Monday, January 24, 2011

First taste of the Amazon, and minor disasters

This has been an eventful week! We arrived in Lima as planned, with flights that were pretty excellent in terms of timeliness and lack of turbulence. 

Our first night, we stayed with a very nice Peruvian family recommended by our program director. Narda is a former program participant, and works on environmental impact studies (as does her husband) to support rainforest conservation. Her whole family is extremely friendly, and her mother welcomed us like long-lost friends. It was a great way to start the trip.

In the morning, our flight to Puerto Maldonado was slightly delayed, but program director Chris Kirkby and marketing guy Dave Johnston were also heading there from Lima, so we got to know them in the meantime. When we got here, we spent time setting up logistics for a brief jungle excursion before our program and having some tasty food. 

Into the Rainforest

And now, the rainforest: we got to Explorers Inn after a 3-hour boat trip up the Rio Tambopata, during which we saw lots of riverside agriculture/industry, along with a few Red-and-green Macaws and Chestnut-fronted Macaws.

Our guide, Ibeth, was fantastic...and a real trooper, as you'll see shortly. The next morning, we went on a 5.5-km walk to Lake Cocococha, a very hidden place with an awesome family of giant river otters, which we saw immediately from a blind!

Hoatzin have great hairdos.
On a paddle around the lake, we also saw neat birds including Hoatzin, which are very prehistoric-looking and have some holdover dinosaur traits like a claw on the wing in juveniles.

As we were hiking back, Ibeth was walking ahead of us on a bridge, when she suddenly slipped and fell about 10-15 feet into a stream. We were horrified, but relieved when we saw that she was mostly okay, except for a hurt shoulder (no blood, lots of bruising). With only a little help, she was able to make it the 2 km back to the lodge.

Friends, don't worry: we're being very careful out there on the trails--now more than ever--and made a recommendation to the lodge to immediately fix the bridges.

We got back to Puerto Maldonado yesterday and spent the night at the awesome new Fauna Forever house. We'd show you pictures, BUT...

Camera Woes

Many of you may know how much we love our camera, and how much time we've spent making sure we had the right equipment for this trip. Doesn't it just figure, then, that it would die not even a week into the trip?

Last night, we downloaded photos to the computer with no problem. A short time later, went to turn it back on to change a few settings...nothing. No frame count, no power whatsoever. We have a few tricks to try, but this may be the most boring photo blog ever if we don't succeed.

So, to any Nikon users out there: tips for reviving a dead D300s? We're using silica, we'll clean the contacts, and we'll try a hard reset. Barring that, back to the states for a warranty repair, and hopefully we'll have it back by Costa Rica!

And with that, we leave you. Send us your positive camera thoughts.

Tomorrow, we're off to the rainforest again, and won't have internet access until mid-February, when we'll hopefully have more to share!


  1. Aside from the minor disasters you have sounds like a great trip! Stay safe and good luck with the camera!

  2. Sounds like you're off to an amazing start. I do really hope your camera woes get fixed ASAP so you can keep documenting your trip. If anything, buy a cheap one to get you through?

    I wish you an amazing journey. This is the coolest thing ever and people talk about doing stuff like this their whole lives and never do it, I'll be so excited to hear some first hand stories when you get back =)

  3. Emily and Mike,

    I too am obsessed with my camera. So sad! Do you remember that in our first month in Denmark I had to send my SLR in for repair? It was torture not having it. But it did give me a chance to quietly absorb Denmark in other ways...outside of the viewfinder.

    Warning: I am not a John Mayer fan, I think he is a jerk but there is one song that I heard that has always made me think about taking pictures.

    "Today skies are painted colors of a cowboy cliche'
    And its strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
    are next to mountains anyway
    Didn't have a camera by my side this time
    Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes"

    Anyway...I look forward to hearing about more of your adventures. Lots of hugs!

  4. Thanks, guys! Lex: trip is going well, but I know what you and Joe meant about food issues--stomachs are not doing as well! Britni: we'll try and collect some exciting stories for you. :) Crystal: I remember--that was so sad! I saw your John Mayer quote before we went back into the jungle and have kept it in mind and tried to just enjoy the scenery sans camera. :) By the way, you and Matt are an inspiration for us--it was so cool when you guys went to Japan together.