Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8 - Day 3

Adventure – Adventure – Adventure
This is like no other journey I have been on!
We departed from the Marriott Quito at traveling South through the Avenue of the Volcanoes for travel to Shell Airstrip.  This was about 4 ½ hours with stop for bathroom and photos of Cotopaxi Volcano.  This is a very scenic route traveling past Banos down the majestic Pastaza River canyon, filled with waterfalls and a beautiful entrance to the Amazon rainforest.  We then boarded our 9 passenger plane that would fly us to the Achuar community; this flight was about 45 minutes.  We were then met by our native guide from Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve and traveled about 30 minutes in a canoe into the beauty and tranquility of this remote part of the world. We traveled up the Pastaza River, then into the smaller Capahuari River and finally arrived at Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve.  Kapawi Ecolodge is situated deep in the nearly two million acres of the Achuar people's traditional territory near the confluence of the Pastaza and Capahuari Rivers-the former a major, the latter a minor tributary of the Amazon-near the border between Ecuador and Peru. This area is one of the most remote and well-protected parts of the western Amazon Basin. It is a remote and pristine region, untouched by logging, mining or petroleum extraction.  Kapawi Ecolodge offers many activities from bird watching, hiking, clay lick visit, kayaking & canoeing, fishing, camping and Achuar community visits.   Achuar comes from the word achu meaning “morete” a sort of palm that grows in flooded areas and shuar meaning people.   The Achuar people believe in multiple spirits that give them the guide-lines for a harmonic relationship with the rain forest.  They believe strongly in their dreams and use them in their everyday life.  Achuar have been self-sufficient and autonomous, sustaining their family groups through hunting and gardening.  The most important foot and beverage is the nijiamanch (chicha).  It is made by the fermentation of previously chewed yuca.  The women are in charge of making and serving this drink to their family and guests.  This drink is more important to them than food.  After this has fermented several days it is stronger than our beer.  Unfermented chicha is served to the children as well. 
Well we only have one full day here and much to see and do – so after we saw Kapawi Ecolodge ate some lunch and watched a video about the lodge we were ready to set out on our afternoon.  It was about and the 5 of us from Rainforest Alliance set out for a canoe ride to the Sua community.  Along the way we stopped enroute to check out the blue & green macaws and turned off the boat to listen and enjoy the macaws…. Getting ready to head back out and you guessed it, the boat would not start - either no oil or no gas, but we were not going anywhere.  Simple just call for help on the radio. . .  . . the adventure continues as they forgot the radio – knowing there would be another boat to come in this area we paddled by hand to the beach area where we waited.  We walked around a bit and waited for our boat to arrive and rescue us.  We did get back to the lodge just after sunset – ate dinner and off for a short night hike around Kapawi.  We saw spiders, walking sticks, ants, frogs and several other types of insects.  We returned to our room and time for bed and another fun filled day of adventure. 

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