J o n a t h a n   U .

Monday, 16 March, 1998
Yacumama Lodge
Yarapa River, Peru

Dear Diary!
Today was a day packed with many activities in the rainforest: it began very early; wake up-call was at 5:30 in the morning. From 6:00 through 7:00 our group was sitting in a boat floating around on the Rio Yarapa and watching birds. We spotted several birds including woodpeckers, a black collared hawk, and an Amazon kingfisher.

From 7:15 through 8:00 we had a wonderful breakfast consisting of Papaya juice, French Toast, Syrup, and a tropical fruit salad. After breakfast we had our morning workshop: CANOPY! Since my research paper was on that topic, I gave the introduction to the workshop. H. Bruce Rinker then handed out a rapid assessment observation paper, which we would use during our time on a canopy observation tower. The tower is around 2 miles away from the lodge, emerging from the canopy at up to 115 feet in height, and was built by Norman Walters ( the owner of Yacumama).

After fitting climbing gear we went to the tower by boat for our first canopy session which was getting familiar with the tower and “my favorite activity that day” zip-lining from the top of the tower over to another observation platform (Yippeeh!)

Around 12:00 we returned to the lodge to have lunch. Right after lunch, we went back to the tower to do some scientific research: Our group was split up into pairs, and each pair was assigned to one platform of the tower (the tower has 10 platforms) to record the number of species found from that platform. Later, each group compared its data to the results obtained on the other platforms.

At around 5:00 we went back to the lodge, where several women from Puerto Miguel, the next small village, were already waiting for us to teach us how to make Amazonian handicrafts. I started a basket, and hrrmh, I think I have to improve. Well, after that, at around 6:20 we all went swimming in the Amazon, which was really, really refreshing after all that sweating during the day!

Dear Diary, what can I say? After dinner that great day concluded with a slide-show by Bruce Rinker about “Canopy Access Techniques” and a roundtable discussion. You would not believe how fast that day went by. We were thinking about a night hike after the discussion, but we were so tired that we all went directly to bed to gain strength for another great day in the Amazonian rainforest.

Wow, what a day!

—Jonathan U.

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