Leaving Lagarto for Cicra was mostly a relief as we’d finally be back on friendly ground, but it was a little bittersweet for me because I didn’t feel like I’d gotten enough good photos on our days slogging through the jungle. As it turned out, Cicra would be my best opportunity for getting good shots, but we were only there for a day and a half. The first evening we did part of the first transect, and the following day I stayed at Cicra to take photos while Luis and Jason finished the rest of what they needed. With the transects all finished and a lot of work waiting for Jason back in Puerto Maldonado, we headed out a day earlier than expected.
My day in Cicra was pretty productive, and I wish I could have had more time there. I set out early, and hiked a good portion of the nearby trails that day. Some highlights were a gigantic Cane Toad I photographed on the trail, climbing their 250 foot tall tower over the forest canopy, and paddling around a little lagoon surrounded by palm trees filled with chattering monkeys.
I got many different shots of this big guy, but I prefer this intimate portrait where a tree trunk was obstructing the right side of the lens.
The beautiful little lagoon at Cicra. My metal water bottle will be at the bottom for the next 100,000 years! I leaned over the bail some water out of the boat and it fell out and sunk like a stone, and even near shore I couldn’t find the bottom with a long pole.
Other than my movement in the boat the lagoon was perfectly still, so I focused in on these dead palm fronds and their reflection in the dark water.
Our boatman climbing the several hundred steps from the river to Cicra with his big personal bag on his back. We had speculated about why it was so big, and towards the end we found out that he didn’t know whether we would be camping out or not and so brought a big sleeping pad.
A 4 inch long caterpillar that will eventually become a Saturniid moth. I chose to go with a more intimate view, for obvious reasons!
When I saw this little butterfly land on a smooth palm trunk facing the ground, I decided to try and get a shot from below looking up. Naturally, the butterfly took off as I approached, but luckily it kept landing back on the same tree, and I was eventually able to get this portrait with the lens flat against the tree trunk and facing up.
Heading back to Cicra after the first partial transect, just ahead of a nasty looking storm.
Climbing the tower in the early morning by headlamp. Early on in my climb, I looked up and mine fell off my head and ricocheted all the way down to the ground, so I had to climb in the dark. No big deal, I figured, until I saw an inch long bullet ant silhouetted against the faintly lit eastern sky where I was about to put my hand. They’re called bullet ants because their stings are said to be that painful, and I had visions of getting stung and involuntarily letting go. Instead, I just climbed around it.
Jason and another researcher taking in the sunrise from above the canopy. It was amazing to be up there, and one of the highlights was watching colorful jungle birds flying by beneath us.
A view looking over the edge of the top platform, notice my rubber boots.
One of the best amazon river vistas i’ve seen, from a high bluff near Cicra.