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  • Day8

    Arrival at the Orinoco Delta Lodge...

    March 13, 2017 in Venezuela ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    I have arrived in the Orinoco Jungle, at my home for the next 4 weeks, and it deserves an introduction...

    La naturaleza vive aqui, or 'Nature Lives here' is the moto for this place. The phrase is painted in 21 different languages at the entrance to the lodge, and rightly so. The Orinoco is a wild jungle; a vast network of waterways teaming with wildlife. In the skies I've seen Macaws, Toucan, Pelican, Eagles, and in the trees howler monkeys, bats, and tropical birds. I've seen giant lizards, toads the size of your head, butterflies bigger than birds and a variety of bizarre insects. The fauna is equally impressive with towering palms, banana trees, many colourful flowers, and in the water are plentiful fish, piranha, crab, and crocodile. I really am in the wild, and the sounds of the jungle remind me so; by day the incredible and diverse chorus of tropical birds, by night the constant chatter of a million cricket-like insects. Although very much loud and alive, this riverside paradise is the definition of tranquility.

    Upon arriving at the 'lodge' I was very impressed, not only by the beauty, but the size of this place. There is an enormous open central lodge looking over the river with decking above the water. Pathways extend from both sides giving access to the 40+ guest-cabins and other lodges that all face the river. Everything has been built by hand mostly with wood from the jungle, bamboo interiors, palms for roofing, and all surrounded by tall trees, thick vegetation, and swamp. The lodge layout is perfect; a well-established and harmonious part of the jungle.

    The transformation of the delta at dawn is incredible. I've woken up before sunrise a few times already to sit out on the river and absorb the tranquility. Before sunrise, the insects quieten, and the birds are still silent. The undisturbed water is smooth like silk, a mirror for the sky, and it is the only time when all is calm. The sky warms through shades of pink and orange, high wispy clouds become colourful, and the scene is reflected perfectly by the water. It gets brighter, the sun is risen, but it takes 30 minutes to appear above the high jungle canopy on the other side of the river. When it does, the lodge and jungle burst into flames of colour and character, and the orchestra of a million tropical birds fill your ears. A breeze picks up, the water is now rippled as if flowing, and the sounds and sights of the delta are transformed in minutes.

    The transformation of day to night is not as spectacular. I'm sure the sunsets here would be insane but the lodge faces East and the jungle behind blocks any view of the last hour of sunlight. Nevertheless, there's something special about dusk. As it darkens, the oil lamps lit, and the lodge lights switched on, there is a calmness again about the jungle. The water becomes still once more, and reflects what little light is left in the sky, as the army of relentless mosquitos emerge after dusk. On one occasion I witnessed a bright full moon rise above the palm trees just after sunset. However, most nights are clear, so when its dark the sky is spectacular. This place is remote, so the milky way shines bright (alongside fireflies) to the earie night noise of chirping insects.
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