Saturday, 30 May 2009

Amazonia Expeditions... poison frogs and a friend

Even though I dropped and broke my travel alarm clock last night I still manage to get up for an early start to my day.  There are again Pink Dolphins playing in the river, and I watch them and a couple of large eagles as I sit on the dock waiting for breakfast.  

Really cool juice with breakfast... and pancakes!

This Am / aft. the jungle is "high ground".  Very humid, very humousy.   Huge plants and evidence all around of animal occupation.   Our goal is poison dart tree frogs.

Up the Rio Blanco, and seven hours mucking about the Jungle looking for these tiny wonders proves fruitful.  Numerous of the thumbnail size poison cuties hide in nooks and crannies, many wearing their young on their backs.   Brilliant red and black frogs.  Highly poisonous.  Florescent yellow and black stripped frogs.  Not quite as bad.  I am told they are only poison when squished, so I make sure to handle them carefully

Our froggy wish list includes the elusive Harlequin frog, known to be sometimes found in the area.  On and on we slog, eyes peeled for the tiny turquoise blue and black frogs with red feet and belly.  This one is not dangerous.  After hours without luck Gerlo is willing to keep going, but I tell him not to worry because if I am really meant to see it then it will happen.  I kid you not, less than five minutes later I pause for breath before a tree trunk laying across my path and I look down just in time to see a Harlequin frog slowly hopping along the trunk.  Gerlo looks with disbelief, and I just say "see what I mean... it was meant to be".

Gerlo gathers fruit pods and places them in the boat with us on the return trip.  Heading along the river I see movement in the trees and shout 'Monkey!"  The trees begin to frantically shake as this creature rushes to meet our boat pulling along side the vegetation.  

Meet Dorilla, rescued from the market as a baby and brought back to the research lodge.  Playful by nature she caused such havoc they relocated her to a corner of the reserve located across from a safe station.  She is checked on daily, and receives food everyday.  Semi domesticated, she takes to visitors well, and allows me to feed her bananas and the ice cream fruit. 

What a sweetie.  Gerlo and Marsielle seems surprised that she became so trusting of me that she actually stuck out her leg to me in as a request to help her with clean off some kind of leg tick / wound.  I rubbed her belly and had her lying out flat as she soaked up my back rub.  Just like a member of her troupe so to speak.  I lost a big piece of my heart to her.

Made a short stop at the safe station and saw a mustached marmoset (rescued as infant), a couple of huge, colourful macaws and a very playful young dog.

Other sightings today?  Many nasty biting ants, a few non-threatening looking spiders.. Blue with red butterflies, moths, and lots of bats.

Have been blessed with another sunny day, and I close my eyes to appreciate the feel of the heat and river breeze on the boat, still not lost despite all the shortcuts we take through the vegetation.

I am pretty sure I am starting to react to the Deet.  Hope I can manage for another couple of days. Lots of thoughts of my very sick mom today, and wonder how she's doing.

There are going to be 30 teenagers at the main lodge tonight (or so I'm told). Figure it will be a noisy human night rather than a noisy animal night.

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