Los Llanos – Venezuela
Last post I’d rambled on about various trips of a lifetime, one of which included Venezuela, and that got me digging out some of the photos from that little foray. Clicking through them revived memories of sights and smells, particularly from our exploration of Los Llanos (Loz Yanos) with naturalist and all-round nut-case Roger Manrique aka ‘Croc Roger’. Now, this blog is supposed to be about living in Turkey but as our trip started here I decided to stretch a point and share some moments with you.
Los Llanos is a vast, semi-flat wetland area in Barinas Province. It’s criss-crossed by countless rivers that all feed into the mighty Orinoco River. Crossing one of the numerous bridges en-route to our base I was surprised (although I shouldn’t have been as the largest known oil reserves in the world are here) to be driving by a Venezuelan Navy base.
Due to flooding in the wet season all of the roads are raised up on dykes that have been constructed by digging out along each side. This means that during the dry part of the year great pools remain that attract the wildlife from all around. Observing at close quarters is ridiculously easy and when you add in river trips to seek out everything from anaconda to caiman to electric eels to iguana to piranha to giant river otters to pink dolphins to . .
three different Ibis in one shot
What follows is a glimpse of what is in store for those intrepid wanderers who don’t take the plunge like Roger and stay sensible and fairly dry with fingers and toes tucked well in! Meet Pepe, an orphan Giant River Otter that was adopted by a local – he’s loving and inquisitive; fishing piranha for supper; getting wrapped around a male anaconda; three different coloured ibis in one shot and sunsets to die for!
Roger catches young male Anaconda
Roger shows Anaconda’s teeth
Anaconda demonstrates use of teeth!
J demonstrates her skill at snake charming
Howler Monkeys (they really do!)
J with ‘Pepe’ a young Giant River Otter
Piranha – this time . .
I get to eat you for supper!
. . as the sun goes down
. . the Iguana come out
as handsome a vulture as I’ve ever seen
a fishing eagle
Anteater at dusk
beautiful reflections on water
Alan Fenn, once upon a time up the Orinoco without a paddle!