The creatures and I didn’t make it to Almirante for church today due to dinghy issues, (and that’s our car ride in) so we have spent our day together waltzing through the rain forest in search of sloths, monkeys, red frogs and anything else that we could find. Not even 5 minutes into our adventure, we found 5 different sloths. Most of them were filling their bellies with Cecropia leaves. Some sloths have been known to eat bugs and lizards too, but after seeing the slow pace that these guys move, in my opinion, the bugs would have to climb on them and curl up and die in order for the sloth to catch them.
I love spending time with the creatures. They make me laugh, and I feel like a better person when I am with them. Our conversations as we explore are always filled with interesting topics…one of today’s was, if you could have anything to eat or drink from the mainland, what would it be. At that point I was dripping with sweat, and my first thought was one of those freshly squeezed lemonade slushies, and Jude agreed, Emma said a Krispy Kreme donut, Aidan said a gyro, Jonathan wanted a big juicy hamburger, and Mycah couldn’t quite narrow it down.
We reached our lookout point and soaked in the beautiful scene, then turned and made our way deep into the jungle.
Many small ant hills covered the ground today.
They looked like someone had neatly arranged Milo powder (a drink in South Africa) into square mounds, then made a hole in the middle. I almost wanted to taste the dirt it looked so delicious…but, I didn’t.
The rainforest is always wet, with decomposing leaves covering the path and new growth in colors of bright green and yellow scattered throughout the foliage. The warm air is thick with humidity leaving every part of your body covered in sweat, and a wonderful rich earthy smell fills your nostrils.
Looking up, huge trees tower above, with thick vines draping themselves down their trunks and branches like hanging tapestries. The leaves high above form a rich green canopy while branches below are decorated with plants that need no soil and produce beautiful flowers in every shade and color imaginable – though red seemed to be the color of choice today.
Just when you think you’ve seen all the flowers in the area, something unusual jumps out at you.
Sometimes Mother Natures creates delicate petals, and sometimes she forms flowers that look like bumpy caterpillars oozing from a Playdough machine – like this one that hung proudly, about 3 inches thick and 12 inches long.
I think I’ve overcome my fear of frogs. Toads are another story. But these little guys are so bright and beautiful. They are a poison dart frog, who reach their level of toxicity by eating ants, centipedes and mites. Alkaloids fill glands in their skin and depending on their diet, they can be quite toxic. When tadpoles hatch, the mothers will often lay unfertilized eggs in the water for the babies to eat, and these eggs are high in alkaloids as well – causing the babies to become toxic. Scientists have extracted some of this poison from their skin and made painkillers. Maybe next time I have a bad headache I’ll pop one of those babies in my mouth;) (just kidding Mom)
I also spotted this little guy. He could easily fit on a dime and sat so quietly for me to take his picture.
The jungle was bursting with life as usual, and then we found evidence that trolls live in these parts. A giant 3 inch booger from one of them dripped from a broken stem.
We took a different route to come back to the marina and didn’t get lost this time, but we did see more beautiful things.
Many banana trees stood tall in the pouring rain, some of which have almost ripe bananas on them.
I kept the camera hidden under an extra t shirt for the duration of the hike back, and we were all refreshed and washed clean by buckets and buckets that got dumped on us from thick grey clouds. It was wonderful!!!
About 5 minutes before reaching the marina, the sky cleared and the sun attempted to dry things off again.
I love imperfections in nature – like partly eaten leaves for instance. It reminds me that my imperfections are ok too, though I will always try to correct them in myself.
These pods grow close to the marina. Once they dry out they crack open and spill their seeds, allowing new trees to grow and continue on.
As I walked through the marina entrance to come back to the boat, I noticed these tube worms down in the water. A school of tiny fish were exploring to the side of them.
What a beautiful Sunday morning.