We capped off day 1 with a night exploration up the river. We had to drag ourselves out of our stuffy but bug free, mosquito netted bed to join Willington, the head guide and the gang back on the river. Before taking off, Abrahn asked us about 5 times if we were sure we didn’t want to bring our cameras. Already in the boat, tired and worn out from a long day in the sun, we couldn’t be bothered to get out and into the canoe yet another time. So we journeyed into the night camera less, on the search for crocodiles (really just cayman). Our first sighting of the night was a sloth! Oso perisozo they’re called here. Lazy bear. Perfect name. He was sleeping in a tree directly above us. Shining our light on him made him attempt to retreat to another branch…. Very, very slowly. It was awesome and we were very quickly beginning to regret not bringing a camera. Then we paddled up to the net the guides pulled up. Pulling it above the surface we found 2 piranhas, one which had attacked the other. Well, there was breakfast sorted for tomorrow. Further down the net we found exactly what we came out for. A cutie little cayman, almost a meter long, looking pretty sedate, almost stoned, like he had pretty much given up hope and resigned himself to his fate. After the guides untangled him, he sat docile on an oar. Another amazing photo opportunity. We were kicking ourselves for not even brining my point and shoot. Ugh. But we did get to touch it’s soft belly. It had beautiful skin. One of the isreali guys said it would make a nice shoe. In the end though we tossed him back into the river to rejoin his family and start plotting his revenge as Jules said.
The trip continued further down the river and deeper into the night. The stars above were breathtaking but I didn’t want to keep my eye on them for long because I knew there were all sorts of creepy creatures cursing underneath our boat. We paddled on over to the river bank to look for more cayman. I don’t know what scared me more, the red glow in the dark eyes, several pairs of them indicating groups of cayman, or the thick black wasps flying at my face whenever I turned my headlamp on. Just as we were coming up to the supposed cayman hang out in the messy branches on the side of the river, moving quietly to not scare them off, a fish jumps right into the canoe and flops around under the seat. I freak out and scream for Jules to toss it out but he’s just as scared as I am. Finally, after more squealing from both of us, the fish jumps out by itself. Abrahn just watches and laughs at us. The trip continued with more cayman spotting, from a safe distance, and another appearance from our sloth friend who in the half hour we’ve been out has managed to ascend an entire tree branch. Well done buddy. But the most entertaining part of the trip was Jules and I clutching each other in fear of the dark, slimy unknown. Jumping at every fish splash and appreciating each others company. And in the end, no camera can capture those memories.