This morning it is pouring rain. And I mean pouring rain. Like it is a rain forest so what do you expect? This is the start of the rainy season so it is to be expected. How exactly you get a rainy season/dry season when you are on the equator I am not sure but they do.
We are headed off on this hour jungle tour today entitled “Off the beaten track”. It is suppose to show us jungle skills and little seen parts of the jungle. We depart the ship and it is a small group of 15 people who are on this tour. We are put onto this speed boat and head up river. The driver fly’s along at an unbelievieble speed considering that the visibility is almost zero due the heavy rain. Hitting a log or un-marked boat would have spelled disaster.
In about 40 minutes we are well up stream from Manaus and get off on the opposite bank. There is a jungle lodge there but it is not being used because of some sort of family dispute. There we meet our jungle guide “JR” who is an army jungle survival expert and he is to show us the secrets of the jungle.
As we trudge up a large hill away from the river we are immediately swallowed by the jungle. The pouring rain darkens the sky and there we are in the real jungle. A few minutes later we stop at small hole and JR pulls a huge tarantula out off the hole. It is at least 8 inches across. He shows us how blow guns are made, how to make a shelter from palm fronds. Don’t touch the trees they have spikes and bugs. You can’t see the spikes but when you rub against the tree the spikes pop up. Then JR rubs this other tree and banks it a couple of times with his machete and these huge scorpion ants (very deadly) appear. We see an amazing number of things that are in the jungle. Three hours later we slog out of the jungle soaked to the skin, and totally amazed at the things the jungle contains.
I have to say this was probably as close to the real thing as it comes.
Today the ship heads back down stream. We have a couple of more stops on the river. Wow what an adventure.