The oxygen rich air of the Amazon River Basin is the perfect body temperature where inside and out are at a precise equilibrium. Snaking our way down the sediment rich vein of water in a motorized dugout canoe, the light breeze felt divine on bare skin after yet another sleepless night bus epic through the mountainous interior of the Ecuadorian highlands. Our weary minds struggled to compute the mass density of living things surrounding us. Plants growing on vines growing on trees growing on other trees - all supporting the creatures buzzing, squawking, screeching, and stealthing their way through this beautiful disarray of vibrant green.
In the wet season, Laguna Grande is what you might expect - a big lagoon. The water is black with decomposing chlorophyl and a shot glass of the water each day is said to provide innumerable health benefits. Before the sun sets, we search for giant Anacondas hiding among the mangroves - some snakes topping out over 5 meters long and over 100 kg! Getting a tiny glimpse of one of the 20 or so resident Anacondas, we motor out to deeper water for a swim and to watch the spectacle of an Amazonian sunset.
After joking about pirañas and hesitant at sharing the water with the largest snake in the world, the experience is too inviting. Water and air are the same exquisite temperature and as I float on my back, parrots and herons traverse a pastel tangerine sky. This feels like an ancient place and the connection with the natural frequency of the jungle is ambrosial and soothing - even though I feel like I’ll be dragged to the muddy depths by an Anaconda at any second.
Nightfall descends and the low hum of the jungle radiates out to us in the middle of the lagoon. The ride back to camp is in complete darkness. Again unnerved by circumstances beyond my control, we put our faith in the 15 year old boat driver who is navigating by the shapes of the canopy at top speed in pitch blackness. Relinquishing the memories of logs we hit during daylight hours, I enjoyed the warm breeze on my face and bright stars above.
- March 2015