Wow what a first day - so many things I had forgotten about this place, and am so so pleased I decided to return. We set off after breakfast in search of an electrical store as most peoples power adapters did not work (Brazil have recently changed all of theirs to standardise on a new recessed kind which makes life a lot harder for everyone). Found some and moved on to a dead-rat-infested supermarket for supplies (gin, wine and corn to fill beanbags) - we were all done by 8am and set off on the Transpantaneira heading south into the wetlands. The temperature very quickly reached sweaty heights and water was coming out of us quicker than we could replenish it, but we saw plenty of birds and the landscape fell away as we left the high pantanal and dropped into the lowlands. We had reached our first lodge, Pousada Piuval, by half eleven in time for a quick unpack before lunch. Rice, beans and Paco fish with salad - gorgeous - the food is even better than I remember - if that's possible.
|The view from the "classroom" at Pousada Piuval|
David gave our first theory lesson (2 hours) during which I managed to get completely confused about auto-focusing, but thankfully my "standard" settings are the ones I should be sticking with anyway, so no need to panic just yet - it may become an issue when tracking birds flying overhead, but until then all will stay as is. Some free time afforded me a quick swim in the pool before meeting up for a local vehicle safari at 330pm. This turned into our first real attempt at shooting from beanbags on the trip and also a major feast for the mozzies. I racked up 17 bites in an hour, with DEET on and one of them was even through my trousers! (although I was on my stomach crawling through the dirt, near water, stalking a gorgeous Bittern at the time). Got some good shots I think, not only of the Bittern, but a pair of very rare hyacinth macaws at their nest, a perched Savannah hawk, a Cocoi Heron and even a half decent redbrock deer. Saw my first Coati and had a thoroughly enjoyable, but quite painful, afternoon, my right arm is already starting to swell up quite badly. 430am start tomorrow so need to clean down cards and charge everything ready for hunting a giant anteater which has been seen not far from here with a baby on board... fingers crossed!