And So It Begins

And so it begins....

After a couple of hours sleep and a night of frenzied packing we awoke this morning ready and prepared for the six weeks journey ahead. While Paramaribo is a fascinating city, it was with some relief that we left this morning and headed off towards the East of the country for a rendezvous with Roberto Plomp. Roberto, a local to the area has asked us to join him on a short trip up the Maratakka river. He has drawn the attention of the World Wildlife Fund to the decreasing numbers of Parrots and Macaws in the area. Having met with Gerald Zondervan, WWF's programmes officer for Suriname yesterday, they have agreed to fund this short trip so that we can help draw attention to this situation.

We loaded our boat from a small wooden jetty in the village of Wageningen, started the engine and headed off up stream. After all the preparation and crazy activity of the last months it seems incredible to be finally under way again. From this point on the organisation is over, now all we can do is literally let nature take its course ... the rivers course ...

To be honest I think we all imagined this first day to be something like the opening scene to a Joules Verne novel - basking in the sun, drifting through the Amazonian rainforest, staring at the passing trees, seeking out the occasional parrot or colourful Macaw whilst chatting to Roberto.

It took all of five minutes for these romantic images to be washed away... literally. The heavens opened - a tropical downpour - 'just a flash shower' I had thought. Confident that nothing short of a natural disaster could numb the excitement of this first day, I grabbed my rucksack and located my trusty rain jacket... not just a jacket, (remembering the words of the saleman back in England) "a lightweight, rugged almost military piece of equipment...!" As Joules Verne and his epic colourful adventure faded in my mind so to did my faith in the raincoat. I was soaked through in seconds.

The trip to Denfifi, a small camp in the middle of the forest, close to the banks of the Marrataka river, took nearly 4 hours... 4 hours of solid rain... In reality the journey was a dream... the jungle closing in around us as we made our way further into the forest, leaving behind us the outside world and all its complications. It was cold, in fact really cold, which wasn't a feeling I had counted on; at least not in this part of the world.

So back to the reason we have been invited here. Sadly, I haven't seen any parrots or Mackaws yet. It may have had something to do with the fact that I spent most of the trip sheltering from the driving rain underneith a piece of plastic . Roberto however, scanned the skys and this evening, as we sat eating dinner, lamented the absence of his favorite river companions.


Runningman with Roberto Plomp

The Maratakka

Definately not a Parrot

LINKS - World Wildlife Fund
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