The next couple of days were adventure packed. After an ok night’s sleep apart from the bats flying above our heads in our dormitory, ugh, we set off through the pampas to see if we could find an anaconda snake.

Snake hunting in long grass is not sensible one would think.
Snake hunting in long grass is not sensible one would think.

It was stinking hot and wading through muddy, possibly snake infested grass was not a couple of paranoid-about-snakes- New- Zealanders idea of fun. The guide assured us that no poisonous snakes would be around, and that anacondas were constrictors so we’d be fine.

After eons, the guide finally found one in a hole on the side of river bank and yanked it out, much to our disgust.

The anaconda snake
The anaconda snake

The guide then started passing it around the group, which is where I got a little tanty on as I had read that handling of the snakes by tourists was really harmful for them, in particular any sunscreen residue on your hands can make the snake sick. The guide played a bit dumb – we’d specifically booked with this tour company because we’d heard they were one of the more ecological friendly ones around, so this was a bit annoying to see.

That afternoon we went on our next activity, which was to swim with pink Amazon river dolphins, one of those ‘bucket list’ things to do. We putted around in our trusty canoe for about 45 minutes when the guide yelled that he’d seen one and cut the engine. Well the lovely dolphin promptly dived under and took off, so a glimpse was all we saw of it. Undeterred, our guide suggested this would be a good spot for a swim now anyway because ‘where there are dolphins there are no piranhas so you will be fine’. Not to mention the small matter of an alligator sitting on the bank about 6 foot away. ‘That’s Pedro, he’s harmless, don’t worry about him’.

Pedro the harmless alligator.
Pedro the harmless alligator. Check out those teeth.

 

Pedro
“Pedro”

So in a stupid case of group think, yes we followed the crowd and dived into piranha and alligator infested poo brown coloured waters and went for a swim. I think that’s a double tick for that bucket list.

I made Mike go first
I made Mike go first
Quickest swim of my life
Quickest swim of my life

That night we went Cayman hunting at night, the big black alligators which are the most vicious of the lot. We saw quite a few and their pink eyes glowed in the dark. Pretty freaky really. Even more freaky when we had a couple of flying fish jump into the boat, I literally nearly had a heart attack.

The next morning it was time to go piranha fishing. This was quite good fun, and we thought the guide was joking when he said we would fry them up for lunch. Turns out he wasn’t kidding.

Apparently they’re quite safe unless there’s raw meat around, but those teeth, man they looked lethal.

Our guide showing us the ropes. Raw meat for bait.
Our guide showing us the ropes. Raw meat for bait.
Not the biggest fish I've ever caught, but certainly the scariest.
Not the biggest fish I’ve ever caught, but certainly the scariest.
Mike couldn't wait for lunch
Mike couldn’t wait for lunch

We returned to home base for a relax while lunch was being cooked.

fuji 364

Lunch is served.
Lunch is served. They were quite tasty, but had a lot of bones.

Then it was back on the canoes for the return journey to Rurrenabaque. We spent a day just chilling out and luckily the weather was ok so we didn’t get rained in for days on end and were able to fly back to La Paz via the grass runway.

Thank you for flying Air Amazonas.
Thank you for flying Air Amazonas.

 

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