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

Monday, May 24, 2010

A-Team Sat Camp

Back-packing and camping have always been two passions of mine. I have never been back-packing in a hostile wilderness. That all changed when I went on satellite camp:

Satellite camp def. “A one or more night camp within a remote part of the Yachana Reserve. At least two cups of tea, 5 marshmallows, 1 jacket potato and a roasted chocolate banana must be consumed before a rough night’s sleep in a smelly jungle hammock.”

Packing my bag before leaving on an outdoor adventure is something I hold in great reverence. Depending on how you pack, the walk can be comfortable or painful. Packing is everything. When we left for sat-camp at 1400h, my pack was comfortable. So comfortable, that I took someone elses from them when they were tired. Carrying 150 pounds for 15 minutes was an excruciating experience!

After a hot and sweaty walk, we got to the campsite and immediately checked our supplies. It was quickly discovered that no-one brought toilet paper or matches. Luckily, I had brought a flint with me. After an hour we eventually got the fire going – starting a fire without matches or paper was a very satisfying experience!

After we had eaten our dinner and drunk our hot drinks (thanks to my fire) we left on a night-walk around the Yachana Reserve's Laguna. We didn’t see much... until we found a 10-12 foot Red-tailed Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor constrictor) coiled up within a stilted palm! We followed it with cameras flashing until it eventually reached the water and swam away.

Sleeping was the final battle! Bugs were in my hammock and I could not get comfortable. The lack of sleep and the tough walk home were difficult... but the positive aspects definitely outweighed the negative ones.

Ben Opeka - GVI Amazon volunteer May-Jun 2010