Our adventure into the realm of lake Maracaibo begins at this
forlorne riverjetty in a remote area on the southshore of the lake.
First a couple of km on the river.
Then lots of km on the lake.
This enormous lake has a somewhat surreal ambiance ,
as does it's
sister Titicaca up in the hills ,
but the two lakes could not be more different !
They are polar opposites in every concievable way.
After many hours we arrive at one of the remotest villages in Venezuela , "beyond the Congo "...
To hopefully observe the worldfamous Catatumbo lightning fenomena.
And so we did !
The world's scientific community cannot quite explain why
this place has the most intense lightning show on earth , almost every day of the year , but it may have
something to do with a combination of the location of the lake between 5000 m high Andean peaks and the
constant leakage of gas from the lake coupled with the hot shallow lake creating a tropical low pressure
updraft in the middle of it every afternoon.
Whatever the explanation the lightning at times is so intense that one can indeed read a book in the
uninterrupted Catatumbo electric gas nightlight.
The cool thing is that there are almost no human beings in this strange remote area to witness it all...
The next day we're off into the local jungle river system
to hunt for yet undiscovered lifeforms.
It is hotter than hell but our intrepid guide Alan proceeds to deploy bait
to attract the above mentioned creatures.
And after a few sweaty moments....
There they are.
Species of butterfly still unknown to science !
This one " morpho rhetenor hightoni " was discovered by the man himself
in these steamy not yet fully explored ecosystems.
Back to the happy village at the end of the world.
It's still hotter than hell...
but we go check out the town , which may or may not have a name...
Kids at play...
Strangely blond , some of them...but our guide Alan swore he had nothing to do with it...
That's the local supermarket.
One small step closer to civilization is " The Congo ".
This is a town founded by freed and runaway slaves , kinda like the quilombos in Brazil.
They were from the Congo in Africa and named their new world home accordingly.
The entire town sits on stilts.
It is a truly odd place.
If for no other reason than that IT EXISTS !
And what do we have here ?
A Church on stilts , of course...and...
Guess who ? ......
Yes ! Our good friend Simon !
Indeed , even the remotest slum on stilts MUST have a plaza Bolivar....on stilts.
Happy kids swimming happily in the sewer.
That's the local bar.
Hasta la vista.
Leaving the the end of the world.
On the Catatumbo river systems.
By nightfall we arrive back at the riverjetty.
But first some hunting for night creatures , this time familiar species.