The two weeks I spent in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest were two of the most incredible, unforgettable weeks of my life. I would recommend Operation Wallacea expeditions to anyone who has the opportunity to go on one, as I would go back again in a heartbeat.
From early morning breakfasts in the rainforest for mistnetting (where we ringed and measured birds such as Wire Tailed Manakins and even a Toucan!) to late night canoe trips upriver to catch and measure Caiman (and stroking their stomachs to keep them calm) everything we did was absolutely amazing. What made the trip more amazing were the groups we worked in, the people we became close to and the funny times we shared as people fell into the swamps in the jungle or couldn't catch a fish in a survey.
Nearly everyday we had lectures about the local area or different types of birds and animals native to the Amazon Rainforest. All the lectures were really interesting and made the surveys we carried out more meaningful as we understood more of what we were seeing and doing. The lecturers, biologists and guides were honestly some of the kindest people I have ever met and had the pleasure to work with.
From floating upriver counting pod size of dolphins to trekking into the jungle and recording monkey group size and activity, there was never a boring moment and always something new to try out whilst on the surveys (such as GPS, filling out data forms or using different measuring devices). The skills you learn whilst on an Operation Wallacea trip are so valuable and you don't even feel like you are learning difficult techniques as everything is so fun and interesting.
Nothing could ever beat waking up on the boat that has become your home and seeing dolphins jumping outside the window on one side and the jungle teeming with life on the other. Exotic birds and butterflies fly over and around the top deck where you can spend free time washing, reading or just getting to know everyone you are sharing the incredible experience with. The sunsets that lit up the sky every evening were absolutely breathtaking.
There may have been a few unexpected visitors in the rooms at night but it was nothing a bit of bug spray couldn't fix! Another concern I had before going was about what food I might get to eat but there was nothing to worry about as we got three very filling meals everyday... as long as you liked rice, pasta and eggs.
My experience in Peru is one that I will treasure for ever and I hope to join future Operation Wallacea teams travelling to other parts of the World.