A very dreadful night finally came to an end, with far to little sleep due to some extreme snoring from a fellow participant. All those beautiful sounds of the jungle that always put me to sleep straight away, was blocked out by the annoying and nerve-breaking sounds of snores. Is there any other sound that can be more annoying than that??
We started the day early this morning with the mission to hike up Turtle Mountain. The early breakfast was followed by a boat ride along the river to the foot of Turtle Mountain. The rainfall had been quite heavy during the night and the water levels were quite high which put a limit on the amount of trails that we could explore. Instead we spent longer time on the river, taking in the sounds of the birds and the jungle waking up.
Cheered on by Howlers
To the sounds of the birdlife, with the Screaming Pihas and Macaws the loudest of the morning, and the Howler monkeys in the distance, we cruised along the river with Herons and Kingfishers darting on the river’s edge.
We could see the elevated Turtle Mountain in the distance before we headed into the forest, moving along on the flooded trails, before disembarking at the Turtle Mountain Camp. We took in the 300 m tall Turtle Mountain that we were about to hike up. To the sound of the Howlers we set off, with the top with its view of the forest canopy below, as our goal.
No pain no gain
My permanently damaged knee was still in recovery from the hike we did in Surinam, hiking up Misty Mountain and it turned out to be quite a strenuous hike with the knee making me constantly reminded of its bad condition. But it was a very nice hike and as we approached the top with the amazing view overlooking the canopy of the Iwokrama Forest, the pain was soon forgotten.
Sweaty and tired we sat down to take in the views and the brought snacks. What a perfect moment it was! The view was stunning, the birdlife shot by below us in every possible colors and hue…It was a moment worth remembering, apart from the fact that I was actually seated in an ant-heap! Why couldn’t this moment just be savored without the interruption of annoying ants!?
Bullied by a Black Spider Monkey
As the perfect moment was suddenly disturbed by the ants, it quickly turned back around again, as we suddenly spotted movement in the canopy below us. We made out the shape of some brownish creatures in the canopy and indeed it was a group of Howler Monkeys, and as if that wasn’t enough, one of the juveniles was being constantly bullied by a young Black Spider Monkey!
What a show!
What a show we were to witness. These two monkeys jumped between the branches of the canopy at a real frenzy and one could only feel sorry for the Howlers as this annoying, yet entertaining Spider Monkey, were constantly harassing him. It was playful however and I’m sure it was on mutual terms.
The adults didn’t seem to bother about the game that was taking place, but soon we spotted more Spider Monkeys and in the end we could count to three individual Spider Monkeys and a group of 5-6 Howler Monkeys. We were all so stuck by the moment that I forgot that I was seated back down amongst the ants and didn’t care much about it.
A whiff of nature!?
A perfect start to the day and it provided energy and soothing comfort for the badly hurting knee as we started to hike down the mountain to head back to the lodge for lunch.
We were soaked in sweat as we came back to the boats and the breeze of the speedy return was much appreciated, if it wasn’t for the wiff of the people in front of you, sharing their scent without knowing it. It provided quite a bit of laughter in the boat.
Spotting for jaguars
After a much-needed lunch it was time for us to move on and we hit the road by cars, heading towards Atta Rainforest Lodge. We traveled along the road through the heart of the Iwokrama Forest. We were all fully focused on the road as our drivers told us that they often spotted jaguars on this road. The Iwokrama Forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans.
Atta Rainforest Lodge
With heavy dark gray clouds hanging over the canopy, we pulled into an opening in the forest, where Atta Rainforest Lodge is located. Rain was a certainty within minutes and we quickly unpacked and gathered in the dining area for the introduction. The major attraction and activity at Atta is the 154 meter-long canopy walkway, which has four platforms, with the highest being over 30 meters above the ground. The forest around the lodge is excellent for birds, and the walkway allow great view of a range of canopy species, many of which are hard to see well from the forest floor.
Birds and monkeys
Amongst the likely highlights are Painted, Brown-throated and Golden-winged Parakeets, Caica Parrot, Guianan Puffbird, Waved and Golden-collared Woodpeckers and Spot-tailed, Todd’s, Ash-winged Antwrens and is also an excellent place to look for various species of Cotinga including the poorly known and range-restricted Dusky Purpletuft including Red Howler Monkeys and Black Spider Monkeys.
Only minutes after our arrival, the dark and heavy clouds started to release the water they were holding onto with tremendous force and power. It was a proper rainfall that hit us, one worth remembering and it made us even more aware that this is what happens in the rainforest, and especially in the rainy season.
Sundowner in the treetops
The afternoon activities were delayed and limited due to the heavy rains that hit us, but eventually we made our way to the Canopy Walkway, doing an interpretative walk along the way learning about the trees and about their varied uses in the Macushi culture.
The Canopy Walkway didn’t provide us with much birding this afternoon and as darkness was about to fall, we enjoyed sundowner drinks on the platforms with cold beers and rum. A bit sad that the sun was nowhere to be seen, but the drinks provided us with some comfort though!