Madidi Eco Lodge Day 2

Day 2 started with an encounter with Antonio who is a 6 month old Tapir whose mother was killed, probably by a Jaguar. On of the guides found him in th jungle and brought him back to camp. He is like a naughty puppy who pulls washing off the line and is very keen for pats and even rolled over onto his back for me to scratch his belly! Such an unreal experience! On our way to breakfast we also encountered some of the local wild pig pack who come around scavenging scraps of food. There are apparently over 200 in the pack but only about 20 come so close to camp.
Breakfast was a delicious spread of fruit and bread and baked goods, made even more tasty as we heard Erica beating the grain into flour last night at dinner to make the bread and knew everything was home baked!
We then set off on another walk through the jungle with Simon. It is just such a surreal experience to be traipsing through the jungle with your own personal machete wielding guide. The machete came out once or twice to clear the path and also to cut a path as we heard Mackaws and he was taking us to see them.
On the way he pointed out a tree thats inside was boiled in a tea and used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Funnily enough the bark could be added to alcohol and once left to ferment for a few weeks was then used as viagra. They seriously have a natural remedy for everything! We were also shown a tree whose leaves when mashed up secretes a purple dye that they would use for clothes and baskets etc along with ceremonial face painting. As you can see I was the dummy for that.
We then headed back for lunch and said good bye to the 4 who were going back which left us and an older American couple who were a bit hippy but had done some amazing things.
In the afternoon we caught the boat up river and went on another walk to see a salt lick. The walk was again magnificent and when we got to the salt lick a little platform had been built so you could view from above. I felt like David Attenborough right there and am pretty sure I have seen a similar salt lick in one of his docs. The funny thing about those films is when watching you don’t really think about how much time, effort and patient is needed to get that one shot of animals coming to the salt lick! We waited 5 mins or so and saw nothing. Those photographers must be so patient! We then hit the river again, got changed into our swimmers and tubed home! It was so relaxing and an unforgettable experience! There were even a few rapids to keep us entertained! While we were walking Erica the chef was fishing and she managed to catch two pacu which we were then fed for dinner! 
After dinner we went on a night walk where we didn’t see much but the most entertaining thing was that Antonio insisted on coming with us much to Simons despair. He kept just behind Tim most of the time and occasionally would get out in front but wouldn’t go much further than the light. We soon found out that we think he was scared of the dark! It was so funny! 
This Amazon experience has been one of the most amazing things I have ever done and we are only in day 2 of 4! The fact that we have our own guide who has lived here all of his life and is willing to share with us his knowledge is truly amazing! On top of that, all of the lodge workers are all from the community and everyone is so welcoming and wanting us to have a good time as they know that all the proceeds go to their community.
They are such a beautiful people. When we first arrived and realised that we could only lock our door from the inside we were worried about getting stuff stolen. You quickly realise that that is not the case and these people care nothing for material possessions. It is so lovely spending time with people who are so attuned to Mother Nature after spending time in the cities where they throw garbage out their car windows and have no concept of the environment. S   

Meet Antonio! As a fully grown Tapir he will weigh 200kgs. They are the largest animal in the jungle. Simon told us that when he is ready he will look for a mate and come to the lodge less and less. Eventually not coming at all. The only difference between himself and one from the wild is that he will not run from humans when he sees them in the jungle.

    

The wild boars eating scraps behind the kitchen.
    

One of the many creepy crawlies we saw
    

This is a picture of a strangle fig who slowly encases another tree, sucking all its nutrients and eventually killing the original tree.
    

One of the taller trees in the jungle

   

  
The aforementioned purple dye! Tim is still trying to get it out from under his fingernails.

  The wild jungle papaya’s bark. This is a form of protection as it has a soft trunk inside and also against some of the animals looking to eat its fruit. 

One of the many butterfly species we saw. Very hard to capture them though! The colours were truly spectacular. There was a giant blue one we spent days trying to photograph but only managed to get it when it’s wings were shut.
   

One of the many jungle views. 

 

Tim and I in the giant grass forest.
     

 The salt lick platform.  The salt lick contains key nutrients which all the animals need in order to balance their diet. 

The view just outside the lodge along the river.  

Tim captured this during our night walk. We thought it was a baby tarantula but apparently not.
    

Another night shot by Tim. This spider was making its web when we passed. The speed in which it was weaving was crazy!
    

Our friend Antonio keeping pace just behind Tim much to the annoyance of Simon as he wasn’t the quietest rustling through the jungle.
 

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