Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Pantanal Day 4

Another 6am start, this time for a boat ride down the Rio Negro to try and spot ancaondas. Our small boat engine wouldn't start, so a 2nd boat arrives and we all get in. We're in the middle of the river (very wide - probably 250 metres) when the engine cuts out. ANother boat eventually comes to our aid and after a few minutes we're started again.

Progress is slow. I don't think the engine was able for all the people in it, so we left Carlos behind and had a driver that only spoke Portuguese.

On the way we saw a lot of dead alligators with their tails missing and being picked at by black vultures. We later found our that these alligators were caught by tourists, had their tails cut off for meat, and then were left to die...

We were in the boat for 3 hours and we cut out so many times. Each time we didn't think it was going to start again. It wouldn't have been a problem as we can all swim and had life jackets except for the fact that we were completely surrounded by alligators the entire time! I counted 17 at one stage!

The journey was difficult at times and everyone was in a panic at one stage when the propellor got caught in something and we almost went in...

Eventually the boat banked and we went in search of anacondas, led by our boat driver - who doesn't speak English, into a field of reeds followed by a swamp. The swamp was nearly impossible to walk in and at one stage Elaine's feet got stuck and she was sinking fast! Luckily for Elaine the guide and LInda realised and ran (slowly) to help her. Luckily for me I got a photo! Elaine is now officially a stick in the mud!

We were walking for about 40 mins but no sign of anacondas so we headed back. We fell a bit behind the guide as the goind in the swamp was slow - guess practice makes perfect.

We could see him along with Adi & Elad ahead, so we picked our own route to get to them. I was in front walking through the reeds when I saw a snake moving extremely quickly towards us, going for us. I was nearly on top of it before I saw it! Only about 2 - 3 feet away. We all turned and ran screaming!

The guide ran back and helped us pick a new route back. When we got back to shore, he told Carlos what had happened and he told us that it was a very dangerous, poisonous and aggressive fast water cobra! We'd had a lucky escape!

Back to camp for lunch. Afterwards we saw a dead anaconda at the shore. The stench was unbearable and it was covered in flies.

We then got a very bumpy truck back and everyone else was heading back to Campo Grande, so we said our goodbyes and were left in the middle of nowhere, hoping a bus would turn up to bring us to our next stop - Corumba...


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