Friday, July 23, 2021

All Good Things Must Come to an End...

The next morning we got up bright and early to start our journey back to Quito. This involves going across the lake in a canoe -
Canoeing down a narrow waterway -
And then a very long and fast journey back up the Napo River to the town of Coca.
And then a short flight to Quito.
Since we had a 13-hour layover in Quito, we arranged for a guide to take us to a Hot Springs a short trip over the mountains from the airport. I loved this sign warning about bears crossing.
This has to be the best hot springs I have ever been to, and I've been to a lot!
A half dozen pools, all different temperatures.
The surrounding countryside was also really beautiful.
Back at the Quito Airport, we got on our flight back to Tijuana. Flying in and out of Tijuana definitely has benefits - business class for the same price as a regular flight out of San Diego. We could get used to this!
We changed planes in Mexico City and flew over the Sea of Cortez. And since we were entering the US by foot, we didn't need to get a Covid test. And last but not least, here is a video that our Galapagos guide did of our time in the islands. It is really good, and if you are interested in the Galapagos, definitely worth a view.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Lots To See in the Jungle!

Sacha Lodge, where we stayed, is a huge property - 5000 acres, with lots of hiking trails.
On our second full day in the jungle, we started out hiking to the Canopy Walk, in the upper center of the map. It's quite a trek to the top -
Then we walked across, stopping at each of the 3 towers to look for wildlife.
We saw an Ivory-Billed Aracari -
And it's relative, the Many-Banded Aracari.
This is a Yellow-Rumped Cacique.
We saw a new kind of monkey, but I don't remember what it was. There are 7 different kinds of monkeys in the area, and we got to see 6 of them.
This is a Sloth, from very far away. This picture, and a lot of the other ones were taken by my grandson, Jonathan. He really did a great job!
Then we got to see a Slate-Colored Hawk -
And a Crested Owl.
We then hiked back to the lodge for lunch and a rest. This is the view from our balcony -
And from the sinks by the bathroom. I forgot to take a picture of the shower, which has one totally clear glass wall. But I guess only the monkeys can see you...
Late in the afternoon, we got in the canoes to go to the "Wooden Tower" in the lower right corner of the map.
But it's no longer wooden, they have rebuilt it since I was here last.
The guides brought a telescope.
Jonathan was really good at finding animals, and taking pictures through the telescope.
We saw a huge tarantula.
The plants growing out of this tree were just amazing.
We could see a volcano in the distance as the sun was setting.
And this is my "The End" shot, of a Plum-Throated Cotinga. We saw a lot of animals today!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Our First Day in the Jungle

On our first full day in the jungle, we started out very early. This is the view from the lodge of the lake, with the "swimming pool." We started out on a canoe ride. We had been hearing Howler Monkeys from our lodge, but it got louder as we floated along.
And WOW, there they are!
After our canoe ride through the various canals near our lodge, we walked back to the river and went on the big boat to visit an indigenous Amazonian community. They are making us a traditional lunch.
The kids are adorable!
Mara helped mash some Yucca. Meanwhile, Jonathan was out trying out their way to kill prey with a blow gun.
And then Mara got some warrior paint.
Lunch is served, in their traditional way, spreading everything out on the floor.
That evening, we went on another canoe ride. We saw Hoatzins, aka "Stinky Turkeys." Apparently, they taste so bad that they have no predators.
And we saw more monkeys, a different kind this time.
Then we got out of the canoe and took a short hike. Mara posed in front of a gigantic Kapok tree.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

We're Off to the Jungle!

After 2 nights in Quito, we were off again, on a short flight to Coca, the gateway to the Equadorian Amazon.
We transferred to a boat that will take us down the Napo River.
We went under the beautiful bridge in Coca -
Then continued down the river 40 miles or so. Even though we were going very fast, it still took an hour and a half or so to get to our destination. Click on the video to see how fast we were going.
When we got to our destination, we were given boots to wear on a mile-long muddy hike. Then we got in a canoe, went through a little canal-
Then across a little lake to Sacha Lodge, our home for the next 3 nights. This is actually the exact same place where I stayed 5 years ago, but they have expanded quite a bit.
Mara and I had a great room, with a huge balcony.
We were welcomed by this little guy.
And this was our dinner appetizer. WOW! This place has really changed since the last time I was here. Lots more to come!