In the midst of howler monkeys

The wake up call was at 6am today. After breakfast, we went to the boathouse as we would be going on another canoe ride. The sky was a depressing gray and there was a light drizzle on and off. At the boathouse, we saw a yellow bird sitting on the roof.

Greater Ani

As the canoe moved into the lake, we saw another bird that kept hanging around the boathouse in groups. It was a Greater Ani. They had a peculiar way of moving when on the ground, with their heads low and shoulders hunched up. The son said that they moved like raptors.

Anaconda Creek

We went up Anaconda Creek and saw monkeys moving through the trees. We saw spider monkeys and capuchin monkeys. It was difficult to get a clear view of the monkeys as they clambered through the trees. We also heard the deep throaty calls of the howler monkeys. Then we got off at the end of the creek for a short hike. The staff at the lodge had built a wooden platform for the canoe to dock. But the platform was shorter than the length of the canoe so there was a bit of maneuvering involved before everybody got off. Gus and Siconda made sure the canoe was securely fasten before we went on our way. We wouldn’t want to come back and find that the canoe had drifted away.

Liana swing

Gus brought us to a tall tree and showed us the lianas that dangled down from the top. The lianas were very strong and they had built a swing out of some of them. All of us looked a bit skeptical but the son was ready to try out the swing.

Liana swing

Look at him go!

Liana swing

In the end, all of us took turns to sit on the swing. All of us had fun. It was a long time since I last sat on a swing.

We continued walking and ended back at Napo River. Siconda plucked this long dry pod from a tree offered us a taste of its fruit. It was sweet and tasted quite nice. The fruit was soft but there was only a little of it covering the hard black seed

Howler monkey

Then we walked back to the canoe. The son went off with Siconda for a longer hike while the rest of us went back to on the canoe. On the way back through Anaconda Creek, we saw a group of howler monkeys passing by on the branches above us. We saw some young howler monkeys and a mother carrying her baby. Bringing up the rear was the alpha male. It was an amazing experience. Gus told us that if we wanted to see the howler monkeys closer, we would have to go to the zoo. This was as close as we would ever get in the wild.

We saw more hoatzins but they were quite timid and quickly moved further inland when they saw the canoe approaching. They had a rough, raspy call. I also got a glimpse of a kingfisher that flew pass our canoe.

We reached the lodge at 11am and then it was free time until 6:30pm when we would be going on a night canoe ride. I went up to the bar and got myself another bottle of Coca-Cola. I sat in a quiet corner and finished my 5th book on this trip. After lunch, I went back to my cabin and started reading my 6th book. Then I took a short nap.

After waking up 30 mins later, I went to the internet kiosk to see if there was any reply from KKH. The internet speed was much slower this time. It felt like it was back in the 56 kbs days. There was an email from her saying that she had arranged pick up for me at the airport. “By the way, I lost my bag and I will need your help to pay for the accommodations,” she ended the email. KKH, always the master of understatement. I stared at the screen in disbelief. There was no other information about what happened. I wished I could reach through the screen and shake KKH hard for giving so little details.

Pilchicocha Lake

After my 30 mins internet time was up, I went to the boathouse. Surprisingly there was nobody at the boathouse. I settled into a deck chair and continued reading. The sky was still overcast. After some time, the same yellow bird I saw in the morning landed on a nearby railing. It stared at me for a while before flying off. It started raining heavily at 5:30pm and continued on after 6:30pm. So the night canoe ride was called off.

It was a barbecue dinner at the boathouse. There was a variety of meats and sausages and lots of different sauces to go with the food. I had a beef steak which was nicely grilled. Dessert was a milk cake which was very nice.

Since it had stopped raining, Gus took us on a night canoe ride after dinner. He told us that we do not need to bring anything as he and Siconda would get the equipment. We stayed where we were and waited for Gus to picked us up from the boathouse. We saw fireflies which were like twinkling lights along the shores of the lake. We also saw a caiman hiding in the tall reeds.

Tonight was my last night at Sacha Lodge. I settled my bills for the internet and soft drinks which came up to USD 13 after taxes. Then I returned to my cabin and found that the safety deposit box wouldn’t open. This is why I hate digital safety deposit boxes; I always seemed to have problems with them. I told a staff about it but he was unable to get the master key until morning. He promised that he would be back in the morning to open it.

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