The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Rough Guide To Setting Up a Jungle Hammock

The time had come to haul our hammocks and food filled backpacks onto our shoulders and set off into the sweltering heat of the day towards the infamous 'Laguna' satellite camp, located a treacherous hour's walk away from GVI Amazon base camp. Tales had been told of a land where tree frogs flourished and caimen were plentiful lucking around the muddy waters of the lagoon.

With excitement for the Laguna night walk high and motivation for the exhausting, muscle crunching, sweat fest of a walk ahead, we finally made it all in one piece (just!) and wasted no time in scouting around for the best spot to pitch a hammock. We now have the experience to know this is a crucial decision, which can potential make or break the opportunity for gaining much needed beauty sleep.

Here are a few points for setting up a jungle hammock; firstly you need two good solid trees, spaced about three metres apart to take your weight, flimsy trees, equals bouncy sling shot hammock, ants equals bad news - don’t even go there and you need to know how to tie a good knot. A bad knot may mean you end up sleeping on the ground (like Guy and Paul did), potentially in a puddle of water if it rains (like poor Ruth), or the person left to pack it up may forever curse your name trying to un-tie the damn thing.

The next step is all about height and angle; tarp to hammock roof distance is important if it rains, as rain will seep through if they touch. Tarp and hammock flap angles allow for rainwater run-off, airflow and rainforest views; important if you want to make the most of your sleeping-in-a-jungle-hammock-rainforest-experience.

The last thing to consider. when setting up a jungle hammock, is stability, (which can be obtained by threading a sturdy stick through the strings at either end) and the precarious placement of your sleeping bag inside. These factors are not quite as important as the aforementioned steps, but certainly do help in making a graceful landing when sliding inside and tucking yourself in, after sitting around the camp fire and eating fire cooked spuds and sipping billy tea.

But, even if you don’t always get these steps right every time you set up a jungle hammock you needn’t worry, because that is the experience of sat camp. Sat camp is all about getting the hammock set up wrong, someone will always fall from the trees and land on their butt in the middle of the night and someone will always get attacked by ants, one camp night always gets torrential rain and sleep is generally something only a privileged few get to experience. But strangely this is why we love sat camp and why we can’t wait to go again. Well…. Some of us anyway!

Jas Rowe, GVI Amazon volunteer October - December 2009