It is not easy sleeping in the jungle! We were not bothered by mosquitoes or any nasties in our cabin however the loud and sometimes creepy jungle noises made for a disturbed sleep! To top that off, we were awakened by a 5 am knock on the door, getting us up for our first morning hike! After breakfast, we were off for a hike, canoe and then another hike over to the motorized canoe and back to the Napo river. A trek down the river led us to large banks of clay that attracts hundreds of Amazonian parrots and parakeets each morning. One of the highlights of the parrot watching was the sighting of a python sitting silently on a branch just feet from the unsuspecting parrots. Notwithstanding, we never saw the snake successfully strike. Upon returning from our morning outing, we had time for a swim in the Black Water lake. While the lake is home to piranhas, caimans and electric eels, we were told that it was completely safe as these animals are largely nocturnal and generally disinterested in humans (although a large sign cautions not to swim close to the shore or after 4 pm). Fortunately the lodge has a large dock which includes a diving board about 10 feet above the water. Steve went first and the kids fearlessly followed, I was happy taking pictures on the dock! In the afternoon we went for a long canoe ride navigated by our guides down a tight and twisty jungle canal. Highlights included multiple monkey sightings and at one point, squirrel monkeys playing just a few feet from our canoe. In addition to multiple bird sightings, the trek portion featured an interesting array of plant species including the mammoth sabre trees. Our native guide also explained different plants for medicinal, food and building purposes (Our guide also made the boys little toy boats out of seed pods and palm tree fibre which they could pull as we paddled along). Upon returning, we cleaned up before a big BBQ feast at the waterside building. The kids have been so good, Steve and I have been very impressed with them. It is not easy being told to sit still and be quiet for long stretches of time when searching for animals. Another amazing day in the Amazon...we are hitting the sack early more prepared this time for our next very early wake-up knock!
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