Friday, May 16, 2014

Rio Tacana and Tacana village

Apple snail (pic by Mary)
And another of the same
I felt back to normal today!  

We started the day with an exploration of a flooded forest near the Ticuna community of Nova Cruzador.  We were joined by a boy named Saul, son of the the chief of a local Ticuna village called Tacana.  (Normally his mother, Olympia, the chief or his older brother would help guide us, but his brother was stranded in another village and his mother was pregnant and due any day, so we got Saul, who was very cute.

We canoed through a channel in the forest, and spotted lots of creatures, including three lizards (a golden tegu lizard, a Northern Caiman lizard, and an Amazon crocodile tegu), a fer-de-lance (aggressive, poisonous snake), many birds, and various bugs, including a walking stick, a monkey spider, and butterflies.  We also saw some apple snails, sleeping sac-winged bats, and a mysterious monkey which Saul said the Ticuna call a titi monkey.
Blue and yellow macaws (pic by Caryn)
A mealy parrot?  I think... (another Caryn pic)
Trunk of a Giant Kapok tree -- keep in mind, this is in water that is 10+ meters high.  There were two bats sleeping within the "folds" of this tree trunk.
See them? (pic from Caryn)
Here's a close up (also from Caryn)
Mary's great shot of the fer-de-lance.  If you look closely,  you can see his face towards the left, middle.
Junior took one of the canoes to try and encourage the fer-de-lance into a more photogenic position (using a stick).  He wasn't successful, but Elias was with him and got some good shots, and neither of them died.

One of our lizards :)
Mary's close-up...I think this was the....Amazon crocodile tegu

And here's her pic of the Golden tegu
Pretty bromeliad
Mary showing off a walking stick friend (and her Ticuna jaguar face tattoo)
Charlie was intent on capturing some great photos
We then returned to Saul's village, where we had another opportunity to buy some local crafts and meet the people.  As usual, the kids were shy by very interested in pictures.  I made lots of friends, as they were all excited to look at the pictures of themselves and point out all the people in the pictures they knew.  I even took some videos, which really amused them.

Elias borrowed someone's pet squirrel monkey and brought him on board for a visit
Great shot by Caryn of the squirrel monkey, who LOVED Nikki. 
Here's her shot of him on Elias' arm
And back to Nikki (this pic and the next two from Mary)
I'm pretty sure he was scared, but he seemed to feel safe with her (and Elias)
Meanwhile, Caryn noticed some of the local kids were watching us from a nearby tree.

Me with my new friends (looking day-glo bright in my sun protective, bug repellent gear).
 No wonder they were a little wary of us.

Junior had a brillant idea to start up a game of soccer, and it soon became clear that the Tacana village residents (and the crew of the Iracema) are very good at soccer.  Junior decided to make it serious and proposed that the victors would earn some fuel from the losers.  Then the Ticuna brought out their secret weapons: women!  They ended up winning and got their fuel and everyone was happy.  After the game, all the Ticuna kids jumped in the river for a swim, and some of our group followed their lead.  The kids also started jumping into the river from the trees along the shore.

Junior -- after an amazing play
I sat with the kids and watched until I was forced to participate.  Not a very useful player, unfortunately.

Samantha, Mary, Savannah, and Nikki

Caryn, Savannah, and Kari, relaxing on the top deck

Another great sunset!

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