Friday, July 26, 2013

Spiders and Snakes

Last post I told you somehow we missed the equator and had to backtrack to get pictures.  You know,  the ones where everybody straddles the line and stands in both hemispheres at once. Yeah we do tourist things too.  The information signs in these countries is pretty much non existent so it took us 25 miles to find something 15 miles away.  A lot of circle and stopping to ask led us here.

After the obligatory tourist pose we headed out of town to where the jungle tours leave from.  We checked a few out in Quito and found out they all leave from Lago Agrio, so we figure we would cut out the middleman and book a tour right there.  That was almost a big mistake due to the lack of tourist agencies there.  After going from hotel to hotel and hostel to hostel I finally ran into somebody that new somebody that was family with one of the tour operators.  We didn't save any money but we got on the tour going out the next day.  At 9:00am we got on this bus

After a two hour ride to the end of the road,  we got off the bus and on to this motorized canoe bringing back the last tour group.  Pedro is the guide standing up.

After the road ran out and we got in the canoe,  we headed downriver for two more hours and ended up here.

This is the Cuyabeno River.  This is one of the many rivers that eventually makes up the Amazon river.  
This is one of the headwaters to the Amazon in the Ecuador Amazonas Region


This is the camp built on stilts.  Solar panels for lights in th mess hall and for charging camera batteries.
This place flooded every night it rained, then drained during the day. Picture taken from a 65 foot bird watching tower.
This was our lodge for the week.

This is the four of us on the tour together.  Harold is an Austrian who was kind enough to let us download his pictures since our backup cameras are worthless for taking pictures of animals in the wild.  So, the following animal photos are courtesy of Harold.

This tarantula guarded the dock at the camp.

This tarantula guarded the mess hall.

This little critter was guarding the sink in our hut.

This was the kitchen guard.  These are just around camp, we haven't gotten to the jungle yet.

Anaconda,  the guides told us we won't see any giant ones until next month or so. The ones we saw were about 6-7 feet long.

Falcon way up on the tree top

This sloth was in the top of a tree also.  Good camera Harold had.

Toucan Sam. 

These are called smelly turkeys because they stink so bad you can't eat them.

Another anaconda,  we saw at least five or six of these guys.

This was a six to seven foot caiman. 

This thing was something else.  At first it was so well camouflaged that we swore it was fake.  It's called a Luna bird. It was like a statue.  It didn't move a muscle or a feather.  It just sat there looking up all day toward the moon.  It really looked like part of the tree.

They brought us back in the dark and it actually had its eyes open but still didn't move.  This had to be one of the coolest things we never saw before.

This is some sort of nocturnal monkey that was asleep up in a tree.

We went on a night hike looking for bugs.  If you can, zoom in on this creature.  The guide let it crawl all over him so I guess it won't hurt you.  You can bet I wasn't about to let it crawl on me.

Another snake we found on the night hike.

The lizard king.

This is a howler monkey.  Gets his name from the bloodcurdling scream it makes.

We saw this on the boat ride back from the jungle. Blue and yellow macaw.

The guides demonstrated some parahna fishing even though it's illegal in the reserve.
The top parahna didn't bite the stick but this one bit through like butter. See the piece of stick in his mouth.

The crazed red eyes tell it all

We spent one day at a local indigenous village

62 year old Shaman,  been a shaman since he was 39

Third generation shaman, familiar with the six hundred alkaloids found in the jungle plants, used for healing all kinds of ailments.  
Ever wonder why pharmaceutical companies don't like herbal medicine?  Same reason oil companies don't like alternative energy.

After a visit with the shaman we made some bread out of yucca plant

Pulling up the tubers

Peeling the outer bark off

The grater.  They used to use a plant that had barbs on it.

All four of us got to grate the yucca

Then it was put into this handmade strainer 

Twist and twist and twist.  They use the juice for soup stock.

Out of the strainer into this screen.  This is like flour at this point.  Very dry believe it or not

Next it is put on the clay cooking sheet.

Five minutes on each side and it's ready to eat.  We got three of these out of the one yucca plant. They were about the size of a large pizza but thinner than a pancake.  We had tuna fish and jam to eat and two of these filled us all up.  Pretty good stuff.

After we ate, we had some fun with a blow gun that they hunt with

Returning from the village we stopped at this gigantic Sabal tree

this thing was about forty feet across the base,  you just can't tell from this camera angle.

After a long day it was hammock time........

These are a few sunset shots by Harold and from us.

After a long week in the jungle we headed back on the same bus that brought us to the end of the road.

We are now in Banos, Ecuador after a six hour ride in the rain yesterday.  We are going to dry out here, get some laundry done then go exploring.  Will keep you posted in a few days.  


  1. Hey Guys - loved hearing about your latest travels. We are in Uruguay now and the bikes are on the plane bound for MN. In a few days we´ll head back to the US - sad but exciting at the same time. Hope you enjoy Banos and our prayers are with you. Have a blast on the rest of your trip! Jay y Conor

  2. Looks like you're having a blast. Love and miss you!!

  3. Looks like you're having a blast. Love and miss you!!