Monkey Tracking Adventures (coda)

I’m home now, after a couple days of traveling back from Tiputini.  The trip home was calm, but not without a few interesting moments.

The trip home was basically a repeat of the trip downriver, but with a lot more people.  In addition to Tony and I, two of the student groups were leaving, as well as Diego, the station manager, who was going back to Quito for a break.

Leaving at 7:30 AM, we took a boat two hours and change upriver to another research station, where we waited for a truck.  The truck took us an hour or so down a road cut by the oil company through the forest to a checkpoint at the edge their territory.  There, we got stuck for a couple of hours waiting for another boat because of the rain.  The second boat was delayed because it was bringing another group of undergrads to Tiputini station, and their flight was delayed landing in Coca.  We sat around in a garage at the oil company checkpoint waiting, while the students chatted, flirted, grouped off to play cards, show off, and so forth.  Watching it all, Tony turned to me and said with a smile, “You really don’t need to go to the forest to see primate behavior, it’s all right here.”

The boat finally came, and we headed up the last stretch of the river to Coca.  We got stuck on a sandbar at one point, and the boat driver had to do some fancy motor work and poling to get us back in the channel.  By that time we were almost late for the plane. Fortunately, they held it for us (since our group was the majority of the people on that particular flight) and we made it back to Quito safe and sound around 7PM. 12 hours from station to hotel.

Photos from the trip are finally online on my Flickr site, for those interested.  All in all, a great trip, and one I hope to repeat in the future.

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