Saturday, 16 June 2007

Fresh water snorkeling

From the Pantanal, myself, Jill, Amy, Josh ans Simon bussed our way over to the sleepy town of Bonito. On the way there we spotted a giant anteater in a field. Unfortunately it ran off pretty quickly once we were our pointing camera lenses in its direction. (But Josh managed to get this one!)

Bonito considers itself the ecotourism capital of Brasil. It seems that each cattle ranch is offering some for of tour. What brings us gringo tourists (and Brazilians alike) to this remote corner of Mato Grosso Do Sul is the exceptionally clear river waters that bubble up from the limestone rocks.

We spent the first day at the nearby (a 4 mile walk) municiple river attraction. The river was sparklingly clear and full of fish. Here macaws were flying around. A couple even trying to vandalise a shower head.

Top of the ecotours on offer here is the Rio Da Prata (the silver river). This tap water clear river runs through lush green tropical forest and teems with many species of fish, large and small.

Donning wet suits, mask and snorkel we slipped into the river for a leisurely float. I hired an underwater camera and enjoyed the new experience of trying to take photos whilst bobbing up and down in water, quite tricky.

I had only ever snorkeled before in the sea, so doing this is fresh water as clean and clear as you can imagine, was quite wonderful. We were shown "water volcanoes", areas where water bubbles up from the ground within the bed of the river, causing the silt to swirl like smoke. Some parts of the river were shallow, here we dad to be careful not to disturb the bottom, other deep, where fallen tree logs gave santuary to the colourful fish that live there.

It was a very good and different experience. Glad I did it. Here are the photos.