Day 193: Pongo De Mainique, Urubamba River
We make camp for the night on a sandy beach where the river forks round a low island. A pair of bat falcons with black heads and yellow eye-holes are perched motionless on top of a dead tree. Tall stands of cana brava - wild sugar cane - rise behind us to a height of fifteen feet or more before folding over and bending gracefully toward the ground.
Later: Basil, who has been out by the river for a smoke, reappears in some distress. Apparently he had heard a snake slither by him, heading for the tents. The men have cornered it. Barry calms him down. Any snake here, he says, would be pretty harmless. Eventually he is persuaded to take a look at it . 'My God! That's a fer-de-lance!' He jumps a mile. Apparently it's the second most dangerous snake in the Amazon, after the bushmaster. Basil gives up smoking for the rest of the evening, and the snake, a thin hapless creature, is put to death by the boatmen.
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