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Tambopata Reserve, Peru - 19th September 2009 - 5A little more rested this morning but sweating from the off. The slash and burn method of making way for new forest growth, causes more heat to be reflected back and increases temperatures by about 10C. We were told it was around 42C yesterday and likely to be the same today.

After breakfast, the morning hike was about an hour to the nearby Clay Lick, to view the McCaws and various parakeets, gathering together. They must have been just out of view because the sound was fantastic, but we could only see several birds from a distance. Still quite the experience, though.  My side was getting more painful at this point and after having lunch, I opted out of the walk to the lake and the opportunity of swimming. Swimming sounded so perfect but I can’t do it one-handed.

A bit more rested and cooler in the evening, it was time for a walk to the boat to search for Caimen. On the hike back down to the dock, it was a great chance to view a large number of spiders and scorpions. One of the scorpions glows under UV light, which I’d seen on TV but things like that are great to see in the wild. Caimen are much smaller than I had envisaged. The young were everywhere and only a couple of adults were spotted both in and out of the water. After searching in both directions on the river for a while, the engine was cut and all lights were extinguished, as we had five minutes silence to enjoy the natural night of the jungle and the sounds eminating from it. The sky is full of stars and lightening is way off on the horizon – I wish we never had to leave.

On the hike back to the lodge, two of the group had stopped to take pictures of something large on a tree at just above head height. Getting closer, it turned out to be a spider, around the size of the average hand, just stopped there. Elder, our guide, spoke quite matter-of-factly, that it was known as the wandering spider, a jumping spider that when it attacks, is as ferocious as a dog. I’m still fascinated seeing something this close but after the explanation, I’m real glad it wasn’t my face closest to it.