This morning we headed out to one of the 10 meter deep “pits” to do soil sampling. We were still hoping to see monkeys too, but no luck. Did hear a toucan in the forest and tried to track him but the leaf litter is very dry and we are so not stealthy – he ditched us.
Later, Paul took us for a tour of the ranch through many, many soy fields and through the rubber fields that I did not realize were even there. The fields looked like maple forests in Vermont – with the taps and buckets etc… The rubber was nasty looking though and smelled like dirty, stinky, cheese feet!
We also took a hike out to the edge of the Amazon Forest and into the Jungle. The temperature rose and the humidity skyrocketed but the stream at this location was pristine. We couldn’t get very far though because the tiny wooden bridge had collapsed in places and was very rickety in others. In between the tour of the ranch headquarters and the rubber tree plantation, we needed to retrieve a datalogger from the Darro River. It is placed under a wooden bridge (away from prying fingers) and pretty difficult to reach. We voted for Carmen (the grad student) who is the youngest and most agile. She retrieves the logger, amidst double tractor trailers and various other motor vehicles passing overhead and threads it up through the boards of the bridge to be downloaded and replaced safely back in it’s pod under the bridge. Pretty cool operation!
On the way back “home” we saw a tapir just moseying across a soy field to a nearby stream. We decided to drop Kathleen nearby with her video camera and Paul and I would take the truck out of hearing/sight range so she could “stalk the Wild Amazonian Tapir”. He wandered very close and she got some great footage but he ended up getting spooked and took off back from whence he came. – no drink this trip!
We got back in time, after the work day was done, to hit the reservoir (or as they call it – Donkey Pee Pond - there is a story). There is a 2-person kayak so we took a spin around the pond and then floated for a while in the inflatables.
Usually, the scientists and crew leave the ranch on Friday afternoons and head to town (Canarana) for the weekend but since we lost a day traveling, we are staying tonight and heading back tomorrow. The cook and the other Brazilians are gone already so Chris (from MBL) went to town, got some food and we’re having a cookout tonight – just the 6 American scientists. We’ve been invited to a barbecue at one of the Brazilian scientists houses on Sunday – yummmmm.
I’ve tried and tried to post pics here but no luck so far – maybe shutterfly????