Swimming With Piranha

Bonito

There is a river near Bonito, a town in western Brazil where the water is so clear it appears non-existent when you first peer into it. With a mask and snorkel we drifted slowly downstream for two hours viewing an astounding array of fish. The river is narrow and shallow and we felt like we were part of the aquatic life as we drifted by schools of fish who paid us little attention.

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The sand bubbles up where the filtered water enters the river.

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I noticed a small snake strangling a little fish on the bottom of the river and later asked the guide about it who nonchalantly said that it was a juvenile Anaconda. Hmm, I just hope the grandpa isn’t lurking about on the banks somewhere. The Rio da Prata is fed by springs with the sand bubbling up at several points on the bottom where the fresh water enters the river. As many have said, “Bonito es Bonito.”

The Pantanal

The aluminum boat made a loud crashing sound as we all jolted forward in our seats. I quickly scanned the bottom to see if we were taking on water. “What was that?!” one of the women asked excitedly. Before our guide could answer that we had just struck a submerged log in the river one of the other guests called out “…and now, swimming with Piranha!” The day before as a part of our tour of the Pantanal, a huge wetland reserve in western Brazil, we had fished for piranha in the same river. It was a silly little activity and we did catch some of the flesh eaters though they were so tiny it was laughable.

 

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Starkly beautiful areas with a plethora of wetland birds and the occasional cayman and capybara were viewed on the river boat tour and rainy season wetland hiking was, well…wet.

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