River Rising... Rapids Ahead

Status Report-

Location: Western Suriname, Corentyn River, Day #3 Journey to Find Shaman of Kwamalasamutu

Local Time: 11.00 AM

Focus: Biodiversity & Traditional Knowledge

Health: Nothing growing in strange places

Morale: Ridiculously Positive

Equipment: Fair

Power: Excellent (supplied by nature)

Concerns: One DV Camera is 'dead' (we only have two), Olympus Digi Still camera is in a precarious condition!

Weather: Sunny, with clouds appearing rapidly...as they do!

Site Review: Thank you to the 13,000 people who have visited in the past 3 weeks... Sorry about the video's sound quality.... we are working on it. The best is still to come!

Last night was the first real indication of how powerful nature can be. This year's rains have been the heaviest in 40 years. The resulting rise in water level has literally washed away the river banks and flooded much of the surrounding forest. 30 ft high trees, that in drier times line the sandy banks that we had hoped to camp on, are almost totally submerged underwater... In fact only the topmost branches remain visible.

Today I thought I would try to write the diary as we travelled... In real time. Its 11.00 o'clock and the solar panels are out basking in the sun... batteries are charging and the laptop doesn't seem to mind the occasional splash of water lapping over the side of the boat...so I may as well.

So what is happening.... Max is scanning the river banks for signs of life, Jay is busy trying to resuscitate his olympus. (Whilst walking around the submerged camp last night he misjudged the depth of the water and took the camera for a quick swim... woops.... nothing a few nights sleep in a bed made of silica won't cure... we hope!). Howlers appear from time to time, although mostly we hear them off in the distance - this morning however, we filmed a group watching us from the tree tops.

We are heading towards Wonotobo Rapids, the largest rapids (or Sulas as they are known here) in Suriname. The plan is to reach them by nightfall (around 7 o'clock) so its going to be a long day.

Lunch on the move.... White lip pig...mmmmh bush meat!

So what's around me as I look out along the river banks? In general its green... a rich forest green made up of an incredibly complex entangled mass of ferns, vines, creepers - a blanket of natural camouflage that, over time, seems to have draped itself over the entire area. The occasional spikey palm and strangly shaped tree peaks out from underneath. Three scarlet macaws just burst out of the canopy and flew passed the boat. I can understand now why Roberto feels so strongly about parrots. Seeing them fly through the air chatterig away, I can't imagine ever being able to look at one in a cage back in Europe without feeling sad.

I feel very privilaged to be here in Suriname, even more so in this area. Apparently, only a very few people travel up the Corentyn, unlike the western river that we will be traveling down next month, the Corentyn is largely uninhabited and has little or no mining or logging activity, after Apura.

There have been a few expeditions over the years, for the most part these have been biological surveys. On each new trip finds have been made, new genus of plants, trees and insects discovered for the first time... In short, not much is known about the plant life here.. and the potential that it holds is truly immense.

In fact whilst back in England, we found a site about a planned bio-expedition on the Corentyn area. I think it was cancelled due to lack of funding however from what I could tell its aim was to examine and record species diversity, with the intention of highlighting the ecological importance of this area...have a look at the link below.

A bit later on! Its almost 5.30 and we are nearing the rapids of Wonotobo. The river is full of white foam icebergs made of what looks like washing up liquid. The anticipation is killing me... where are they? Join us tomorrow.....!

Its 7.30.. you've got to see the 4 star hotel we've found (see video)


A Day at the Office


Bush Food

LINKS - Suriname Biodiversity Expedition
LINKS - Convention on Biodiversity
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