“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Friday, 10 October 2014

Day 7 - Transfer to Santa Tereza

So last night I went to bed immediately after dinner at 830pm - in preparation for a hide session needing a 4am start. David has never shot Toucans at the nest before and so it was an opportunity not to be missed. High discipline throughout a 3 hour session, in high heat, wouldn't be most people's idea of a holiday, but it was fantastic. I learnt all about approach, behaviour, recognising a Toucan alarm call as well as what constitutes skittish bird behaviour. But above all, patience. We had to refrain from shooting for a good while to get the birds used to us being sat in our canvas hide watching them first, then using single-shot firing before progressing to high-speed motor drive once they were ok with it. Thoroughly enjoyed it, despite being in such close proximity to at least 5 mosquitoes and not being able to do a thing about it. Still haven't mastered coughing silently though - much to David's annoyance!
Ricardo came to collect us at 730am in the truck to return us to the lodge for breakfast and a lesson in exposure - which didn't actually go so well - not sure how many people have ever used "manual" before, but in such stupidly sticky heat and severely sleep-deprived, no-one really got to grips with what was being explained, so David reverted to a simpler task and eventually got everyone on the same page (I think!?!).
We then got to practise our new found knowledge shooting Jacare (Caimen) out the front of the lodge as the staff threw chunks of dead fish at them... hectic, a little unnerving and very difficult given the speed these creatures move. But I think we got there in the end.
We arrived at Santa Tereza in time for lunch and a talk about boat photography and preparation for our river search for Jaguars - starting to panic a little as apparently it's common for tempers to fray on the water as boats jostle for the best position. As the "Delta Squad" we are duty bound to behave with pure decorum, patience and professionalism under all circumstances. Hmmn, we shall see.
A quick swim to cool off before setting off on a magical boat trip at 3pm to see the Giant River Otters.
Bit of a meltdown with the auto-focus on my lens right at the point of the river otter turning up, but sussed it may well be due to condensation --- stupidly had my camera in my air conditioned room with me and so as soon as I left the room it must have steamed up somewhere inside and decided it wasnt going to play ball when I needed it too. Most frustrating when you have a Giant River Otter eating fish only feet from the boat! Better luck tomorrow. Shattered.

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