Lake Cocococha

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The dilapidated bird hide on Lake Cocococha.

The rainforest decided to give us a reprieve from the rain for a change, so we grabbed the opportunity to set out to Lake Cocococha with our sleeping bags and hammocks.  Since arriving in Peru, Daniël and I have been looking forward to see this oxbow lake for ourselves.  Oxbow lakes form through fluid dynamics and erosion in the flat Amazon.  The meander or bend in a river is created when the fast flowing water on the outer bend erodes the bank on that side while the slower flowing water on the inside bend of the river deposits sand and soil expanding the bank.  The sedimentation eventually cuts off the bended section of the river as the river follows a new path, creating a free-standing body of water.  In time, the lake stabilises and forms a whole new ecosystem where the water is clear and slow moving, providing the perfect habitat for Black Caiman, Giant River Otters, many species of fish and water birds. Continue reading

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Stormy Surprise

A storm approaching.

A storm approaching.

We have been trying to go to Lake Cocococha for nearly three days now without any success.  Every time we are ready to set off to the lake to do the bimonthly caiman search, heavy rain and wind prevents us to do so!  Rain is part of the Amazon experience and usually we won’t mind it, but when wind comes into play, it becomes a whole new ball game. Continue reading

Roughing it in the Jungle

Tambopata River

Tambopata River

So, yesterday the manager, the barman and the storeman decided to all leave for Puerto Maldonado, taking the recently broken generator with them.  They were going to take the water pump as well (after it “drowned” during the weekend’s flooding) but when Topher (the husband of one of the visiting researchers) got the thing working, they decided to leave it behind.  Unfortunately not long after they left, the pump broke again, leaving us without water and power.  With the other three resident naturalist also in town, this place is now a ghost town (except for the 28 researchers living on the outskirts of the property which mostly keeps to themselves) with no guests and no staff except for two 18 year old boys that like to get high and drink between their chores. Continue reading

Food and Company

Daniel, Arana and Stafan having fun on a rusty tuk-tuk

Daniel, Arana and Stefan having fun on a rusty tuk-tuk

The best thing about staying in the Tambopata Rainforest is the people and the food.  The people are friendly and very willing to teach you about their environment and their language.  They LOVE being active, so we play soccer and volleyball every afternoon until dark and sometimes even then.  Try hitting a volleyball when you cannot even see your hands!  The laughs are endless, making up for the fact that we cannot understand each other. After every evening of playing volleyball, you are covered in sweat, mosquito and sandfly bites and if you’re really unlucky, chiggers – small mites that burrow under your skin where they conveniently feast on your skin for the next few weeks. Let the Chinese torture commence! Continue reading

Peruvian flights and everything nice…

The Andes Mountains as seen from the airplane

The Andes Mountains as seen from the airplane.

Our trip to Puerto Maldonado (the closest town to the lodge where we are staying) was eventful.  We arrived at the Lima airport only to be told that they sold our seats!  I threw a bit of a tantrum after which we were given seats on another flight 4 hours later with complementary McDonalds – how delightful!  We moved to the ticket line to collect our tickets and were told we were in the wrong row!  I completely lost it and ended up arguing my way onto an earlier flight via Cusco – sorry Daniël, no McDonalds for you! Continue reading

The Beginning of our Peruvian Adventure

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Tambopata Nature Reserve as seen from above.

Growing up, both my husband, Daniël, and I had the dream of one day going to the Amazon. We wanted to live and work there for a few months at least in order to experience the natural life and culture there.  After three years of planning, waiting, changing our minds, and anticipation, we finally went to Peru. We were given the chance to participate in a Resident Naturalist programme for four months in exchange for room and board. Our responsibilities would be to continue the monitoring and research there that has been ongoing since 1975.

Growing up, both my husband, Daniël, and I had the dream of one day going to the Amazon.

Arriving in Tambopata Reserve Nationale has been everything we hoped for and more, as well as nothing we hoped for.  So far we experienced just about anything the jungle can throw at us including going for a week without a shower because the water pump got washed away by the river after heavy rain; getting bitten by all sorts of weird and wonderful insects including mites, lice, mosquitoes, chiggers, sand flies and wasps (twice on the first day and it wasn’t fun); falling UP stairs after I decided to run as fast as I can to get my camera to capture a Tamarin Monkey; getting cramps in my leg resulting in me not being able to explore my surroundings; freezing our asses off in the bungalows at night experiencing Friajes (8 degrees Celsius cold spells, which are highly unexpected in the Amazon); and finally having a shower while sitting on the toilet because we have a convenient hole in our roof that allows the rain to flood our bathroom. We are in a constant state of itchiness, sweatiness, wetness, pain, and elation; all part of the fun and the experience.

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