|Monday 16th September
RDTF helicopters take off with the second expedition wave once the morning mists clear. After landing in Cobija it is determined that the late arrival and thick smoke haze from the burning forest will postpone the next leg of the trip, to Puerto Araona, until tomorrow.
The landing strip near Puerto Araona, prepared by missionaries sometime during the last century, is well defined at the edge of the savannah/forest boundary. That morning, a Cessena flight from Riberalta brought our indigenous liaison specialist, Cristian, directly to Puerto Araona along with fuel for the motor boats and the generators that would be used to charge the batteries for all the cameras and the INMARSAT. Also, due to age restrictions on the RDTF flights the youngest students accompanying the expedition (Peter, Erin, Paulo, and Maria) would arrive by the fixed wing Cessna in a second flight. Bolivian Air Force and the RDTF authority prohibit helicopters from flying fuel and passengers together.
Lots of activity in Puerto Araona today. The team prepares a makeshift kitchen for cooking meals which consists of a table and an old fire pit that becomes the stove. The kitchen becomes the centerpiece for the ICE2002 "headquarters" fondly named the ICEhouse. David, Gunther and PeterH get in the groove by preparing the tools involved for their main tasks. Dave sets up the INMARSAT telephone, Gunther prepares the magnetometer sensor, and PeterH prepares text for upload via the INMARSAT. In the morning, the Biology team explores the northern area just beyond the village and partakes in a bit of fishing. After catching several fish they bring back the bounty and the rest of the team gets to feast on a meal of - pirrhana! After eating, the biology team hikes several km into the savanna south of the village.