We got up at sunrise (5.10 am), had breakfast and packed our things for that day’s programme. With the sun setting early, at about 6 pm, we were even up an hour earlier than the day before, to make the best of the little daylight we had.
Before the boats left we carried out some water tests at the shore of the camp to compare the fluctuations of the values between ebb and flow. The water level varied in the course of the days by at least 100 cm, in some places by up to 250 cm. In the evening we repeated the test. In this way the conductance showed us the influence of the water flushing in from the sea.
That day’s destination was the narrow river “Nanarina“ with fast flowing water and an apparent abundance of fish species. Trees rose from the left and the right like an archway over the water. The further we advanced, the narrower and shallower the stream became. After about 30 minutes there was a fallen tree blocking our passage. This forced us to explore the surroundings by snorkelling. It was hard to move forward with so many branches under the water. We fought our way through the thicket and found a beautiful river course, where we managed to climb out of the water with the help of a liana. It was really incredible how much weight this thin “branch” could hold. Due to very cloudy water we were not able to see or catch many fish, although the fishermen said they were there.
Some shrimps, tetras and livebearer entered our catch net, but we didn’t get a glimpse of many of the species supposed to be at the site.
In the midday sun we returned to the camp, had a meal together and set off for our second destination of the day: the anaconda sandbank near a farm. At the farm the head of the family proudly showed us a young caiman and a baby anaconda, which he had caught some days ago. Such animals are traded in for rice and other foodstuff with travelling salesmen and secure the family’s livelihood.
Only a few hundred metres away from the farm, behind some water hyacinths, drying in the ebbing tide, we found a water hole. To reach it we had to crawl through deep mud and we sank up to our hips in it. The iron-rich water discoloured our clothes and nails, but none of us cared.
In the narrow tributary we caught some young knifefish, a killifish species, and a lot of small tetras, an Ancistrus, Nannostomus spec. and plenty of other species, which will be determined afterwards.
On the way back we stopped at a sandbank and found, directly next to the whitewater, a clear blackwater brook. Unfortunately it was full of broken wood and difficult to walk along. Since the sun was beginning to set we stopped our activities to return to the camp. We were really impressed by these many small biotopes, only a few metres away from the major distributary of the river. They differed so widely from each another and from the major distributary.
After dinner in the camp, group leader Andreas Tanke gave a lecture about catching and locating fish in South America.