|After arriving back from San Carlos at around 5.30 last night we found an urgent email from Mirriam at Chuchini saying they would have to pick us up at 4am!!!! because today Trinidad and all the streets are going to be blocked off. Not ideal but we have just checked into Hotel Colonial so we can't abandon that accommodation and spend an extra night at Chuchini. So its up at 3-45 (yeah!!!) and we throw some clothes on and meet Efrem downstairs for the 14 km drive to Chuchini. It doesn't take too long and on arrival he shows us straight to our room and we go back to bed until 8am.
At 8.30 we go across to the reception and meet Mirriam and her twins, Hugo and Taya. We eat a lovely breakfast and Mirriam joins us. She is a great host and does everything to make sure we are well fed and watered. Seems we are the only guests for the next 3 days but there is a volunteer Juli who is riding her bike to Brazil (an alternative lady)and has been staying there for a week and Gabrielle, an intern from Germany who is staying for 6 months in total, with a month to go. Firstly we visit the Museum, which is a small room that they house all the artifacts found after heavy rains uncover them. There are Pre-Columbian (over 10,000 years old) bits of pottery from the Moxos culture and bones and skulls of animals. Chuchini sits on a 3km man made lagoon and the soil dug from this lagoon is the raised area that the lodge sits on. This was done by the Moxos people to avoid flooding and provide an area for agriculture.
It's a bit cool this morning but we still follow the program and we go on a jungle walk. One of the first bird we see and up close is a toucan, just beautiful, but there are many birds in the area. Efrem explains (in Spanish and Mirriam translates), about the jungle plants, birds and animals. We see the strangler fig in action, winding its way around a palm tree and some howler monkeys. We walk past the cages where they have 2 animals to be rehabilitated, a coati a member of the raccoon family and a spider monkey. We will be a part of the release of the coati in a couple of days time when we go to the junction of the Ibare river and the Marmore River to see the pink river dolphins.
In 2010, 180 animals were rehoused from a zoo in Trinidad that closed and these cages and a small vet hospital were used to rehabilitate the animals from this zoo. They were all released into the wild. These cages and buildings are generally not used anymore, only when abandoned "pets" are left at Chuchini.
Back at the Lodge and we have some lunch. The layered dish with chips, salad and steak. Yum! We sit eating our lunch in the sun overlooking the lagoon.
After lunch we have a boat trip and this time Gabrielle comes with us to translate. We see many birds, capybara and lots of aligators. We stop and fish for a while and I manage to catch a tiny one which I hit Phil with when I try and sling it into the boat.
When we get back to the lodge Efrem asks if we want to zip line across the lagoon. You have to climb up a ladder to an open sided platform where you get into a harness and jump off. Once you reach the other side Efrem pulls you back. I loved it. Good fun!! Even the 4 year old twins do it. They also climb up the ladder unaided and stand on the platform waiting for their turn without falling off!!
Dinner that night is at the reception area as it is cool outside. We have chicken salad, rice, olives and tomatoes. It was very nice. They have a great cook.