Hunting for Anacondas and Fishing for Piranha in the Amazon

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. The clouds framed the bottom of the sky like a mountain range. They were dark clouds at first, that were soon illuminated by the first light of the sun. They turned red, and the light quickly began to hit everything in its path. It peered through spider webs and wove itself through the tall grass until it hit my face, immediately making me regret my decision to not put on sunscreen.

After breakfast, which consisted of the most delicious fruit I’ve ever had -especially the grapefruit- and empeñadas, Jesús took us to search for anacondas. This sounded cool until Jesús said, “A couple types of snakes here are venomous, but if you get bit, we’ll just go back to the boat. It will be fine. We haven’t had a problem… yet.” 

We started trudging around in knee high, dirty brown water. I couldn’t see a thing. Jesús then stopped us abruptly saying that we needed to have at least five meters in between each person so we wouldn’t splash each other.

Jesús buddy, I’m already bummed you’re not leading me around this snake infested swamp by my hand… and now you want to be further away from me?

Every once in a while, Jesus would stop and poke his giant walking stick into the water, and we would run to catch up.

It was never a snake though. After a couple of hours of hiking through the 90-degree humidity, I realized I hadn’t drunk enough water, and was way too dehydrated to keep going. I must have looked bad, because Jesús asked if I wanted to go back, and with the other two girls looking just as miserable, we returned to camp.

On the way back, we did happen to spot a Cobra that had just finished eating, so our snake hunt was not a total waste.

Piranha fishing was next, and as a vegetarian, I was wary of the activity. Ironically, I caught the first piranha of our group, and it also ended up being the largest. After pulling it out of the river, and watching it flop around, struggling for air, I decided to quit. 

Grace really wanted piranha for dinner. She did end up catching one and Jesús taught her how to gut and clean them. I made up for my murder later, by saving a catfish that flopped into the boat, so I felt like the scales were once again even. (Pun totally intended.)

The piranhas were so smart. They would chew around the hook and eat the meat off of it without getting ensnared. They were really difficult to catch! Their teeth were incredible and their color shone in the hot, Amazon sun. They are intricate and intelligent little creatures. I almost didn’t go fishing since I knew I wouldn’t even be eating piranha, but I am glad I got to see them up close! 

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