The sun was still beating down as we pushed off from the jetty. We were now wearing long sleeved shirts and pants for the moment the mosquito’s clocked on a little later, deet having been smeared to exposed skin. As was sunblock.
I helped Alex paddle as we broke bow water toward the opposite side of the lake. There was some shade cover on that side, as I gathered my stroking technique from the good old dragon boating days. Made me feel young again, although I was being careful not to dip the right hand grip under the surface. Deet is water proof but limited only against living creatures above the murky brown stuff.
Once across, we slowed the pace to nigh a stand still. Different birds featured more, whether basking in the sun or scrounging along the foreshore. We’ve seen on National Geographic how croc’s leap from the shallows to gobble feathered species in one mouthful and wondered if we would get to see such in real life by a Caiman. It wasn’t meant to be.
We spotted monkeys from tree tops and deep inside the jungle, the Howler Monkeys were echoing their hollows to warn off others from swinging into their territory. Three groups were going for it. It sounded more like truck passing traffic.
The Hoatzin was a deep inhaling breathing bird that snorted at us whenever we flowed passed them.
A number of other canoes with other patrons were also sharing the lake. A group had congregated so we made headway to join them. The family of Giant Otters (over 2 metres in length) were feeding on captured piranha’s. The noise of crunching bones from teeth on bone was loud, drowning out the click of camera’s by the spectators. No one from any canoe spoke as the we watched the episode repeat itself, as each otter faced skyward munching their prize.
As the daylight faded, the noise of the jungle started to sing with crickets and frogs. Wrinkles in the water became more regular as insects were being chomped by surfacing fish. More fading and then bats started to appear, darting and diving above the water in hunt of any winged flying insect. They became black blurs as we watched the sun disappear on the horizon.
Alex guided the canoe inland. With head torches on, light was directed to under the over growth on the shoreline, looking for Caiman. They were easier to spot. Their iddy biddy eyes reflected orangey red when light hit them. Like a red eye flash photograph sometimes with people.
It didn’t take long to make the call, “there’s one” pointing in the direction.
Again, a maneuver to vanish the front of the canoe into the undergrowth. Unbeknown to us, Alex quietly prodded his oar deep into the water. I’m sure our language spoken and Alex’s laughter is still echoing around the lake as the Caiman jolted vigorously to splash water profusely, so as to escape. We simultaneously clutched each other swearing and screaming. I swore, Claire screamed. Alex laughed.
Get the first stain of your undies over and done with and then everything else becomes more enjoyable!
Which it was. We hunted more eyes; sometimes got close; sometimes not; sometimes prodded; sometimes not, all the way along the foreshore to arrive at our jetty. There was one place where the their eyes outnumbered ours, three to one. We didn’t venture into that undergrowth!
And just before we disembarked, dozens of monkeys were moving in the trees. We couldn’t see them with our head torch but boy, they were making a hell of a noise – similar to millions of locusts plaguing a field.
We sat eating dinner reflecting on what was. There was no other people staying and therefore, we had the whole lodge to ourselves. It was kind of weird but cool. The electricity is powered by generator and only comes on between the hours of 5pm to 9pm. Then it is pitch black darkness.
By the time that happened, we had cold showered and was safely tucked up under the cover of the mosquito net. The key, not to shine the torch on purpose to look things.
The sound of the night was the best music to put one to sleep.
We wondered if the Howler Monkeys ever do?