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Sunday, March 1st 2009

00:51:02

Holiday in Guyana and Trinidad&Tobago

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A trip to the rainforest.

So we are home after our strenuous and exiting holiday in Guyana with an extra week for rest and sunbathing at Trinidad and Tobago.

We were met at the airport in Georgetown by a man from Wilderness Explorer. We are going to stay at Cara lodge hotel built in 1840 one of the oldest buildings in Georgetown. It is a lovely temperature of 75,20F. 

 

Next day we are going to visit Kaieteur Falls. At breakfast we met the other people going on the same trip. That was Patrizia and Salvatore from Italy, Anna and Andrea from Switzerland, Janette and Lenard from UK, Kathleen and Stuart from UK and us from Norway. So we take of to Kaieteur Falls, it is a flight of 55min. Right outside Georgetown we met the green carpet, it was like flying over the Pacific Ocean but this was rainforest.  

The first sight of the fall was from the plane, it was magnificent. Then we landed on a bumpy sandy airstrip. We walked to the top of the fall. This is the world’s most high “single drop” of 822 feet. There are 3 plateaus were we can se the fall from close up. It was magnificent to see. We sat on the edge of the fall dangling with our feet, just a meter away from the water, and it is 250m down to the river Potaro. Next is Orinduik Falls 20 min fly toward south near the border to Brazil. This was also a great sight, not so high but it was wide with long terraces with cascades of water. We could take a shower there and many did. On the ride back I Turid was the “co Pilot” Lovely.

 

Next day we are going into the jungle with Air Guyana. We are split up as a group Kathleen, Stuart and Andrea in one they are going to Iwo Crama. Our first stop is Karanambu Ranch.

Here also a bumpy sandy airstrip. We are met by Diane McTurk the owner of the ranch. She is known for here job to recovering and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned giant river otters.

 

The rainforested banks of the Rupununi River are also home to large numbers of birds, squirrel, caimans and monkeys. The cabins are quite basic, not so well screened and there is as much wildlife inside as out. Like “Doris” the spider, “James” the gecko and the bats living in the roof. Back from the river trip we were introduced to the “sundowner” that is rum punch served several times a day. The bed are covered with mosquito net and that can be very strenuous, the generators are shut down at night and you had to have your torch so you could see what’s on the floor and in or on the toilet. For two days “Doris” sat beside me on the toilet. Clothes and shoes had to be turned to be sure there’s not any insect in there. The suitcase had to be locked at all time. This is not an ordinary holiday; we start 0500 – 0530 to be ready to have the early morning walk at 0600. If you will see something it has to be before the sun and the heat. So up and go. Breakfast around 0800 after the walk. Later we are doing a trip on the river by boat. We are looking for the giant otters. Diane has two nearly tame giant otters but they have been gone fore a couple of days and she is afraid they are gone. In Crane Pond we spotted a giant otter at the river bank. Diane called at it and gave him some fish that he took right before our eyes. This was a great view in a pond full of the world’s greatest water lilies called Victoria Amazonia or Victoria regent (Guyana’s national flower). We also spotted a lot of birds. On the way back, some Indian girls washing clothes in the river, said they had seen a giant otter on the spot. Diane called on it (fishy fishy) and there he came, he jumped in the boat, get his fish and went out again. It was a most spectacular event.

In the afternoon we went back to Crane Pond to see the Victoria Amazonia blooms emerge at sundown whilst we had our sundowner. Returning in the starlight and some torches is also a special experience. There were a lot of strange sounds and views, quit scary at times.

 

Again up in the dusk of dawn. We had some coffee, and then out to look for the great ant eater. It was a big savannah, it’s to hot for birds and wild life during daytime. We did not see anything.

To day we are going to see Lake Amacu. We droved through the jungle and it was quit a trip. Not much of a road, but we had a good 4*4wheel driver. It was a fantastic view, but no water in the dry season so it was a great savannah and we looked all the way to Brazil. This is the water border between Amazonas and in the rainy season the water from Amazonas goes into the rivers of Guyana. In the north we could see the Pakaraima Mountains.

There was a great sunset and we had a sundowner to go with it. In the morning the day we were leaving, “bandit” the racoon turned up. This was an animal found by an Indian boy and turn over to Diane. So she has helped it along, but it is not tame, it is a wild animal and you have to be careful. This has been a memorable place to visit, due to the surroundings and Diane, a very special lady, but also due to Pat and Mike.

 

No we are going to our next camp, Rock View Lodge.  We are going with boat to Annai, and we are picked up by car by the river bank. On our way we saw a Capivara and a black Caiman. This is a totally different place. The houses are free of wild life except for mosquitoes; we have to sleep in mosquito net. They also have a swimming pool and it’s great to have a day without the wild life. They have their own flower and vegetable garden and a lot of good and special dishes. There were also some animals on the farm. There was a stick animal in the room upstairs of the dinner room. It could be very difficult to locate some time.

 

We saw how they burned out the poison of the cashew nuts. We could eat Mangoes from the garden and it was delicious

 

The next day is an exploring day again. We went up in the Pakaraima Mountain and had a fantastic view over the area and the guide pointed out his village. We saw a lot of parrots, and a whole lot of other birds. We had a nice walk with Salvatore and Patrizia in the area later on, and visited the village.

Next camp is Surama. We briefly met Kathleen, Stuart and Andrea. They are going to Karanambu. Our cabins here are also very basic, 1 chair 2 beds. In the toilet we had a frog.

We got an Amerindian guide named Gerry. He took us to his village. It is the last day of the mounts and marked day. There were served homebrewed something, different food, and all having a great day. They are playing football; the teams always are Guyana versus USA.

We visited the local shaman, one of the last. Lot of smiling and finger languish, because he is not so good in English, he is speaking macusi the local Indian language.

The night before we arrived, our guide’s dog had been attacked by a jaguar; it had been a fight in front of the house. They managed to scare the jaguar, but Gerry said he will come back because he knows that the dog is not dead. Cato and Salvatore offered to come with him to guard his house, but of course they could not. The next night the jaguar took the neighbors dog.

After dinner we had a night walk in the jungle. We were looking for jaguars and other animals. We did not see the frog that jumped on Patrizia’s cheek, but we heard Patriztia.

We saw Fireflies and Leafcutter ants. Funny thing, it looks like the leaves are wondering along the trail.

New early morning walk. We are climbing the summit of the Surama Mountain on the other side of the village. This is a strenuous trip, steep in the end, to hours up and to hours back. We had breakfast at a lookout point which affords incredible views across the village and savannah all the way to the Pakaraima Mountains. Some monkeys came to watch us while we had breakfast. On the way back we past the shaman’s house. He had a real bow and arrows that we could try. Cato and Salvatore had to try and they were very satisfied with the result.

Next on the program is a boat trip on the Burro-Burro River. But we had to walk about one hour before we got there. We are in an Indian boat made by one large tree. After a while a fish jumps at my (Turid) throat, it was actually hurting and I got a mark standing for several days. Gerry said it was a Fox fish; it had long sharp teeth and a jagged spool. I (Turid) took a picture of it and threw it out into the river. It was a good time in the boat on the river and a nice walk back too, but the wild life is very still. We saw a white tailed red necked specie in the river. (Salvatore taking a bath in his trousers)

So we are on the move again. Our next camp is Atta Field Station.

 

 

 Atta means hammock in the macusi language. On our way we stopped to see a Potoo, a bird looking like a dry branch. We looked at it through a scoop and I was able to take a picture through the lens, Great. We also stopped to see “Cock of the rock” Guyanas national bird. It is a red/orange bird with a peak on its head. Funny this red birds against all this green. I guess red means danger so that is theirs defend.

On Atta Field station we start with a delicious lunch. So we are going to the Canopy walkway.

There are built platforms in the top of the trees, and they are connected with wood bridges in ropes. It’s like a swing some times and its exiting to look down, we are 115 ft up and it is a long way down. So there we are walking around in the treetops looking for wildlife. We did get some heavy rain so we did not see that much. The guide told us a lot about the trees and their heeling properties. Here we are going to have a special night; we are going to sleep outside in hammocks in the jungle. You are in the mosquito net, in the hammock and you have to go to the toilet in the middle of the night. We went to sleep in hammocks under shelters, just floor and roof. It’s not the easiest thing to do into under the mosquito net, in the hammock 

And there you are surrounded by tall rainforest and all of its sounds. And then later you have to go to the toilet, 20 yards away.  We had been looking for jaguars all day, now perhaps they were here. But yet I (Turid) had to go. Out of the net and the hammock I stood there with my torch and looked for jaguars before I went. And then the same on my way back to the hammock. I saw the fireflies and I heard the howler monkeys but no jaguar, and I felt very brave. 

Early morning walk on the main road between Georgetown and Brazil. We were out there for 2 hour and there was not a car except for a police car. We saw a whole lot of wonderful birds, one Red Rump Agoti and a dead snake.

After lunch a car came to take us to the next camp Iwokrama Field Station. This is a place established to protect and manage a huge rainforest reserve; the station is surrounded by pristine rainforest, home to a staggering diversity of plants and animals. The area holds world’s records for number of bat (90) and fresh water fish (420) species recorded and is home to the arapaima – the world’s largest species of freshwater fish. There have also been over 500 species of birds so far recorded including five species of macaw, 24 species of hummingbirds and 29 species of raptors. Mammal highlights include 8 species of primates (red howler monkeys, spider monkeys brown capuchins, wedge-capped capuchins, squirrel monkeys, bearded saki, white- faced saki and golden- handed tamarind) two species of sloth, giant anteaters, giant river otters, Brazilian tapir, giant armadillos, deer, peccaries and wild dogs. Despite this richness the wildlife here tends to be shy and sightings few. However, the station has a good record of big cat sightings, particularly jaguars and ocelots. Here the cabins down by the riverside were tight, no animals inside, nice with verandas and hammocks. We are located by the Essequibo River the largest river in Guyana, Demerara is number two. We are going to take a night trip on the river. Cato has had a little trouble with the stomach so he is staying at the cabin. He doesn’t like the idea of sitting doing what he has to do on the ripe of the boat.  We saw a bird and a caiman.

The next day Cato and I (Turid) are going on a fishing trip. We are going up the river with a boat and guide. The catch is 5 piranhas, tree for the guide and two for Cato. I am trying to get read of to bumblebees that are extremely noisy.

After lunch we went out in the boat again, this time we shall visit Kurupukari Falls to see the Amerindian petroglyphs a kind of inscription on the stones in the river. They say it stems from over 7000 years ago. Then we visited a small Amerindian village named Fair View. We saw a lot of cassava plants and we saw how they prepared it into flour. It was a really hot work with fire in the heat of the day. We also saw them making some basket work. After the visit we took a bath in the Essequibo River, above the falls.

So the last night in the jungle, heavy rain, a big frog concert and then another one from the howler monkeys. We are leaving for Georgetown from a little grass and sand bumpy airstrip at FairView. Her we met Kathleen, Stuart and Andrea again.

Onboard there also was a local guy with damaged legs do to a gas fire.

We were met at the airport and brought back to Cara lodge hotel in Georgetown.  The rainforest trip is over. We are set for a city tour. Good driver and guide. He had a lot of local history to tell. We were in a park too and listened to the police orchestra. In the canals in the park they had lot of manatees (See cows) to hold the canals open.

 

To night a night without mosquito net. This has been a great trip, thanks to all who participated and did this a good trip.

 


We have had a bit strenuous trip to Guyana, so now we want to relax, sunbathing and reading.

We are going to Trinidad and Tobago. No more early morning walks this time.

Janette, Lenard and Andrea are also going to the same hotel as Cato and me (Turid).

It takes about 55 min from leaving Georgetown to landing in Port of Spain the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago.

Here we had the only incident of not getting our luggage. Due to overweight and the balance of the aircraft they said. The plain could take about 50 passengers and we were about 10!!!

We had to wait until the next plain arrived, about 40 min later. That gave us the time to exchange some money and we had lunch whit the driver Benjamin, who had come to pick us up, and Andrea. It takes about 1.5 hour from the airport to the north-east of the island Tobago.

We are staying at Blue Water in, a small hotel nestled in its own secluded horseshoe bay.

There are a lot of birdwatchers here also and rainforest but we are not going to explore any of that, except for a little trip to Little Tobago, the island largest seabird sanctuary.

We had a free rompunch (sundowner) and went for a walk in the garden.

In the evening there were entertainment, a Steel Pan Band of seven and it sounds like? I don’t know.

 

It was raining but the sun shined in between and we had a lovely bath before we went to the local village Speyside. We shopped a lot of fruit in a local store and had a beer with the guys in a local brown bar. It is very steep here so it takes its toll to walk. We had lunch in a spot by the see on our way back.

Andrea is going to move, she think it is too expensive and a bit to quiet for her taste. We have now trouble seeing that.  

One day we walked over the hill and down to another horseshoe bay to take a bath,

On the spot there were some shaggy buildings, we saw a man and his dog on the beach.

On our way back we had a talk with him, I offered him the rest of our lunch and he took it and said: can’t say that I mind. Cato gave him some money too. And he told us that he was the caretaker of the place, a man from Germany had bought it to build a hotel, that was 9 years ago but he had not seen him since.

One night we had dinner with Andrea on The Birdwatchers Inn, she was going to travel further on the Island so we said goodbye to her.

 Here we have the opportunity to snorkel. We tried but the water was to ruff and I (Turid) nearly got under the boat and had to be dragged on board. Painful and ashamed I would not try any more for now. It was a glass bottom boat so we could see a lot of corals, and fishes anyway. On our way back we past Goat Island. It is a great building there that ones belonged to Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond. But the state has bought it and now it is falling apart.

We had lunch on the veranda, nuts, mangoes and wine.

One day we took the local bus to the next village Charlotteville, we had heard a lot of good stuff about it. We must have arrived at a bad time. It was impossible to take a bath on the beach, if you wanted a bath you had to take a boat and go father out. It was siesta and nothing happened. We did not like it there and sat on the beach and waited for the bus back.

So our last day is here. We just relax and bath. Because of the heavy wind the last day, some nasty burning jellyfish called the Portuguese Man-O-War has arrived. Makes it hard to take a bath but sometimes you have to. I did not; I was far away in a sound book, Beatles by Lars Saabye Christensen.

We had dinner and talked about our holidays. It has been a marvellous trip but now we are finished holidaying.  We brought with us a couple of beers and went to our room to pack.

Norway, we are coming home.    

 

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