The ground is set at the ARC to welcome the first expedition team. Over the last few days Alfredo and I have worked on the datasheets and a weekly work plan including various tasks for each group. We went out for a night walk in the forest spotting a tarantula and more nocturnal animals, unfortunately no mammals, though.
Writing this I am waiting at the Tahuayo Lodge for the team members to arrive from Iquitos. All of them have made it despite late arrivals and cancelled flights from Australia. Once they arrive here, the rest of the day will be packed with introductions, safety procedures and background information about the animals and the research.
Having spent most of the time working on our computers and finishing preparations, Alfredo and I can’t wait to go out into the field.
Alfredo and I reached base yesterday. The speed boat brought us to the Tahuayo Lodge in 2.5 hours, where we switched to a smaller boat. After the record floods of some months ago, the rivers are now very low, so it took us another 1.5 hours (!) to reach our final destination: the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo River Research Centre. So out of the window goes our timetable so far (nothing is a constant as the change of plan on expedition).
Over the next couple of days we’ll be setting up base as well as our survey walks and canoe trips. We’re looking forward to welcoming trailblazing group 1 in a few days. Please come prepared for the unexpected and with the appropriate guinea pig attitude 😉
I am writing from Iquitos where I arrived the day before yesterday in the late afternoon alongside two bags and two big boxes filled with expedition equipment. I felt pretty spaced out when I finally stepped off the final plane into Amazonia, having travelled from Africa for 38 hours, dipping into various countries and timezones. After the first night my watch was finally set to local expedition time ;).
Yesterday morning I met up with our local scientist Alfredo who did a great job guiding me through noisy streets and crowded shops for some hardcore pre-expedition shopping. It was around noon when we ticked the last bits and pieces off the shopping list; as far as gear is concerned, we are now ready to leave for the jungle and when you ready this we’ll probably be in a boat to the remote research centre about 2 1/2 boat hours up the Amazon and then many smaller rivers.
I now also have a Peruvian mobile number: +51 961 821125 (for emergencies only) but please note that there is no mobile phone coverage at base and you can only reach me by e-mail from tomorrow on.
Finally, I’ve uploaded some pictures to give you an impression of Iquitos: a view of the Amazon (early morning after a heavy downpour), famous motortaxis and street life outside the A&E hotel.
Safe travels group 1 and I’ll see you at our research base on Sunday.
A couple of admin things: I will not be at the A&E office assembly point for group 1 as I will be at the research station preparing things for you. Someone from the A&E office will be there to meet you and put you on an A&E boat to the research station where Alfredo and I will be waiting for you.
As per the expedition dossier “The expedition team will leave Iquitos shortly after assembly and from then on it will be extremely difficult to catch up with the team or find base camp. If for any reason you miss the assembly, contact the A&E office, Iquitos, Peru at +51-65-242792 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.” A&E will then help you catch up with the expedition, but hopefully this will not be necessary as you will all be there on time at 08:00 on 19 August (group 1).
The assembly TIME (not date, which is still 26 August) for group 2 has changed to 09:00, so you get to lie in for another hour and I will be there to collect you at the A&E office assembly point.
Hello my name is Malika and I will be your expedition leader for our Peru 2012 expedition, in our new location near Iquitos just off the mighty Amazon river.
I am early with this diary entry, because I am about to leave for Namibia where I will lead the first group of our big cat & elephant expedition. I will pass the baton in Namibia on 11 August and then fly via Johannesburg, Sao Paulo and Lima to Iquitos to meet our scientist Alfredo there and prepare the expedition. So this is just a first entry to say that I am off and you will hear from me again when I have hit the ground in Peru, and perhaps before.
With the expedition not too far away, we thought you might all like to see this recent camera trap picture of a jaguar taken not far away from the research station by our scientist Alfredo. With your help we are hoping to get more of these kinds of pictures, which are crucial for our research and conservation work.