To the top of the Tepuy in search of the giant earthworm
We were up at 6 am and after a hearty breakfast, we headed for the trail head at 700 m that would take us to the top of the Tepuy at 1100 m. We has been told it was a 1.5-2 hour hike. It had rained most of the night and the clouds were still low so the walking was slippery and views only intermittent. We made it to the top in 1h 31 mins – not bad for a group slowed down by a 50 year old desk jockey!! Even through the mists, we could see that the views would be magnificent. We also got to find out why the hotel WiFi was so flaky – on top of this most inaccessible of places was a solar power line of sight Internet tower….so not enough sun or low cloud = no Internet.
But we were not there to look at the view but down to some serious worm catching. Although we had good specimens of 4 species in 20 mins, none were the giant worms. So we hiked to the ridge at the top of the Tepuy and to a point where we could see the rock face of the Tepuy – if it wasn’t for the clouds….but the sun broke through and what a site greater up – the images can’t do this justice.
Revitalised, we returned to search for the giant earthworm – with one of the master earthworm hunters on board it was just a matter of time, George grabbed a tail fragment then Luis saw the cast and before long we had the specimens we needed.
As a cheery crew set off down the hill, a rain storm hit and soon we were all soaked and quite cool – 15C. But we are nothing if not determined and we continued to collect at an additional 4 sites coming down. We got back to the truck at 3.30 pm after being the field for 8 hours and having covered 17 km!!
After a well earned shower, where I washed myself and my clothes, and a very late lunch, we packed up and headed for Pacaryma and the Venezuelan boarder.
We couldn’t cross into Venezuela since we had Brazilian worms with us so we had to stay in the border town of Pacariama. To be safe, we selected the best hotel in town ‘hotel Amazona’ – it had free wifi and a room for 4 for the equivalent of ~£25. We could except the cockroaches….the rat poop on Luis bed was a little off putting but the bird poo on his pillow made us change rooms – I got a room to myself and I am not sure this is good or bad thing. But the door locks and I have a sleeping bag to buffer me from the bed….