In our last post, we told you the first two things about our ‘never-forget’ moments. If we’re really honest, I guess we cheated a bit because we snuck in a few runners-up because it was so hard to choose! For part 2 of this post, we’ll try to limit ourselves to 3 specific moments.
3. Fishing with bamboo canes!
In the Amazon, it’s not really surprising that people do a lot of fishing. During our stay there, we ate a lot of different kinds of fish, including pirarucu. Pirarucu is a the world’s largest freshwater fish and it can reach 9m long! It’s also carnivorous and eats other fish and birds. We didn’t try to catch a pirarucu but during our time in the Amazon we did go fishing three times.
One day when we were in Peru, we all went fishing on the canoe, but instead of rods we had bamboo canes and pieces of string. It was very relaxing but nobody caught a single fish. Perhaps you can tell from this picture, we weren’t exactly trying our hardest!
One of the things we were fishing for was piranha. I bet we wouldn’t have looked this relaxed if we’d actually caught a piranha!
Later the same day, we went out again but this time we were looking for baby caymans. We weren’t going to eat them…just catch them and then set them free again. We waited until it got completely dark and headed out in the canoes. The sounds on the water were so crazy. It was hard to know what was making the noises…insects, frogs, birds, monkeys or bats! Whatever made the sounds, they were completely magical.
Yet again, we didn’t actually end up catching anything, but after seeing a gigantic cayman in the lake earlier that day I wasn’t completely sure that catching babies was a good idea anyway. I didn’t want to make the parents angry! I definitely didn’t need to catch anything to make our night time fishing expedition worthwhile. I’ll never forget the sounds of the Amazon at night.
Even though the first 2 fishing trips were really good, we still hadn’t caught a fish so the next day all the kids wanted to try again. This time, we decided to fish from the dock just outside where we were staying and at last we had some success (apart from Oren). I’ll try to show you how the fishing trip worked out.
Hector this long
Petra this loooong
Brae this loooooooooooong (not actual size)
I’m not sure if Oren would have chosen the fishing trip as one of his top five Amazon moments but for me it was pretty awesome! After our failure the day before out on the lake I wasn’t expecting much but suddenly my fishing rod jerked and even though I didn’t really know what I was doing I managed to keep hold of it and bring it to shore!
Number 4: Swampball
When we were in Puerto Nariño, me, Oren and Hector joined in a football game with the local kids. We saw them playing on a football pitch right on the banks of the Amazon river and we asked if we could join in. I called it swampball because it had rained earlier that day which caused the river to rise and the whole pitch had flooded. I don’t mean that it was a bit wet and muddy – I mean that in some places on the pitch you ended up ankle deep in water. And no matter where you went on the entire pitch, a load of Amazon river water came splashing up on you whenever you took a step! We were also playing in bare feet so as not to demolish our shoes.
We started to play (me and Hector on one team and Oren on the other) along with a load more kids. It was very hard to shoot because of how much water there was and you ended up just missing the ball and covering everyone near you in muddy water. The more we played though the easier it got because we were starting to get used to it.
We played for about 20 minutes and still nobody had scored so we stopped the game and started a penalty shoot out. By this time it was starting to get dark and the jungle was coming alive around us with the screaming of cicadas. We had the penalty shootout and after the first five (with me scoring mine) it was 3-3 so it went to sudden death. Both teams scored their first ones so it went on. Somebody on Oren’s team missed and then I scored my second one so we won which I was quite pleased about. We then went back to the place where we were staying to wash off all the mud.
Everyone who knows me knows I’m football crazy, but when I think back to that game it makes me love football even more. Both times we went to Colombia, football helped us to have new experiences, meet people and make friends. Joining in with the local kids in Puerto Narino, and getting to feel like we were really part of things, might not have happened without that game. The swampball was one of my favourite parts of our whole trip.
5. Swimming in the Amazon river!
Ever since I knew I was going to Amazonas I wanted to swim in the Amazon river but I knew it was really dangerous and I probably wouldn’t get to do it. Then, you might remember that I told you that we swam in a small tributary of the Amazon when we went to Alfonso’s Annaneko (that’s where we had to heave a wooden canoe up from the bottom of the river). After that I felt like I could ‘almost’ tell people that I swam in the Amazon, but not quite. Then, almost at the end of our trip, our guide told us that he was going to let us swim in the Amazon for real, and so when I found out I would be doing it I was really happy.
On the day when we finally got to swim in the Amazon river I was a little bit nervous because our guide said that the 9 metre caimans and 9 metre anacondas usually only hunt at night. The other thing he told us was that if the water was a tiny bit lower then he might have decided it was too dangerous for us to swim as all the deadly creatures would be crowded together in a smaller space competing for food. He said that because the water wasn’t as low as usual for this time of year, he didn’t need to drive the motor boat around us in circles at top speed to keep the caiman away from us! I guess that was meant to be reassuring but my Mum tells me that she wasn’t completely comforted by this!
Because of all this, as I stood on the side of our boat and looked down into the dark waters, I felt a bit nervous but of course I couldn’t let this opportunity disappear so I jumped! Once we were in the water we relaxed and it was actually really refreshing. We swam under the boat and came up the other side and that was really fun. And I just kept thinking to myself ‘I’m swimming in the Amazon river!!’.
So, that’s it – our top 5 never-forget moments. And that is the end of our blogs about our Amazon adventure, and the end of our blogs about our second family trip to Colombia! It already feels like a long time since we were there, and of course we are often talking about when we will go back.
It’s funny that the older we get, the more Brae and I realise how special these adventures have been. I think the first time we were in Colombia we didn’t really know how crazy and exciting it was. Now when I think back to all the things I did when I was 10 years old, and Brae was only 8, I can’t quite believe it. Thank you for reading our blog. We absolutely love coming back and re-reading our posts and all your comments. We hope that it’s not too long before we’re writing about our third trip to this amazing country that we love.
From Oren and Brae.