Up at 6.00am and have a first look at our surroundings! A very lush and wet environment.
We went birdwatching. That was a great experience. It was dry and quite clear. Our ¨hotel¨ manager was our guide and again very knowledgable. We saw lots of birds: a violet-headed hummingbird, tropical kingbird, a chestnut-headed oropendula, a blue and grey tanager, a female black and yellow tanager, a shining honey creeper, a green honeycreeper, a scarlet rump tanager, a clay-coloured robin and a green crown brilliant hummingbird.
The oropendula is from the oriole family and they have a very exceptional nest. It looks like a sack that is hanging on a branch. The male makes the nest. It takes him a long time, sometimes a month or more to make it. It is all from dead little twigs and lined on the bottom with green leaves. When the nest is ready, he invites a female to inspect it. If she likes it, she stays and they have a family together, if she does not approve of his building skills, she cuts it off from the branch and he has to start all over again!
Breakfast at 7.30am. Again, very good food; eggs, rice and beans, fresh fruit (the pineapple here is delicious) and a warm bun!
After breakfast I went with most of the group on a hike. We later wondered how to describe it: a survival trek sounds better!
We left at 8.15am and first saw the lab where Rara Avis does ecological research. We saw three big spiders. Our guide took one, made it stand on a spinning wheel and then back on his hands. One of us was asked to turn the wheel and the spider spun silk for a long time. They can spin up to 65 meters a day, but have to be fed good food of course! It was very strong silk, No wonder that butterflies etc cannot get out of it!
There was a caterpillar, a pupa and then one pupa that was almost ready to explode into a butterfly!
Then we went to the enclosed butterfly garden with owl butterflies (named like that because ot the ¨eyes¨ on their wings) Their wings are a beautiful blue on the inside so that when they fly, they look magical.
There was also a flower called hotlips in the butterfly garden and it looked like big red lips!
After that came the Morpho trail. Up and down hills with mud, rocks, exposed roots in the rainforest. And then came the rain! We did not bother with a poncho because we were sweating and it was too bothersome to move in one on that path (if you want to call it a path)! We sometimes did not know whether our next step would land us in such deep mud that it would come over our boots - which it did for some of us!
We had to cross three fast flowing streams and jump from rock to rock. We were helped by the guide. When I think of it now, it looks kind of dangerous, but then it is just the next thing you do to finsh the trail. Turning back would be worse!
FACT: Average annual rainfall here is over 8 METRES. In some years they get 10+ !!
We were back at 12 noon - wet, muddy up to our knees and tired!
All that time Brian was enjoying a (cold) shower, a massage (yes, really!!) and taking some pictures!
Lunch was at 1.00pm. We were hungry and after lunch I relaxed with a cup of hot tea!
It was raining a lot that day- It poured as usual. At 3pm. we did a walk to the lookout - heavy rain - but a beautiful waterfall! We could not swim that day at the waterfall because when it is raining there is a chance for flash floods.
After that I took a well deserved (cold) shower. The shower was a stream of cold water straight from the tap. (No showerhead.) Then I went for a massage - she massaged my tired legs and back: it was wonderful!
Dinner at 6.30pm.: chicken lasagna, cauliflower with a cheese sauce, rice and beans, and a salad. The juices are natural and taste delicious.
To bed at 9pm (I am surprised I lasted that long) and we were awake a lot. The beds were hard!
Eke and Brian