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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The link for the "full" journal (I'll finish it one of these days!) is in my sig.

I was just flipping through my photo album, though, and decided to share a few pics and stories.

I've never seen this fish in the wild- and I'm glad! This is one Tetra I'll never even be tempted to put into my tank. We saw this monster in the ichthyology museum our 2nd day of the trip. I kind of wish we hadn't seen it till on the way out... LOL In the last photo, Gary was on the other side taking a pic at the same time I was, and I caught his reflection on the top of the tank- you can see the size of this fish compared to the size of his hand and camera!








We saw wild river dolphin every day. Unfortunately, they're so shy and quick that this is the only good pic I ever got of one. Barry managed to get a few decent shots and I'll upload some of his pics later.



These trees were outside the museum. The airplants on the first tree were amazing, and the Jacaranda tree had a bird's mud nest.




 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My very first up-close view of an Amazon tributary!



This was at the boatyard near Trinidad, Boliva. They were making barges the old fashioned way- with rough-hewn planks caulked with horsehair and tar.




This canoe was carved from a single trunk


The Most Beautiful Bird in the World went walking by
 

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Cool. I'd kill for a fishing trip down there someday. That first fish is a Payara. If you watch "The Hunt For Big Fish" you can see him catch some on in the episode Jungle river monsters in Venezuela. They catch them on live piranha under a big bobber in really swift water.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This was the boat we travelled 3 hours upriver in to reach the El Prado Reserve. I was positive after I saw all our luggage loaded on the boat that there would be a 2nd boat to take us upriver. I was wrong. Six full grown adults piled into that boat in addition to that luggage for 3 hours. The boat leaked. LOLOL


But the breathtaking scenery distracted me from the water collecting in the bottom of the boat. Our trip upriver started in the early morning.


You can clearly see the high water mark on this tree. We were in Bolivia in August, which is towards the beginning of the dry season. The river wasn't to be at its lowest until about now, December. This time of year is prime Import season for fish from the Amazon, as they're easiest to collect when the waters are low.


The numbers of the waterbirds everywhere was astonishing. Kingfishers, herons, egrets, ospreys, caracaras, fishing eagles and hawks, cormorants, anhingas- everywhere you looked there were birds, all supported by this one tributary that as you see, isn't very wide! The density of the fish population blew us all away.


These caves were most likely carved by catfish; plecos, hoplos, etc. During the dry season, the caves then house birds, crabs and snakes.


Rivers are places of continual change. This tree won't be standing much longer.


Bob caught this piranha for dinner after we unloaded the boat. I was very suprised to be captivated by the beauty of these fish. There were at least 4 or 5 different piranha species that schooled right in front of our cabin, and they were all beautiful fish in their own right. BTW- piranha taste good! They're just really bony... (You can also see all the water collected in the bottom of the boat :icon_eek:)


 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This was the view each morning outside the El Prado cabin door. Breathtaking!




The cabin. Rustic (no running water and only an hour or so electricity, what could be stored in the battery hooked to the solar collector), but functional.


"Playa Mariposa" The tiny beach where we docked the boats was always covered in butterflies of all shapes and colors. This one is next to an unknown Echinodorus sp. that was busy converting from submerged to emersed growth form.


Bolivianos use these benches to do laundry. I used them to place my shampoo, soap, and toothbrushing supplies each day. I learned that piranha love to eat Crest toothpaste, too. :icon_roll



The groundskeepers' ducks would typically join me for my morning washes. They have no idea how close they came to becoming duck a l'orange on poor fishing days...


And Corydoras by the thousands would wiggle between my toes in the mud.


One night Gary and I went night fishing along the beach right next to the boats, and all the fish were sleeping. With either our hands or tiny 5" nets we caught these Geophagus, Apistos, and Hatchets


The biggest mango tree I've ever seen in my life was just behind the cabin. Too bad for me the mangos were nowhere near ripe yet :icon_cry:
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Walks through the jungle. This fence ran along the border of the El Prado reserve, and we followed it down to a pond on our last day there for one last collecting trip.


This is the typical habitat where you find most of the fish we like to think live in habitats like our tanks... we're wrong. This habitat was packed with dwarf cichlids (apistos, severums, laetacara, dicrossus, etc), piranha, catfish (Rineloricaria, hoplos, cories of several species including dwarf, other plecos...), tetras, hatchets, and on and on... But muddy, tannin-stained water with no aquatic plant life just doesn't look as pretty to us. LOL




These were everywhere, and painful if bumped into or stepped on. Our best guess is some sort of freshwater sponge? They look like sea urchins, but don't move.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some of my very favorite pictures were taken around the nearest town to El Prado (our port of departure and arrival via boat), Bella Vista.




This little boy was trying to catch up to his older brothers and sisters and running behind them yelling, "hey wait for me!!!"




The Boys taking a break to watch Hot Chicks go by


Hot Chicks
 

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It looks amazing down there, (judging by you pictures)! Did you feed the piranhas? Other than the toothpast I meen!
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Does anyone have any idea what type of tree this is? Jim and I were totally enamoured with it (we got left behind b/c we were busy taking pics and everyone else walked off LOL) but neither of us had seen anything like it before:








Here's some other flower pics I took. There were gorgeous exotic flowers everywhere, even during the dry season






 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Last but not least, our very last collection site. A pond in the middle of a cow pasture filled with manure. Literally. But Parotocinlus covered this log!


And I forgot again the full name of this Ludwigia species, but here it is growing both emersed and submersed (becomes a lovely floater)


 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The El Prado reserve consists of almost 3000 acres of privately-owned reserve along the Rio San Martin in rural Boliva. The owners are conservation and research-minded, and to further those goals are very willing to host trips for research, responsible recreation, and/or hobby.

Bob Reynolds put together our trip, and cost was approximately $100 per day, including travel in country and meals (Costs do vary depending on the accomodations you wish. We did a very rustic trip.) We paid our own plane fare to & from Bolivia and also for our own Visas & exporting.

If anyone is seriously interested in going on a trip, Bob can be contacted through the El Prado website: http://www.elpradopreserve.org/
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Cool. I'd kill for a fishing trip down there someday. That first fish is a Payara. If you watch "The Hunt For Big Fish" you can see him catch some on in the episode Jungle river monsters in Venezuela. They catch them on live piranha under a big bobber in really swift water.
Oh I hadn't seen that episode! I'm VERY glad we didn't catch one! lol
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You sure got a lot of amazing pictures.

I gotta make it down there someday.
You'd really enjoy it, Devin. And considering, it wasn't that expensive.

Also- I never did tell you what happened with that glass picture box you helped me with. I had the cut glass and materials all ready to go, and they made it all the way to the airport... and then I left them in my car!! :icon_cry: Actually, as it turns out it would have been difficult to get good pictures with it. The water was too murky, and we generally went through all the drinking water we could carry with us just trying to stay hydrated.
 
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