Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 13 - Day 8

This morning we were early to rise again. . .  .  wake up call and had breakfast and set out at 545AM for a hike to the canopy tower at Napo Wildlife Center.  We et out in the canoe again towards the creek where we had a short 30 minute hike to the Canopy Tower or Observation Tower.   The tower is designed to last and provide maximum safety to users.  This magnificent building is  over 125 feet tall, is standing right next to a giant 155 feet Kapok tree where an ample platform provides great space for over 15 guests and their cameras, spotting scopes, tripods and binoculars gear or other equipment ready to enjoy the canopy of the rain forest! No one should miss this amazing highlight (except for me cause I could never climb that high!)  But they said it has great views of troops of howler, capuchins, monk sakis or spider monkeys in the forest.   When they returned to land we hiked about 20 - 30 more minutes to a waiting canoe.  On the route we did see monkeys, many types of birds as well as the rare long tailed potoo.  We boarded our boat to Napo’s Welcome Center were we had a quick snack before heading out to the clay lick.  Napo Wildlife Center is fortunate to have this very special clay here within, and have discovered almost a dozen exposed areas of this clay within the Reserve. Blinds have been built at the clay licks to welcome visitors. We sat there for quite some time before we finally saw the parrots arrive.  We enjoyed watching this wonderful experience for about 45 minutes or so.  This lick is typically visited by a thousand or more Cobalt-winged Parakeets. The noise is incredible!   We did spot 4 the Scarlet macaws, but the parakeets would not let them near the lick.  We had heard there had been a hawk in the area for the last 3 days so the parrots could not get to the lick, so by this day they were hungry!!!!  It is almost certain that other small parakeets visit this clay lick, and new species for the region and Ecuador are just waiting to be discovered.  They were so loud that when we did leave we all laughed that our ears were ringing like we had been sitting up front at a rock concert!  We then returned back to the welcome center, about 20 minute walk on a great trail, and had a nice lunch.  Following lunch we then boarded yet another motor canoe for a quick trip to the Anangu community.  Anangu people are active participants of the conservation and management of a large territory within the park as well as the partners in tourism.   The Anangu people are helped by EcoEcuador Foundation which is part of the Tropical Nature Conservation System, a world leading group of ongoing ecotourism projects, all now working together on a nature tourism company.  We didn’t have much time, we watched them dance and sing and enjoyed dancing with them as well.  But time was short and we had to get to the next lodge, so we boarded the motor canoe traveling on the Napo River to lodge #4 – Sani Lodge.  We arrived and had about 20 minute walk on a wooden planked walkway to a canal where we boarded another canoe to take us about 20 minutes to Sani Lodge.  Deep within the Ecuadorian Amazon you will find a mysterious lake called Challuacocha, where floating water hyacinths and grasses obscure the shores.  Sani Lodge is an Ecolodge dedicated to ecotourism, environmental conservation, and community projects in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador.  Sani Lodge is owned and operated by members of the Sani community, meaning that with their extensive knowledge of the Amazon wildlife and biodiversity they can give Sani Lodge guests the true experience of the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle.  Here, the biodiversity will amaze you! On your adventure, you will walk through a pristine rainforest gallery that is home to 1,500 species of trees, hundreds of climbing vines, and exotic flowers, as well as 550 species of tropical birds, 13 species of monkeys and 1,000 species of beautiful butterflies We were welcomed with nice cool welcome rum drink with cheese & fruits.  We have very little time and it was getting late so we decided to take in some fishing – piranha fishing that is.  We boarded our canoe for about 30 minute ride to the fishing spot!  We had 2 additional people on this journey with us, Andy & Sally from Cambridge England!  We saw more birds & wildlife on this canoe ride than most of our journey.  Some of the birds we saw were Kingfisher & the American pygmy kingfisher, herons, flycatchers, and many Hoatzins (Stinky Bird).  Our guide Fredy also saved a yellow spotted turtle from the water.  Our guide cut up the meat and baited our hooks and we were fishing……. One of our guides caught about 4 or 5 but only one was large enough to keep and they cooked for dinner that night.  Eric from our group also caught a small piranha!  We started canoeing back to the lodge just after sunset and it was the FULL MOON…..  We were able to watch this large orange ball rise up into the sky – what terrific views we had.  As we were returning to the lodge we were able to spot many black caimans.  Upon arrival to the lodge, we were given our rooms and washed up for dinner.  We visited a bit, talked about the lodge and the next days adventure and off we were for bed.    

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