We have just spent the two most magical weeks in the Orinoco Delta located in Venezuela. I know, you are scratching your head because we were supposed to be in Tobago. We met a few friends at the dock in Trinidad that were headed to the Orinoco Delta and after going back to the boat to find out what and where this place was, we were ready to go. We set sail early Wednesday morning with two other boats; Stewart and Sheila on Imagine and Paul and Maureen on Calypso. It was a short 50 mile run to the mouth of the river and made it there before 4pm. I will try to keep this short but if anyone wants me to send them the daily emails I sent to my family, that were much more detailed, let me know. The Orinoco delta was listed on the 1000 natural wonders of the world and is posted on the National Geographic site and for good reason. Although this is Venezuela, the inhabitants in this area are Warao (Wad-OW) Indians which have their own language. They live in open huts (survivor style) with only hammocks for each family member stung up. What I realized later, when I visited a friend I made in one of the villages, is that this is all they have plus a small Tupperware of some sort to hold papers and special items. They are rich with family and nature but lack bare necessities. As we cruised by these sparse villages scattered through out the many creeks, tons of these little canoes which they dug out by hand from a big log would come out filled with kids and parents to bring gifts. These gifts were ranging from handmade necklaces, baskets, bowls, and hand carved wooden boats. In exchange we would give them what they needed; such as clothing, ointments, toys, food, and bags. The parents loved us since they really needed children’s clothing and, I have to say, I am loaded with beautiful baskets all over my boat. The Warao Indians are the nicest people I ever meet! “Danny” from the Wanamacana village gave us a personal tour of his “Casa” and villagers. He was the only person we met that spoke fluent Spanish (I did my best). Most of the Warao Indians don’t know how to read or write but some are educated in the Spanish language (the men) so they can take a boat to a near by, up river, factory and work. We met a lady in the village who made hammocks and could resist buying one. It took her 30 days to make ours. I could go on and on but I haven’t even started on the wild life… Every day the wildlife changed. We started our trip surrounded by Scarlet Ibis. They are birds that resemble the flamingo but much smaller. They are Scarlet red and just burst with radiant color against the greenery. It is quite a jaw dropper when you see them. Just beautiful! During the entire trip we did daily 6am tours down small tributaries to explore. During the first couple days we saw screecher monkeys, fresh water dolphins, parrots and one mystery water creature. Howler monkeys were constantly growling in the forest but couldn’t see them. As we went deeper into the jungle the wild life changed again. Toucans, parrots and birds everywhere! At one time I was sitting in the front of the boat a Toucan flew just a few feet in front of my face to cross the river. The tributaries were like getting on a ride at Disney. As soon as you would enter it was a different world. At times we would cross areas that were filled with buttercup colored butterflies that were also crossing the river like a mass exodus. The last tour of our trip we finally encountered a family of howlers in a tree that was only branches. Giving us a full view of these magnificent creatures and watched them for over an hour. To top that off we watch the family of Toucans. There were at least 50 of them flying over head and hopping along the branches.
Needless to stay, we didn’t jump into the water much since they have piranhas and crocodiles so we can’t wait to find a beach but the kids loved it. They loved the monkeys and macaws the best. Merric was so excited to find a Toucan. Seanna was a celebrity here. All the Indians and animals loved her and wanted to touch or talk to her. She took it all in stride until this one big bird started to chase her and a monkey kept pulling on her dress. I got it all on video!!!
You should look this place up online (Google it!) Orinoco Delta, VZ. They will have a more details on what I missed.
I am glad we made the detour from Tobago and headed south. This trip will live fondly in my memory bank for the rest of my life.