Quito to Sani Lodge (Amazon)
21.10.2012 - 24.10.2012 30 °C
First day of the official part of my trip started with pre trip meeting at 6pm the night before where we were told that due to some road closures we had to leave early...2am early...so straight to bed and 3 hrs sleep later was packed and ready to go, however the truck was not. Some apparently minor mechanical issues delayed the start and were eventually decided not to be serious enough to fix before we left.
So about 1-2 hrs later whilst climbing and winding through the Andes in the dead of night went to downshift a gear and...nothing, which lead to the truck stopping before rolling back down the Andes. An hour and halfish of investigative work later a air bubble in the clutch fluid was determined to be the culprit, so this was "fixed" and off we went again.
Few hours later, daylight now, we came to a sudden halt, again on the steep upward incline on a blind corner, due to some not to worrying smoke coming out of the engine into the cabin and the slight minor issue of flames under the cab <insert truck evacuation here and enter small dose of fire extinguisher.
4 hours later and numerous time wasting games by the side of the road and a local bus was summoned to pick us up for the remaining journey to the Amazon in Coca, leaving our guides behind to sort it out.
Due to the minor mechanical issues we missed our boat ride down the Napo River to the Eco Lodge, so we found a hostel for the night in Coca and got the boat the next morning to Sani Lodge.
The next 3 nights were spent in the Lodge taking canoe trips around the area for hikes with local guides to see lots of birdlife and insects, which is a tad boring for me since I want to see big stuff, however did get to see some monkeys sticking their heads out of a tree hollow which were pretty cool. Climbed a big tree to an observation area about 30 odd meters up and saw more birds. Searched for the elusive Cayman and fished for piranha. I am hoping my part of my trip further along to the Brazilian Amazon will be more interesting, wildlife wise.
We also visited a school in the local community where we got to taste some local delicacies (see photos). It could explain a few stomach upsets experienced the next day by some people. We were also observed by the school kids who gathered around wanting to eat our food scraps from lunch which was kind of sad. But they have built a medical centre as well as providing a school for the Sani people which extends into high school which is rare in these parts.