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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Flora, Fauna and Fishing in the Amazon- Day 573

Dawn was about to break. We stepped into the river boat and little Georgio joined us looking rather tired. Titan drove us out into the middle of the river for a glorious view of the everchanging sky.

The moody indigo clouds together with the vibrant splashes of oranges, reds and yellows gave drama to the scene like a painter releasing her pent up emotion on to canvas.

As soon as the sun rose, the mood softened. Georgio played with some sticks, the wonderful innocence of a child without technology was so infectious that we joined in, seeing who could use two sticks in creative ways. The cacophony of birdsong was increased with our laughter. Georgio is a joy to be with.

After returning for breakfast, Titan took the two of us trekking. No footpaths now as in Tortuguero, this time the real deal with a large sharp machete to hand.

The walk amongst the amazon jungle was tamer than my overly dramatic imagination. What was I aprehensive about? Perhaps the creepy crawlies were camoflaged too well.

A green parrot nearly fooled us. Titan's eyes spotted it amongest the green canopy. How? I will never know.

More birds were added to our list; a red headed manakin, and a wonderful white throated toucan. What is it about these creatures that's so adorable?

The flora also was incredible with gigantic brazilnut trees towering above the palms, creepers with tentricles strangling their hosts and trees with blood red roots. Titan scraped the trunk and red shone out from the bland greygreen bark. This colour of danger showed up a lot; berries, fungi and bodies of spindery spiders, all to be avoided.

A couple of times we heard the eerie call of the howler monkeys. Also the scampering of a mammal through the undergrowth, disturbed by our presence, probably a wild pig. We tried to track it, but it was too quick for us.

Back for lunch and a rest in the hammock. It is rare for me to sleep in the day, but early starts, much positive ions, plenty of oxygen and such a relaxing environment, I quickly dropped off.

Time to go fishing. Georgio joined us and Titan found a quiet area to try our luck at catching some Piranah fish.

Suddenly I saw a grey head rise out of the water. As Titan hadn't heard the usual breathing noise of a dolphin he wondered whether it was a rare manatee. Just as he shared this with me, the iconic shape of a dolphin's fin and arched back crested the gently ripples. Oh well.

Within seconds of dipping my rod in the water I got a bite. Pulling the rod up quickly, nothing there apart from the hook and a chewed up chicken skin. This kept happening for me, whereas Georgio manic bouncing the rod up and down had better results. He caught three in quick succession. Tim also wasn't too successful so we moved to a different location. A

t last I caught a fish, a piranah! It's slimy, firey-red body shone in the sunlight. I carefully grabbed hold, being very wary of its sharp teeth, despite the miniscule size of my catch. No good for dinner, it wouldn't even feed a fly, so it was returned to the river.

Meanwhile Tim was on a roll. One...two...three...four...five, once he caught a fish alive., that's it, as far as the rhyme goes and Tim's success. Sadly all six were too small for our bellies. Back in they went.

Our list of birds continued to grown with Georgio spotting a forked tail flycatcher and us seeing a white winged swallow, some yellow chevroned parakeets, a wattled jacana, savannah hawk and a couple of horn screamers with a screech that resembled an annoyed donkey.

The evening was drawing in and the sun was setting, again not spectacular, so back for dinner and out again in the canoe with Titan to hunt for caiman.

He shone his torch at the riverbank and immediately we spotted three pairs of eyes sparkling back at us.

We sailed out and once again Titan did the impossible, spotting an acid green parrot snake curled up in vegetation.

Usually, when there are more visitors, Titan takes another guide so that one can steer the boat and hold the lamp while the other is ready to pounce onto an unsuspecting prey. Titan had to do this all himself, an art of ingenuity.

The first couple of caimans he missed, Three was definitely lucky for him and he managed to grab hold of a young small black caiman.

Titan was fascinated with these creatures who have outlived the dinosaurs. He showed us that its tongue is fixed to the bottom of its mouth, it closes its throat when under the water and can only eat when above. It has five fingers on each forearm with only three having nails, and four toes which are webbed.

This caiman was a female; not surprising, as 70% of the 50 eggs in a batch usually are female with only a small percentage living to adulthood.

Tim and I both carefully held this small beast. She was much smoother than I had imagined.

After a while, Titan returned her to the river and she lay there with her beedy eyes watching us, then, with a kick of her back legs and a swish of her tail, away she went, probably to share her adventure with her sisters.

We sat chatting in the canoe, listening to the croaking of frogs and starring at the stars with Titan pointing out the constellation of Scorpio. A magical end to a fun-packed, fabulous day.

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