January 2, 2010
Sani Lodge - Coca - Quito
We were up at 05:00h to give ourselves lots of time to organize everything for our journey back to Quito. We had been told to leave our luggage outside the cabin before going to breakfast.
We left the dock at about 06:40h and turned to get a final glimpse of Sani Lodge. It was quite treacherous navigating this larger, heavier boat through the shallow channels and we often ran aground. We also felt the bottom of the boat strike submerged logs on several occasions.
At about 07:40 we arrived at the staging point where the boat with the canopy top to take us to Coca was waiting. We transferred into it and had no sooner set off than we had to reverse out of shallow water and try a different angle to get to more open water. It was sunny when we left but cloud cover moved in later on.
At 09:30h a snack was passed around to everyone. It consisted of a sandwich of cheese, lettuce and tomato on bread baked at the lodge. As always it was wrapped in a banana leaf, one hundred percent biodegradable and perfect for keeping the sandwich moist. Two pieces of fruit were also provided.
Several times we slowed down and changed course, a couple of times we scraped bottom, but we eventually arrived at Coca at 11:15h. We immediately boarded a bus for the airport and were quickly whisked through security to the gate for a 12:00h takeoff.
We landed in Quito at 12:25h and were met by the ever reliable Juan and Sandra and taken to the Sebastian Hotel. There we retrieved the luggage we had left behind before going to Coca and were happy to get to our room where Miriam immediately soaked in a hot bath, followed by a shower. I showered and we both changed and went out for a walk through the streets of Quito.
We located the restaurant, Mama Clorinda, recommended by Jason and Lindsay, but it was too early to eat, so we strolled back to the hotel. By now it was hot so we sat outside and enjoyed a cold gin and tonic. Afterwards we relaxed in our room for a while and then walked up to the restaurant for dinner.
We both enjoyed traditional Ecuadoran food with Miriam boldly trying cuy (guinea pig). We had seen pictures of it presented whole on a plate so she elected to have half a cuy. She was a brave soul to eat it! You could still tell exactly what it was!
Returning to our room, we got an early night in preparation for the journey tomorrow.
All species January 2 - Speckled Chachalaca, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Striated Heron, Western Great Egret, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Turkey Vulture, Great Yellow-headed Vulture, Western Osprey, Pied Plover, Yellow-billed Tern, Large-billed Tern, Common Pigeon, Eared Dove, Orange-winged Amazon, Smooth-billed Ani, Neotropical Palm Swift, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Tropical Kingbird, White-winged Swallow, Russet-backed Oropendola, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Red-capped Cardinal.
The personalities on the Amazonia part of our trip
Olger Lecuy. Satisfactory
Our boatman, helper
Juan was terrific. We really enjoyed his company. He was always friendly and helpful, quick with a smile and had great eyes for spotting birds.