We had an early breakfast with our fellow tourists before they left for Coca. We said our farewells and wished everyone a safe trip back. Our guide, Avel, took my Dad and myself on bird watching expedition up a local river. The river had turtles everywhere!!! Every single log or rock had at least a small conga line of five turtles. Some of the turtles looked like they were wearing crowns!! When you looked at them through some binoculars, we would see many butterflies sitting on top of the turtles heads. The butterflies were drinking the tears the turtles secreted to get rid of the dirt around their eyes. The turtles did not mind the butterflies at all.
River turtle conga line!!! A butterfly pretending to be a wasp.
As we continued up the river we saw white tailed trogon and king vultures! There were many tanagers, flycatchers, and birds of prey flying around indicating that this river was pretty active and had a huge amount of biodiversity!! After bird watching, Avel showed us how he would go fishing on the Napo River. He bought some local bait from a few kids and used a small fishing pole. He suggested that we would go fishing by the mouth of a black water stream, because that was where all the nutrients mixed and where all of the fish eat. Amazonian wolfish, pacu, red bellied piranha, and other species would gather around this area and eat everything from seeds to injured fish. Avel caught a large red bellied piranha to show us. The teeth were large and triangular! The fish flopped around before it was released back to the river. Our last part of our journey was to visit a turtle farm. We saw all of these sandboxes and small pools with hatchling turtles sunning themselves. They were all very small and cute! There was rainstorm forming above us, so we left on the boat and headed back to the Manatee for a little R&R.
Red bellied piranha
Baby turtles at the turtle farm.
The midafternoon was spent resting in our room or reading on the upper sun deck. The next group came aboard and I introduced myself to almost everyone. Mostly the group was from Ecuador, Iowa, and Germany. Our previous group had people from Iowa as well. I guess people in Iowa love to travel to the Amazonian Rainforest! ^_^ Everyone was nice and very friendly! In the evening, we took a small boat tour to go bird watching along some of the sandbars. Egret and sandpiper species were in abundance on the sandbars. The day ended and we traveled back to the boat for dinner and a briefing for the next day of adventures!