|Today breakfast is at 8.30 overlooking the lagoon and then we all, (Miriam, Efrem, Hugo, Taya, Gabrielle, Phil and I pile into the car and head to the River Imbare. We also have on the roof rack of the car an esky with food and drink and the coati in its special cage, as today we are to release it into the wild.
We reach the river in 10 minutes and load everything on board and Efrem carries a 40hp honda motor down this steep hill to the boat. Its very heavy but he manages. This port area has quite a few boats as this river leads to the Mamone River and eventually to the Amazon river and Brazil. When the river levels are high enough this is a busy transport route for freight. The river is only 1-2 metres deep at the moment. Sometimes the freight boats get stuck for weeks on end if the river level drops and they cannot get through to Brazil.
It is so pleasant on the river. Surprisingly there are no caiman here as they are hunted for food. Along the way we see lots of birds, monkeys and a couple of sloths. We go past the little creek entrance that Miriam and Efrem use when the river is in flood to get through to their lagoon. They can't use the road as this floods too so the boat and the river become their mode of transport.
Even before we reach the junction of the two rivers we have some pink river dolphins riding alongside the boat. They can be a light grey on the top but if they come out of the water a bit we can definitely see the pink on their sides. Very excited to see them.
It takes 2 hours to reach the junction of the rivers. Our first job is to release the coati on the other side of the river so that it cannot make its way back to Chuchini. Efrem steers the boat to shore and he takes the cage and places it on the river bank. He then reverses the boat and Gabrielle has the hold of the rope to pull the side open to release the coati into the wild. The side rises and the coati makes its way out onto the river bank, quite unperturbed and happily makes it way up the bank and into the bushes. Great to see that he is now back where he belongs.
We are now at the junction of the rivers and again several pink river dolphins swimming around our boat. Beautiful creatures, so graceful in the water.
We then head to the muddy bank on the other side of the river. Here we get out and go for a walk while they prepare lunch. We have a picnic lunch on the boat and then go ashore for a mud bath. We all get the mud and cake it all over us and then bake it on in the sun. Then Efrem has to beat the water with a big stick near the rivers edge to frighten off any stingrays that hug the shore so that we can go in and was the mud off. Our skin feels so soft and it was good fun.
Then we get back into the boat and move across the river and try a spot of fishing. Lots of nibbles but no bites. Efrem then hangs up 4 hammocks across the boat and the twins hop in one each and promptly go off to sleep and I rest in another one. It's such a lovely time on the river as we make our way back.
Once we are back at Chuchini we pack our bags and say our goodbyes and Efrem drives us back to Hotel Colonial. We had such a good time at Chuchini. Such wonderful hosts and lots to do.
We check in and shower and then get a taxi to La Estancia, a good steak restaurant. When presented with the menu and a non English speaking waiter we are not sure what to order. What type is what steak and how big are the serves? The kind man at the next table comes over and tells us his recommendation and that we should share one meal as they are huge. We are very grateful as the meals are big and we would have wasted a lot. Steak comes with rice, potatoes and a simple salad. This restaurant is an institution and probably hasn't changed in decades but the steak is great. This is cattle country after all!