A Travellerspoint blog



This morning we found a large male on the bank of the river, nestled beneath a bush, barely visible and moving not a twitch. We waited. And, then we waited more. He must have realized that we had no intention of moving on until he was moving up so…

My photograph is marginal but my enjoyment and excitement were superlative.

The morning began in fog and it persisted for at least 90 minutes after our 6:30 departure on the river. A photo of Gene’s glasses tells the story. large_GeneGlasses.JPGBut no matter. Our time on the water was full of delights, foremost among them the hour or so we spent with our jaguar. If he was hunting I could not discern it; he simply was. Nobody was going to charge him with vagrancy or loitering because this is his house and his yard on his street. large_JaguarCU1.JPG

Later on, we took a turn onto the much smaller and narrower Cachiri River which feeds the Cuiabá. A short way in, we were treated to something new; we cut the engine and Tom straddled the bow with a single oar as we rode the slow current through the twists and turns of the Cachiri. At times the channel narrowed from 400-500 feet wide on the Cuiabá to 20-30 feet wide here on the Cachiri. With the engine cut and the resulting silence, the beauty of the place was enhanced with sounds that were shrouded by our 90 horsepower outboard motor…until now.

Caiman abound here as everywhere. There must be millions of them in the Pantanal. It is hard for me to fathom that there is enough food to sustain this population, but, of course, there is. What we can see above the water’s surface is dwarfed by what remains unseen beneath it. Fish jump and splash, birds dive to catch fish (as do giant river otters, caiman and more caiman) and it all goes unseen to those of us marooned on the surface.

In a car on a roadtrip, you find yourself on the sunny side or the shady side. Here, the river twists and turns in a serpentine bordering on partial coils, at times turning back on itself so tightly that a bulldozer operator in a half a day could shave a half mile off your journey by cutting a short channel from the left bank of one turn to the right bank of the other. My floppy hat is a mandatory accessory needed on all 360 degrees of coverage shifting from moment to moment as we follow the channel’s deepest portion avoiding the shallows where we might run aground. There are also water plants hitching a ride on the current which we must avoid lest they foul the prop on our twenty-two foot eight passenger shallow vee-hulled aluminum boat. The seats are great with slightly angled backs so the time aboard is pleasant for both the eye and the back.

At one spot, we came upon a dozen or more caiman sunning themselves and we decided to stop for a bit. They paid us no mind, giving me a chance for a group photo with me in the foreground. Soon after, they scrambled.large_PaulAndCaiman.JPGlarge_CaimanSayAhh.JPG

Back at the Jaguar Retreat our lunch is local catfish and pirhana. Both are quite tasty and the latter is picturesque as well. After a rest, we were back on the river.large_PirhanaHeadDinner3.JPG

We passed capybara coexisting with caiman, caiman coexisting with their late lunch, another iguana on the riverbank, all of us basking in the sun, enjoying life, away from politics and strife and all the rest that occupies too much of our time at home. There were, sadly, no more jaguars to be seen on this day. This was true for everyone in the Pantanal; we know this because we are all connected via radio and the guides all share sightings.large_CapabaraWithCaiman.JPGlarge_CapybaraAndPups.JPGlarge_IguanaC.JPGlarge_CaimanLoveFish.JPG

We are back at Jaguar Retreat just after sunset where dinner is at 7:00 giving me time for a shower and a few minutes at this keyboard.

There is nothing to do at Jaguar Retreat but eat and sleep and use the WiFi; more on that later.

I am happy and learning new things from fine people, enjoying Gene’s company including his stories which contain his own special brand of humor and tails of his experiences which are many and intriguing. I must get to Borneo and Mongolia. We are getting along fine which is a good thing because we remain the only two guests here. I am writing this in the only public space at Jaguar Retreat which is the Last Supper supper table in the dining room. Food is coming out so I shall use that as an excuse to stop typing and enjoy instead a very large Antarctica Pilsen Cerveja (local beer).

This is not a trip for everyone but is for certain a trip for me.

Posted by paulej4 17:41 Archived in Brazil Tagged caiman pantanal cuiabá jaguars

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.