Tuesday, May 18, 2021
This morning we departed our Quito hostel for the Amazon! A 20 minute plane ride took us from the bustling capital to a rustic town called Coca. Here, we met our new guides who escorted us down the expansive Napo river. We reached our lodge in the Yasuni National Park around midday and began exploring our surroundings!
Our expert guides took us on a paddling excursion in the afternoon on dug-out “canoas” to look for wildlife. Highlights included spotting squirrel monkeys and sloths in the canopy, watching macaws and flycatchers soaring overhead and seeing brightly colored orchids tucked into the landscape.
After a surprisingly extravagant group dinner, we returned to the water to seek out nocturnal organisms. Long-nosed bats careened around our flashlight glow while we looked for the shine of Black Caiman eyes along the bank. In the quiet of the night we began to notice smaller creatures that were hidden during the day. Juvenile electric eels swam under our boat and tree frogs hid in the foliage. We all felt a sense of “home” watching fireflies blinking on and off throughout the night.
I think its safe to say that everyone in the group had an awe-inspiring first day in the Amazon. As biologists, being in one of the world's most biodiverse regions is such a privilege and a dream come true!
You can check out more trip photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8eDMdvX8mXmMNTzx5