Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
Prev / The Americas / Ecuador / Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve Next

The sun sets into the black mirror water, bringing on the first of my three-night stay.

Our driver in the jungle is absolutely incredible, day and night. Even in pitch darkness we sweep in and out of turns, weaving between submerged logs at full outboard-motor speed. It would appear that he has either memorized the entire flooded forest, or has honed several senses unknown to the outside world.
Protected from the rain by sturdy ponchos, we dangle meat into the water to entice the fearsome pirhanna to bite. Fishing for pirhanna invovles first stirring up the water with a viscious stroke, perhaps to emulate something thrashing about at the water's edge. Then, hold the wooden pole inches off the deceptively calm surface to wait for a nibble. Once felt, jerk suddenly up to catch the fish in action, hauling the catch into the air. As shown, I caught as deadly a beast as ever could be found, surely a menace to the surrounding villages that would be joyously missed. However, due to incomprehensible laws that I'll forever lament, I was forced to let this murderous man-eating creature back into the water to wreak havoc upon the defenseless villagers. For unleashing this hideous evil upon the world when I held the key to salvation in my hand, I will forever seek forgiveness.
In the center of the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is a large lagoon where submerged trees sprout out of the deep waters. Though dry at other times of the year, the wet season's rains fill the lagoon and cover the trees.
On our last night we don our swimsuits (making good on my investment, finally) and plunge into the laguna's intermittently warm and cold waters. Without considering that we're actually over a submerged forest, and thus over tall spiky trees, I dive head first into the depths. Thankfully my luck holds and no tall trees decided to grow under my path. After floating and swimming in our private lake (no other boats were to be found this night) we sat to drip-dry and await the sunset.

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