The day started very early; 5 o’clock in the morning I started off with Benito DoSoura to go to the forest base camp of Cikel. Of course the ultimate goal was to find the notorious jaguar, a sighting that gets reported every once in a while on the forest roads. But I knew that it would be a very small chance. But still, you never know.
It was still dark when we left. The sun just came up when we entered the gates of the base camp deep in the forest. Also here, all of the houses were painted in those gorgeous pastel colors as in Pacajá. As it is rainy season in Brazil, the work in the forest has been stopped for this period as the rains make it impossible for heavy trucks to drive there. For those of you who think that modern forest management is still a guarantee for whole areas of forest cut down completely, think again! FSC membership guarantees a very sustainable method of selection, cutting and transporting trees. Immense projects of replanting, but also social programs for education, employment and housing of local people are in place. A meticulous chain of custody is mandatory. I’ve been in these forests, where trees had already been cut, and to be honest, I could hardly see a trace. The roof of the forest is still closed completely. Actually, the only signs of destroyed forest I saw were burnt down patches of forest by locals to gain agricultural grounds.
One of the reasons why we didn’t see that many animals was possibly the obviously preferred choice of music of our driver! 🙂 The volume was turned to the max and by the time we saw an animal, it had already heared us coming from a mile off. Must admit I didn’t have the guts to throw the bloody radio out :-). Still we saw deer, agoetis, lots of birds and howler monkeys that gave a deafening concert above our heads. No good pictures though.
The afternoon we boarded Benito’s boat again, and again I had the best of times. LOVED the silence! 🙂 Especially at the end of the day, when Hans was again waiting at the jetty but this time with ice cold champagne he had gotten for his 50th birthday (!), the day turned into a fantastic one. What a treat! The children that got their evening bath had meanwhile gotten used to our presence and gave quite a show for the camera!