“Good morning Ivan. Did you know that we have the best pineapples here in the Amazon?”
“Good morning Alipio, I did not know that. Let’s hurry before we miss the sunrise.”
With that brief exchange, we head off into the early hours of the morning. It’s 4:30am and still dark, warm and humid as it usually is in the Amazonas State in Venezuela.
As we drive away from Alipio’s house we start to discuss what I want to accomplish with the day.
Alipio, an Amazon- born and river-reared aquarist, is as excited as he always is to go on this new aquatic adventure with me. He’s one of those people fortunate enough to be gifted with great memory, as well as an innate understanding of how nature works. He’s an incredible asset to my explorations, and while he’s with me things get done correctly.
This sultry morning, we are driving north to the indigenous community of Picantonal. While it is not so far away from the town of Puerto Ayacucho, we do still have to take ourselves off-road and a couple of miles deep into the bush.
We are the only car driving along the dark, precarious road, and with the windows down the sweet smell of jungle is always present. At this time of the year the scent is a mixture of wet tobacco, alongside the sap and bark medley of locally chopped wood.
Our ﬁrst task of the day is to photograph the sunrise from a high spot, to formally record the terrain, and so we decide to climb the Picantonal Western Inselberg.
Inselbergs, which translates to ‘island mountains’ are massive hills or mountain-like granite uplifts,
each made of one rock.