It was just beautiful.

We were back in the canoe, sitting on the lake.  In a trace towards the horizon.  Oblivious to everything else that was going on.  Except the sun set.

The natural candle slid off the sky line silhouetting the distance Palm trees.  It was as if they were all candles simultaneously extinguished.  More than the one Claire did at breakfast.  In-fact, a heap more than the number of years she celebrated, having reached.

And then it was gone.

Sunset over Lake Sandoval.

Back on dry land, we left the confines of the lodge and walked off into the surrounding jungle.  A night walk.  Alex advised to stay close, with his machete in one hand.  More images conjured up of getting hacked up.  Again, happy to write, it wasn’t meant to be!

Head torches darted at the ground, to the sides into the fauna, or upwards to overhanging plants or tree trunks.  We had no idea what we were going to see, something was better than nothing and by now, we were experienced jungle trekkers.

Alex halted, asking us to turn off the torches.  In-front of us, little streaks of flame flirted just above our heads.  It was there, then it went complete darkness, to then be there again.  They were fire flies lighting up their butts to attract a mate.  Super cool.

Onward we trod.  The first spider was like a New Zealand garden spider.  It’s eyes lit up like the Caiman except there were eight of them.  Once Claire had seen it, she became the best insect spotter the remainder of the night trek.  Even Alex offered her a job as a guide by the end of it.  Claire politely declined – with good reason.

She spotted a centipede that has the bite of 1,000 bee stings; more spiders, grass hoppers and crickets.  Alex discovered a black scorpion.  Getting a photo was achieved with persistence using a stick because the venom it packed if pricked into human flesh could mean severe illness and sometimes turning your toes up.  We saw the biggest ant we have ever seen, the Bullet Ant.  They wander the vegetation solo and another insect to avoid so as not to come into contact with.

Leaf climber sharing a ride up.

Grasshopper.

Stick insect.

The Bullet Ant – approx 3 cms long.

A spider that looks similar to a New Zealand Garden species.

The elusive Black Scorpion – beware!

The Centipede with 1,000 bee stings sting.

The home of a Cicada having left it’s residence.

We stopped at the trunk of the Brazillian/Peruvian Nut Tree.  Our torch lights didn’t even make a flicker of reflection from it’s canopy, it rose so far up to the heavens.

Perhaps the one insect that stood out above them all was the Leaf Cutting Ant.  The trail they stomp can be hundreds of meters from their nest.  We observed a continuous line of photosynthesis green trickling down the trunk of a tree.  Harvesting from dusk till dawn.  Come back during the daytime and all you see is the trodden ground where their feet have imprinted.  They were super cool.

The Leaf Cutting Ant in column.

Back at the lodge, we popped a beer to raise and acknowledge a birthday day like no other.  Where being in the presence was certainly a gift.

Sure we didn’t see all the things you scare yourself shitless with when you google images of things you might encounter.  We were contented with what we had.  And more so, done.

It must have been enough, we didn’t even make the 9pm lights out when the electricity was shut off.