The word ‘amazing’ is vastly overused, but the end of our trip truly was.
Sunday afternoon, 27th September. With no inkling of what was to came at the end of the day we set off again in our two boats for a final gentle glide. This time, there was no question of wanting to see things being fed or performing, indeed we went in the other direction.
Every day, late afternoon, hot, sticky, beginning to tire, we were treated to chilled drinks which had emerged from a cooler at the back of the boats. I had discovered a local carbonated one I rather liked, guarana, so that was my choice every day. (I’ve just looked it up. No wonder I liked it: it’s high in caffeine!) Dave Allen video’d our ‘sundowner’ about half way through the trip. (In case you’re interested , I’m in a green and white check shirt, towards the left.)
Well after dark, we assembled for our final meal together – some of us were leaving at 5.00 am the following day. Suddenly, one of the boatmen came rushing in. “Onça!” he cried, “Jaguar!” We rushed out. Staff soon had their incredibly strong lamps on the spot on the other side of the river, but it was still very difficult to see anything.
“It’s in the hyacinths”.
“Naturetrekkers*, go and get your binoculars”, advised our leader. We did, and I was just back in time to see the large feline clamber out of the water and up the bank, and then head off into the undergrowth. With something in its mouth. A capybara.
But George hadn’t fetched his binoculars: he had fetched his camera. And this is what he managed to take, very low resolution image here, but unmistakeable. An amazing finale to a wonderful trip.
* I was travelling with the excellent wildlife tour company, Naturetrek.
Many thanks to Dave Allen and my French birder and computer friend (and friend friend) Bernard Liégeois with great help in removing question marks from bird pictures throughout this series, and again to Dave for permission to use his wonderful video clips.