Thursday, May 5, 2011

From bad to AMAZING.........!!!!

Ok, so the other day a few of us in the group based in Jalova at the moment were privileged to be able to speak to loved ones via Skype, by taking a weekly boat trip to the nearest town, Tortuguero! Everyone was really excited, hoping to pass on news about how many turtles we'd seen on turtle walk, their sheer size, if we'd counted the eggs of a laying turtle, any exquisite birds we'd seen or crazy little monkeys that sometimes decided to throw branches at you!

We were all hyped up, arriving in Tortuguero at around half eleven, to find that the Internet place wasn't yet open. As a few of the cafes don't open until midday, we collectively decided that the Internet cafe would follow suit and open at twelve, so to fill the time we decided to fill our bellies at a really nice local restaurant! As usual, the guys wanted to eat pure slabs of meat and so opted for the steaks and the girlies went for the slightly healthier options!! Anyway, the food was scrumptious!!

To get back to the subject, we went back to the Internet cafe and to our dismay found that it was still closed and discovered that it was to stay closed all day due to being Easter. Everyone was devastated that they couldn't get the chance to speak to boyfriends/girlfriends, friends and family, so the day seemed to drag.

As can be imagined, the boat trip back to base was pretty quiet due to the circumstances of the day, but we were enjoying the dense jungle views and bird sightings along the canal. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to understand that you're literally in the middle of the rainforest!!! Anyway, our quiet reflecting was disturbed by a piercing shriek from Sonja, although upon turning around to the direction of the scream it looked like it could even have possibly come from Joao (a guy!) from the elated expression on his face! We could all see the excitement and disbelief on Joao and Sonja's face but their words were incoherent apart from the word, 'Jag', so we simply followed the direction of their pointing arms!!! Appearing around the corner and coming into focus was a jutted out log on the edge of the canal with a jaguar only leisurely stretched across it! Everyone was in a state of hysteria, grabbing for their cameras and being incredibly vocal, when usually we are so quiet so as not to disturb the cool animals we see. Tina, one of our resident budding photographers, leapt to the front of the boat and started incessantly snapping the photographs, probably stripping her fingers of skin, but it was all worth it because her photos are fantastic! After the initial shock of seeing the jaguar, everyone was silenced in awe of the tremendous, powerful, yet beautiful feline we were observing, lying in a relaxed state before our very eyes. As the boat neared the creature, it felt like an eternity and the mutual eye contact between the jaguar (the beauty of its eyes was indescribable!) and ourselves was fascinatingly intense. At this time was when we could really take in what we were seeing and it was a unique moment. One striking image that remains in my mind was the size of the paws of this creature and its obvious strength, yet what overpowers that was its pure elegance. As the boat got within a few metres of its hangout, the jaguar slowly stood up and silently retreated back into the rainforest, turning back once to give us a final farewell. It seemed apparent that everyone had stopped breathing during this encounter as suddenly the silence was deafened by huge sighs and exhalations of air! The expression on every single one of our faces was of sublime joy and disbelief, along with huge grins from ear to ear! (Photo by Tina, gallerytinaphotography)

After never even expecting to see a jaguar here, or at most to see a flash of one, the fact that we saw one in its fully glory was astounding! This is without a doubt an image and memory that will be retained for life! the day turned out pretty good!!!!

Jenny Smith



Amanda Broome said...

You lucky buggers! That is an amazing experience...why oh why didn't I quit my job and stay on! I can just imagine how hyped and enthusiastic everyone is now after that encounter! How wonderful for you all! Great photo Tina! What a stunning animal!

Dom G said...

Wow! What an incredible encounter and superb photo. Lucky people.

Maybe someone should disable the Tortuguero internet connection permanently for wildlife-watching purposes!