Travel Journal


(Monday 10 August 2009) by Brennan-adventures
The internet crashed on me last night again--- I've uploaded more photos this morning-- check them out....Sorry to be a pain to you all :-,

Hello folks,
Firstly let me apologise for any wrong spelling in the last blog… done under extreme pressure… Mike wanting his dinner!!! :-|:-(
I do know I keep spelling BONITO incorrectly at times…. That was the correct spelling.

Well the big day had arrived, up with the larks… well for me anyway at 6-45am, Looking for my shoes I found a visitor…. A baby tarantula…. Well it was a small hairy spider. Ecology or not it was dealt a death blow from the killer spray, and ever ready Brennan was then spying around for others in the room before breakfast !! }-)

Breakfast was served in a room alongside the pool, looking into this room from a tree was a monkey, I think all he saw was his reflection because all he did was keep raising his eyebrows and baring his teeth….. a bit like us showing our whitened teeth…. His however needed the Doc Goto touch-up treatment!
After breakfast, having to use the wipers to take the dew off the car!!, we headed off to collect the underwater camera. It turned out to be a lovely little Sony 10 megapixel job inside a hard plastic sealed case that allowed you to still use all the function buttons on the camera… Cost to hire £13.00 for the day, were we asked for extra deposit… No!!! :-?

We had an option to meet a mini-van in town or make our own way to the river flotation place. We knew we would be travelling on dirt roads, so it was decided for the sake of my back to go in our car. The road was a good road for a dirt one, lots of stones intermingled with the sandy soil, so it was quite hard. There were lots of large lorries using this road as well, collecting animals from the farms and also some kind of mineral deposits… no idea what as it was lost in the translation!
After 18kms of track we arrived at the large farm that had a huge area laid out for snorkelling equipment, horse riding, quad biking and cycling. There was also a large reception area and alongside it a restaurant and dining area. The price of the ticket included lunch…. Hmm??!!

Well the moment arrived sooner than I expected, there was room on the flotation group before the one we were booked on, did we want to go??
Oh Cripes well here goes! 8-O
There were another 6 people waiting, all Brazilian, only one other man and me had never used a snorkel before. We were sized up by eye and handed scrumptious neoprene suits of various colours. We then were given some diving boots, life jacket, snorkel and mask. Well the getting on of the suit was a little fraught, mostly as the temperature was 32c in the shade. The getting in of the arms was the biggest problem, not much “give” in the suit and having to hockil it up over you shoulders was quite exhausting !
Next problem for me the closure around the neck….. TOOO tight, thought I was being strangled, I have a problem normally with thing around my neck in fact think I may have been hung in a previous life, probably as a witch!! ;-)
The guide, a lady, said we didn’t have to close the necks… whew!!

So here I was dressed in black over the ankle boots; a lovely white wobbly area between that and the start of the blue slug suit, which only reached above the knees…… I could see I was going to have problems with the group photos… Like I didn’t want one at all!!
At the time I was completely focused on my own body inadequacies in the slug suit, not realising others maybe looked as bad. We were then loaded onto the back of a truck, with benches along each side and driven about 3km to the river……. or so I thought.
Getting off the truck we then had a 20min stroll through the forest, looking at the trees and palm nuts, she was taking us to “where the river was born”… Yes the river was lovely and clear; yes it was a lovely blue colour in places because of the mineral deposits…. But for goodness sake does all this need to be done in the lovely slug suits in 32c???!!! >:-)>:-)
I was getting munched upon from the mossies who seem to have a voracious appetite for white skin… maybe we are sweeter, anyway the legs were looking as if I had a case of chickenpox, and I was feeling like this was a form of torture, dying of heat exhaustion before I got to the river.
When you see the photos you will see how excited I look about her talk, and hoped that she would stop talking sometime this century!!

Eventually we got to the river, sheer bliss getting the legs in the cool water. Then was the quick instruction about mask and snorkel, I remember Mike saying if there is water in the pipe, blow it out…

One by one we had to get into the river for a photo, once in the river I was surprise how fast it was flowing… You remember how buoyant I am anyway, well the life jacket did me no favours, and I felt completely out of control… for a control freak like me not a nice sensation!! :-|
In was in charge of the underwater camera, now the visibility in the river was clear, the water cold and moving quite quickly. Some areas were over 2m deep, and there were lots of fishes of various sizes, their colours were quite drab though.

Now the trouble I was having was trying to set up the photo while bobbing along about 3-5mph, breathing through the snorkel AND trying to keep myself away from the vegetation/bushes/trees at the side of the river. I found all this a little stressful, and at times panicked I was drowning… so then looked like a beached whale in terror mode, thrashing around trying to keep my head above water to sort out the mask/snorkel.

When the river got shallow the current fairly wheeked you along…. Hang on to the knickers time!!
I did find the people floating in front looked like dead bodies hanging in the water, and at times went crashing into them.. by mistake… as I was unable to control speed/ direction. You have no idea how stressful it was, I did panic a little when the current got fast and I was approaching logs in the water !!! The only saving grace was at the end of all us “floaters” was a lady in a boat in case anyone had a problem…. She didn’t spot me though, or maybe I looked like I was in control??!!

Well suddenly I saw people had stopped, hanging onto a wire strung across the river. YES.. getting out now was my thought, this was in vain as we still had to travel a little more. You have no idea of my disappointment, and the shit… more hell to come flashes through your mind instead !! :-(

Well as you can see I must have got through it, Mike was very impressed with the photos and videos I took underwater. He could NOT believe I had not enjoyed the experience. His words were…. That was the best thing I have ever done, it was so relaxing !!!!! :-O:-O
I was now more than a little concerned about the floatation booked for the next day!!!!

After peeling ourselves from slug suits, and trying to clear one ear which had water in it, off we went for lunch. You’ve guessed it everything had garlic except for banana Lasagne….. yes I did write that correctly… and the usual salad stuff. My lunch consisted of banana lasagne, 3 slices of boiled potatoes and two slices of tomato…. Yum Yum!! Mike had salad, some chicken legs, rice and potato…. But no-way was I kissing him!!
After 1 hours rest, we were on the next part of the adventure day… quad biking. Neither Mike nor I have ever ridden one before, so approached with a little trepidation. Hard hats on and a quick talk through, we were off.
Now this was more my thing, total control.. finger off the throttle I slowed right down, jammed it on again and took off like a bullet, nearly tipping over…. Methinks a lighter touch was needed!! 0:-)

Off we went into the trees, the tree roots were a bit of a problem to negotiate but we soon got the hang of it…. At times on the uneven ground the bum was a bit sore, but MUCH better than the flotation. We stopped at a waterfall and was asked did we want to get in… didn’t know this was on the agenda so had no cossies. One of the guides went in so he is the Adonis you see emerging from the waterfall.

The trip was over much too soon, but FUN was had…. Thumb was a bit stiff after controlling the throttle, and covered with bites, and a deaf ear but I was now smiling, the world looked good!!

The first thing we did was stop in town at a pharmacy to buy bite cream and something for my ear. I was so impressed with both; the cream worked instantly suppressing the itching and the ear stuff was a clear liquid that was just 70% alcohol.
I had to put 3 drops in my ear every 6 hours…. 30seconds after putting the first lot of drops in ….I COULD HEAR.
As you can imagine we slept like logs that night; that is after checking the room for any unwanted visitors!

Well at breakfast next morning we were visited outside the window by the Ema… Rhea. My breakfast did not go down too well, probably because I knew flotation was on the menu when I had finished eating. This time we did not have to travel anywhere, both activities were at our hotel. Back into the fetching slug suits… this time a matching black ensemble. NO boots though… one thing I hate the thought of is soggy stuff under my feet in the water. I did ask about crocodiles and anacondas… and was told not to worry there are none in the river…. More about that later.

This time with no camera, off we went…. slug suit on , life jacket, mask and snorkel. The walk was only about 10 mins BUT when he stopped at the steps going down to the river Mike laughed and said as a joke… “you are going in here”. Well the river had an oily film on it, looked like somewhere you would avoid at all costs in case you caught something!!
I laughed and replied not a chance…. Well you are two steps ahead aren’t you… Yes we had to get in the river there.
Ok head around this fact quickly then prepare for launch… I was expected to go in first, I don’t think so… Not a clue what is under my feet and not sure how fast the current was… I tell you once bitten = twice shy!! x-|x-|

Mike got in first I could see he was not whisked away so deep breath and off we go, this time I held onto Mike’s hand for grim death the whole way along this river, I still panicked when the current suddenly hit us but, felt safer with my HERO.
This river flowed slower, but was much deeper in places we recon 5-7m. There were fewer fishes but lots of trees that had fallen into the river, from the riverbank you wouldn’t have a clue. I found the whole snorkel breathing thing a bit easier, but it still would not be top of my list of favourite things to do, however if I had to - I would again.

When we arrived back at the hotel we were supposed to have a chill out until the afternoon then we had booked to go down the same river in a huge ring. I knew there was some parts that were rapids, what I was nor prepared for were the waterfalls!! :-\

Well getting a little ahead of myself there so let’s backtrack. We just arrived back at the hotel and were told you can go on the river rings now --- Gosh hardly time for the loo !!!!

Off came the slug suits and in their place …Hard hats.. same as climbers wear were handed out, as were new dry life jackets. Eight of us were on in the river ring party, off we started on the trail to get to the river, passing the oily place we had entered 1 hour previously, we arrived at another entry area.

We were told there was two ways of using the rings- First on your belly so you could use your arms, the other was sitting in the hollow. I decided sitting was my thing. The others started on their bellies, so we are now all into the river… and lulled into a FALSE security of calm and tranquillity. B-)

I found there was no control when sitting in the ring, thought I would try to turn onto my stomach…. My god couldn’t get one way or the other, legs flailing around and worried I would tip out, I decided sitting was my only option. Now the river was in control… Scary feeling again!! :-|:-|

My little flipper hands making little contact with the water and definitely making no difference to the direction I was being taken. Mike had turned onto his belly… top marks to him, and I have no idea what technique he used… maybe the full turn from a pike position, like the divers at the Olympics!! Anyway he was having more control over his ring… me?? Well the bushes and the trees at the side of the river took up most of my time and attention, again STRESS. >:-)

One of the guides told me to hold onto Mikes foot and have him drag me along… all very well unless you have someone shouting “ are you ok back there being lady muck”!! Like I really wanted to come that close to his feet in the first place!! 7-)

Well the first rope across the river approached and the noise told me we were approaching a waterfall…. The others had started going over it one by one and I could see they all fell out of the ring…. Having visions of the blow-up bed in the swimming pool and trying to get onto it I was dreading the getting back into the ring… thoughts of it pinging away from between my legs!! :-\:-\

Well my turn, a spin from the guide just before the waterfall… about 1-= m drop… filled me with dread.
Popping out of the ring like a champagne cork and under the water, fighting to get to the surface I was panicking, found I was under the ring (in the ring part there was a fabric bottom to sit in.) with the fabric part above me… A hand grabbed me by the life jacket and up I came. I HATED IT, and we had just started. :-(:-(:-(

Back into the ring- sitting again… why I couldn’t lie over it was I was worried about hurting my back, if I sagged into the hole of the ring….
So back to no control, and Mike was behind me now. The river was determined to take me under every large tree, I was looking for spiders and snakes up them and desperately paddling with my flipper hands….. Little chance of me not hitting the bloody tree!! Luckily the hat helped save my head.

The guide appeared and got me going in the right direction… toward Mike’s feet, and I was hanging on for grim death again. I was travelling backwards so started kicking my feet to help us move, Mike would forget that I was travelling behind him at an angle and he seems to like floating downriver near the banks… with the result I still hit the trees he missed but at least kept moving!! :-|:-\

The dreaded waterfall noise again, well you will see on the photos how much I was enjoying this… I HATED it more than the floating on day one. NEVER will I do this again!!
At each waterfall there was someone taking photos… mine all had photos of my eyes shut tight and pulling faces. I did not fall out again though.
Mike at one point couldn’t do anything because he was laughing so much at my misfortune…. The river took us around a corner and the river opened up to a large lagoon, I lost the current and was taken under a huge tree, completely alone, all guides and Mike well ahead of me… Was I there forever???

I tried again unsuccessfully to turn belly down on the ring, so having to use my little flipper hands, I nearly fell out of the damned ring trying to get enough contact to the water to get myself moving… I tell you if I never see another damned ring it will be TOO soon. Well back into the current again and TOTALLY ignoring Mike except for his feet, which I caught up with and held onto, him trying to tell me he had waited for me… Huh how long for- until I died of hunger or drowned??!!
Well he then stayed alongside me… think my silence told him I was not happy with him or the situation!!
Again I was wishing it would end, luckily a few minutes later we were out… I felt like doing a Pope thing again and kissing the ground.
Well all that activity and it wasn’t even midday!!

Lunch was a ham and cheese toasty, so at least I had a full stomach!!

Lets go back now and have a few words about the anacondas and crocodiles … We didn’t see any BUT in reception there was a photo of a huge anaconda in the river taken close to the hotel… they say 2 years ago.. Well what else would you expect them to say, you are hardly going to go into the river if they tell you last week!!
Also having bought the video of the river ring experience what do we see under the animal heading??? A crocodile - honestly I don’t feel so stupid asking if there were any in the river now!! 8-O8-O
Well we are adventured out… at least I am for a while.

Hope you enjoyed our time in Bonito, I would say VISIT here and make your own mind up about the floatation and river rings… maybe I was just a little anxious about not being in control!! One thing though always carry the camera, you have no idea what you will see next!!
Will send another blog on the next part of the trip… heading to Maringa.
Love to all
Laur x

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