My time in Peru with OpWall was probably the best two weeks of my summer. Combining the unique experience of the being up close with the wildlife and the hands-on research, and meeting some truly amazing and inspirational people, there isn't a single better way that I could have spent my time.
On expeditions, we were separated into smaller groups of 6 or 7 to make out experience more intimate and more rewarding. I think it's safe to say that our group weren't the luckiest on the jungle treks, and our first transect in the rain-forest could easily be described as a disaster to some. After trekking about 1km into the flooded forest, we were met with our first swamp of the expedition. Although the guides had tried hard to create a path through the middle, the continued use of the bridge and the fragility of the materials used meant that it was a little trickier than expected, and I (as with many other members of my group) ended up knee deep in the water, collecting some great samples in our wellies! After emptying our boots and completing the last 1km of the trek, we had still come across no animals - which is risk you're always taking with biodiversity sampling. I wasn't disheartened by this, and as per out methodology, the team all took a seat to wait till the forest fell silent again before walking our second transect. Except that is when the rain happened.
All I remember is our guide shouting something in spanish, and the face of our leader dropped very quickly. This would be it: our first look at why the rainforest is really called the RAINforest!
What an adventure! We walked back at about 5 times the speed, bypassing any thoughts of trying to elegantly cross the swamp for a second time. By the time we arrived back at the boat, we were soaking wet and had only our ponchos to shelter us from one of the most spectacular of rain storms!
This was one of my favourite experiences from the trip. Not only did our team have the chance to really bond with each other, it gave us something to laugh about for the rest of the trip. I don't think i'd be able to say I really experienced the Amazon rainforest if I hadn't had the chance to experience their climate.
For those of you that are reading this and worrying, we did get the chance to see some beautiful primates on our next transect. That's one of the brilliant things about this expedition: you get to try a bit of everything, and most of them you even get to do twice!
Oh, and if you're worried about the rain, don't be. It was like a warm shower in the outdoors, and shelter wasn't too far away. If you are thinking about travelling to Peru with OpWall this summer though, I highly recommend taking a waterproof that you know you can trust, and that slips right into your day bag, because you can go from the bluest of skies, to the densest of clouds in a matter of seconds in the Amazon.