We couldn’t hear our guide yelling “Anaconda” for the sound of the waterfall, but when we heard him we rushed over Paima creek and there was indeed a real Anaconda!
A little persuading
We walked over two days in the jungle at the foot of the mighty Kanuku Mountains to reach Paima waterfall. I heard about this place on two previous tours where we visited the same creek just in the mountain where it for a short stretch is known as Jordan Falls. I was determined to go Paima the next time possible and in May 2015, Brian Erasmus came in contact with me through another tour operator in Guyana. After some convincing Brian agreed to shift his idea of a boat tour out with a trekking expedition in the jungle covered Kanuku Mountains and off we went.
No Pain, No gain!
It is always hard work to get to an area by foot, but I must admit the walk to Paima is breathtaking. There is a good terrain, crossing over the clear mountain creeks and then trees! Since no man made tool, structure or knowledge can make it economically viable to lumber for wood. The forests here stand in its natural state of glory. This counts for 99% of the 100 km long mountain chain, described as one of the least explored places on the surface of earth. Back here we were at Paima falls with the guest Brian, Magnus and Joe our local guides, and me. Brian wanted to see snakes and I had tried to calm down his expectations, since we did not have a boat at the location.
Normally a boat will almost secure snake spotting, especially tree boas since they hunt in the bushes along the rivers at night. The first night we were so lucky to encounter a young Amazonian tree boa in the camp. We got some cool pictures before he moved up in one of the trees but I was still a bit nervous if we could find enough to satisfy Brians wishes.
Magnus finds the Anaconda
The next morning was nice and relaxing and while Magnus and Joe were preparing some lines for the night Brian and I were relaxing back in camp with some fishing and diving around the creek. The guides came back and after a short walk for some heart of palm the rest of the afternoon was set for more fishing. Magnus was running on the other side of the creek when he suddenly started jumping around, waving his hands and yelling. We couldn’t hear Magnus yelling Anaconda for the waterfall, but when we heard him we rushed over the crystal clear Paima creek.
There it was in a small pothole of water under some bushes. Both Brian and I got ecstatic and I started to see if there was a way we could get him out. 1 meter behind us was the waterfall and behind the pool thick overhanging bush.
He was not in the mood of being grabbed!
Ready to strike!
He already laid curled up ready to attack so approaching him was almost impossible. Joe took a branch and poked him gently and he started moving around. I was so caught up filming with the video camera that I barely noticed that the Anaconda was moving slowly towards the surface to strike at us. He did indeed strike up in the air but I moved in time and he was back in the water again. Now all the sediment got around the water and we couldn’t see him. After a couple of attempts getting him in a position to catch him, he jumped out of the pothole and in a second dropped in to the pool in front of the waterfall. There was no chance of us getting him in so much water and he slipped under the surface not to be seen again on the tour.
It was not the last snake we saw!
The Kanuku Mountains are excellent for animal spotting and the inaccessibility protects it, the actual area is only used by local Amerindians for fishing and a little hunting. The rest of the tour gave us several other spotting of animals such as the Rainbow Boa, Juvenile tree Boas, Frog eating snake and then of course mammals such as Labba, Agouti, river rats, monkeys, opossums and caimans. More than I could have ever wished for on a trekking expedition.
Brian was tuff as a nail and his enthusiasm for photographing nature and animals made us walk combined close to 40 km on our stay, but the time spent looking for animals was definitely a big part of our success. If you are looking for adventures like this, check out under the section tours. We will be happy to help you out.