off at 6am, apparently the jaguars tend to take cover. But after such a great day yesterday, we felt relaxed about that, and just enjoyed all the birdlife and other animals. The rain seems to have cleared the ash out of the air, it smells a little fresher. In the afternoon, we were going to head for a different river and look for other things, but there was a call that themating pair had been spotted nearby, so we went to see. Nothing much happened for an hour, then off she went! She seemed to be trying to get rid of him, but he simply followed her every move. She went down into the river, and swam a few yards, before climbing out and going back into the bushes. By the sound of it, they were soon best of friends again (100 times a day, for a jaguar in season…).
We decided to go downstream again looking for toucans, and instead spotted a female jaguar climbing out of the water having swum the river. We followed her progress through the rustling grass for 5 minutes until she came to another beach, which she kindly walked along slowly right in front of us, even sat down for a drink- great photo opportunity!
We did then spot some toucans, with their luminous yellow bills; And just as I was asking Flavio if there was much chance of spotting giant river otters, three appeared! One had just caught a fish, and fed on it right in front of us.