So a few weeks ago I was presented with a superb opportunity, “Would you be interested in joining the Naturetrek Wildlife Festival in Ecuador at the world famous Sacha Lodge in the Amazon Basin? On one condition, that you act as a photographic leader and run some photographic workshops?” I was asked. As I am sure you can all imagine it was a tough choice, before I knew it (2 weeks later) I was on a plane flying from Heathrow to Quito. Quito is a historic, Spanish colonial city which is now the Capital of this relatively small nation. The city was really just a stepping stone towards the Amazon basin but I did a small amount of high altitude birding the day before my flight into, what was for me, the unknown.
So after a day to try and adjust to the altitude, Quito is in the Andes and higher than most European mountains, it was time to board an internal flight to the city of Coca. This city was a small community only 20 years ago but the discovery of oil has brought with it an industrial boom to the Amazonian region. This of course has greatly improved the wealth for the
Ecuadorian government but it seems the environmental problems could be severe. Anyway, back to the adventure and the treasures that lay in store.
We transferred down the Rio Napo from Coca, heading eastwards along the swollen river on a, high speed, motorised canoe. We were dodging submerged trees for the journey’s entirety but that just added to the excitement. After a couple of hours watching the river world go by, we arrived at the landing point for the lodge. Here we had to alight and start a kilometre long walk through the rainforest to a black lake, on which the lodge is situated. As we made our way along the path and the boardwalks we heard some crashing in the tree-tops. To our amazement, after only being in the forest for half an hour, we had our first two species of primate … a huge family group of Squirrel Monkeys and a slightly more secretive family of Capuchins. It was the Squirrel Monkeys that were the stars of the show, they whole group crossed the path we were on using the overhanging trees and at times were only a few metres away. They sat and posed nicely and what really amazed me, was that they looked straight through us. We weren’t even worth paying attention to, as a large group of people we were just a series of obstacles that could be easily avoided by staying up in the trees.
Anyway enough of my rambling enjoy the photos!!!!