December 10, 2000: Río Caura cerca de la boca del Río Mato
We saw freshwater dolphins out on the water yesterday. We were lucky because their backs are gray and they can be difficult to spot. They snort air and water with a peculiar cough, before arching through the water like the saltwater dolphins I used to watch off North Carolina's outer banks.
Today I stayed at camp to go through my notes and photographs of the trip. I was amazed at how the river level has fluctuated.
When we first arrived, there was a strip of bare rock about 20 meters long, covered with fine sand (and possibly stingrays!) where we could bathe, wash out clothes, and dry them. Now the river has risen so high there is barely space to dock the canoes.
PEOPLE: Meet Philip Willink, fish ecologist.
TOOLS: Watch your fingers! There's a live piranha in this net.
SPECIES: Mystery snails – what species are they?
The scientific teams are winding down. The fish team dragged their trawl along a wide sandy beach for seven and a half hours but caught only ten fish. Tomorrow, the teams will have to sort through two-and-a-half weeks worth of samples and pack them well for the long ride up to Maripa and back to Caracas. We will miss the pristine serenity of the Caura, but everyone is ready to return home.
— Reported by Jensen Montambault
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