At dawn we were taken out on the Burro Burro River for a wildlife-spotting boat trip. We saw lots of trees! Also many birds. And a spider, and a frog. That's it. I do like to mess about on the river though, and it was nice to just glide through the jungle with the high banks on either side of the river, listening to the sound of the forest.
The "restaurant" was a permanent cover with a table underneath. There were some bench seats, but most of us just sat around eating on logs on the ground. Jackie cooked up soup with dumplings, followed by chicken, rice and vegetables. As I still had a rather tender tummy, I stuck to the soup with some added rice and bread. Very nice it was too.
Burro Burro River runs past the Carahaa camp. The waters are home to giant otters, caiman, rays and piranhas, to name a few. Not somewhere you would want to go swimming! I was disappointed to see that the water wasn't as clean as I expected, and that there was pollution foam floating about at various stages.
The jungle is obviously very verdant, this is a rain forest after all. Many plants that we nuture at home in small pots, grow to gigantic proportions here, and you see various plants, trees and flowers that you never knew existed. The forest can become rather overwhelming, with the sheer size of the trees and the thick undergrowth, almost as if the jungle is threatening to swallop you up. You can understand how people can be lost in the jungle forever, and how you should never go out for a walk alone!
In this part of the world, ants nests take on enormous proportions. Mind you, the ants are rather large too, and some of them have painful bites!
Unlike in Norway, where I come from, where ants nests are built on the ground, the Guaynese ants seem to prefer a loftier abode. Many ants nests we saw were built high on the trunks of trees, some even right at the top!
Again the facilties were better than expected, I thought we would have to use the bush, but no, a latrine was provided some distance away from the camp. A wooden seat within a partially enclosed shed, even toilet paper was provided. From the path you could see whether the latrine was taken or not, as there was no door on the front.
The excursion to the latrine in the middle of the night was a great experience! Armed with my head torch, I set out to try and find the path, disturbing a night jar in the process. It is mighty dark in the jungle at night! The walk to the latrine seemed five times longer in the blackness of night, but I love being in the forest on my own, so relished this experience!
With us to Carahaa came a few of the satff from Surama, two girls who did the cooking - Jackie and Lisa - plus a few boatmen, and of course, Gary, the guide.
Jackie and Lisa produced the most fantastic meal in this kitchen! When I commented on how well they coped with such basic facilties, Jackie explained that most villagers cook like that at home! I felt very embarrassed about possibly having appeared patronising through my ignorance! Jackie didn't seem to mind though.
Accommodation at Carahaa is in hammocks, suspended under a tarpauling roof. I chose the hammock nearest the jungle, as I wanted to spend the night, knowing that between me and acres of wild, virgin rainforest, was just a thin mosquito net! What an experience! I have spent the night in a hammock before, and I sleep remarkably well in those contraptions, so I was really looking forward to the night spent at Carahaa.
I was not disappointed! The sounds of the jungle at night, the incredible darkness, the knowledge that there was a wild, wild jungle out there, the wake-up call from the howler monekys in the morning - it was all magical! This really was one of the highlights of the trip!
By lunchtime on the journey to Surama, we have reached Mabura, where we stop at a snackette called 58. Paul suggests we buy a snack here, as lunch will not be until about 4pm when we should reach Surama.
We buy a tasty cheese pasty and some crisps, which we later are very grateful for, as the journey did not quite go to plan. Well, not to Paul's plan anyway.
With many stops along the way for peeing, photography, stretching legs, changing seats, waiting for the pontoon ferry, digging ourselves out of mud seas or pulling others out of enormous puddles, it was actually nearer 9pm before we reached Surama. Lunch then turned into dinner. We had been travelling since 7.15 in the morning, so were jolly glad of the snack at lunchtime.