More bars in more places

Day 11: Charitocracy Day

Maurice woke me up this morning “quietly” getting ready to leave the room around 5:45am, so I just decided to get up, too. By 7am I had climbed to the top of Belvedere, the name of the observation tower at our resort. Moe was up there, too. But a sign enumerating the rules for the tower includes “Silence!” so I just nodded at him.

All along the watchtower

Mr. Belvedere

My hope was that I’d find a reliable cell signal up on the tower above the tree canopy. I was not disappointed. Full on 3G! Pages load in only 20 seconds! I knew I should be blogging about the 3 new July Charitocracy nominees, but when I set out to start that, I realized I still needed to blog about the June winner. 4 blog posts to do, and 4 days before the July Top 10 would be selected, the same day I fly home. So I had my work cut out for me! [Future Benj says: “You failed to mention to readers who don’t know you, Benj of yore, that you and Jessica run a nonprofit where donors pool their small donations and vote on the best charity to win it all each month. As little as $13/year to join in the fun!”]

Plugging Charitocracy

In between our two excursions today I banged out all 4 blog posts. What usually takes me 20 minutes to write each took an hour, since I was working with my iPad on a slow connection instead of my Mac on a fast one. But I got it done! June winner (Together We Rise, for those keeping score at home) posted to Charitocracy blog and cross-posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and mailing list. Nominee posts for RAICES, Pan-Mass Challenge, and Mission 22 written and scheduled for the next 3 days. 😅

The excursions I was working around were canoeing and dolphin searching. The first was especially fun. Eric was back paddler and I front paddler for our canoe, dubbed Team America by our guide, who was paired with Moe. There was also a Team Germany, an older couple, and Team Brazil, two middle-aged vixens as Jessica would have called them. We were all racing around through the flooded jungle in our traditional Amazon river canoes and squat heavy wood paddles. (The water here is about 30m higher than it will be in October.) Eric and I were showing off by slaloming around obstacles at full speed.

Ready for canoeing
photo credit: Maurice Ribble
Team USA
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Team Brazil

Moe the teacher's pet and Team Germany

After we got off the canoes and back onto the speedboat that brought us and the canoes to this part of the river, we had the opportunity to swim for a while. Everyone except Team Germany partook. It started raining. It felt really great! The funniest part was each of us trying to climb (or be dragged) back up into the speed boat. It was not graceful.

Moe was no least graceful

All's well that ends well

The other excursion was a boat ride out across the archipelago in search of gray and pink dolphins. This would have been exciting on Day 1 in the Amazon. But on Day 11, we’ve seen these dolphins almost every day. It’s hard not to see them.

Pink river dolphin smiling

Another pink dolphin

I won’t even mention that I have dolphins in my back yard at home in OBX. (Oh, snap. I just did.) However, the highlight of this excursion was the boat ride back and forth. This was the first time I was taken on shortcuts across islands in a speed boat. The captain wasn’t particularly careful about it, either. We were banging into and bouncing off trees like it was jungle pinball. We barely fit, and we’re getting branches in our faces. But it was pretty cool, having only done this in slow kayaks and canoes previously.

Motorboat shortcut
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Bird of prey

Wait for it...

Some critter is missing its ass end

At dinner there was a tarantula watching us eat from the interior edge of the thatched roof.

Tarantula decoration

Just chilling out, doing his thang. NBD. That’s pretty much the attitude of Amazon wildlife, and I can fully relate.

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