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giant river otters, howlers and birds --- what a morning!
Most Magnificent Pair: Manu and Machu Picchu

one of the many strange insectsone of the many strange insects (Cathy Bach)
Breakfast at 5am, then left at 5:30 in boat for the oxbow lake - 20 minutes down the river, then a 10-minute walk to the lake. Went on a catamaran (2 dug-out canoes with platform and folding chairs on top paddled by 2 guys). Lake was all misty and like glass as the sun came up - absolutely gorgeous. What a way to see wildlife. My favorite bird-watching experience of my whole life. We could get so much closer for great views and pictures. The horned screamers were so loud, and the hoatzins so crazy looking. Saw a Dad jacana and 3 babies, a small caiman, howler monkeys, one squirrel monkey and 23 new bird species. One of the best parts of the trip was getting a chance to see the rare giant river otters. We stayed very still and they started to swim over to check us out. They definitely do not have cute faces like sea otters --- huge teeth! On our walk back from the lake to the boat, about 30 or 40 peccaries (huge pigs) came crashing through the forest. SO LOUD, even from a ways away. It must be so frightening if they head towards you! On the way to the lake, we saw a Mom capybera and 2 babies, and then the huge Dad came out of the forest - special.

Back at 9:30. Too hot to do much until 3. Will be very sad to leave this place tomorrow, but the humidity is even more extreme than I remembered. The clothes you wear are exactly as wet as the clothes you wash out!! Walked to canopy tower at 3. I was so proud of Brian that he went up. Amazing to be 120' up in a huge kapok tree. Came down after 10 minutes because there were too many sweat bees. Had a very enjoyable last walk through the forest - just the 2 of us. Cold beer, wine, passion fruit juice, and lasagna awaited us. Doesn't get much better than this! Fun last happy hour with Rene and Patricia from Holland, Kelcie and Jenya from SF, and Dusty and Janet from AU and Fiorella. Was wonderful to get such nice people in our group and such incredible guides. We are so lucky.

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