We arrive at a black water lagoon as the sun is setting and our guides tie the three skiffs together. I notice for the first time that the barman, Aquiles, is on one of the other skiffs. He produces a bottle of champagne and makes Mimosas while the guides give us small parcels of nuts wrapped in banana leaves. As the sun sets we sip Mimosas and listen to the sounds of the Amazon. What a marvellous way to spend Christmas Day!
Once it is dark the guides untie the skiffs and we set off to look for caimans. A caiman is a member of the alligator family and averages between one and two metres in length. They can live up to fifty years and mostly eat fish. Humans are the caiman’s number one predator, as they are often hunted for their meat and skin, causing them to now be classified as a ‘threatened’ species.
The guides shine torches over the lagoon, as the cayman’s eyes will shine red in the light allowing us to locate them. It takes us a while to find our first one, but after that we can see the red eyes all over the lagoon.
We head over to where we have spotted one and the skiff driver cuts the engine. One of the guides leans over the side of the skiff, we hear a splash and he reappears with a small caiman in his hands. He gives it to me to hold; it is a beautiful creature and is still very young and small. We take a few photographs and then release the caiman back into the lake, unharmed.