The flight from Quito to Coca was short but the difference in terrain and temperature was staggering. The deep clefts in the earth in the mountains around the capital gave way to the flat, bland aerial scenery of the Amazon basin around the river Napo. We landed and the heat hit us as we ‘de-planed’. Well, we got off!
|Lesser kiskadee - a type of flycatcher|
On landing in Coca we were met by a bus, entertained at their own basic but welcome facility where we could have a coffee and a snack while they loaded the luggage onto the first canoe. It’s about 70km (44 miles) to the first stop. How long would it take? Here is a canoe very like ours (this one is at our destination, Sacha Lodge Boat Dock):
|A motorised canoe|
What you can’t really see are the two 75 horse-power 4-stroke outboard motors at the back. They boarded us all carefully, distributing the weight evenly. The canoe pootles out into the river, turns to point the right way and then they open the throttles - like this!
The turbo canoe ride! Wheeeee!
Well, I’m sure everyone was surprised at the speed and we did the whole trip in 1h 45m, almost never slowing despite some perilously shallow looking water. The dry season had been very dry and the river level was low. That’s an average speed of over 35 Kph. Pretty fast for a boat.
|Collared inca - a hummingbird.|
|Cocoi heron on the Napo river|
To give you some idea how isolated this lodge is, open Google maps, cut and paste (or type) the words "Sacha Lodge Boat Dock, Sucumbios, Ecuador" (without the quotes) into the search box and press 'Enter'.
The 'Sacha Lodge Boat Dock is where we got off the Motor canoe. From there you can follow the path to the East (right through the forest to the 'Canoe Dock'. Here we boarded the small canoe for the trip across the lake to the Lodge itself. Then if you zoom out you can see the nearest road to the East about 50Km away.
|Green and rufous kingfisher|
We had dinner with Oscar, our guide for the next 4 days, and then went
to bed, ready for, you’ve guessed it, a very early start. Our wake-up call came
at 05.00 followed by breakfast at 05.30 so we could get into the canoe at 06.00.
Jörg, Lynne and Oscar, our guide at Sacha Lodge.
|Russet-backed oropendolas mating|
|The tree house from the ground|
|In the treehouse. Note size of branches even 40m up!|
|Lynne in the caiman-infested lake. She lived!|
|Small caiman in the lake|
|A handsome locusty thing.|
|UFB (unidentified flying bug)!|
|One of a few cockroaches in our room.|
|Hand-sized. This is only a moth!!|
|Stick insect on the bed.|
|Going down the stairs of the treehouse|
|Yellow crowned Amazons (parrots) at the clay-lick|
Lunch in a local wildlife reserve was followed by a tour through the forest looking for more birds.
|Waiting for sunrise on the aerial walkway|
|Half the span of the aerial walkway|
|Double-toothed kite on the wire|
|Double-toothed kite on the nest|
|Greater yellow-headed vulture|
|The fabulous long-billed woodcreeper!|
|Oscar (guide), Lynne & Phil as we were leaving.|
Ecuador - Part 1
Ecuador - Part 2
Ecuador - Part 3