We woke early to the distinctive call of oropendolas. Their nests, suspended from a tree just outside our door, hung precariously and swung gently in the morning breeze. Lizards crossed our path as we made our way down to the main lodge just after dawn. Bird song filled the air. Flowers bloomed profusely and the scent was a sweet morning wake-me-up.
We were looking forward to our morning cuppa and an early morning feathered-friend extravaganza. We were not disappointed on either count. Oh, my … I wish I could put into words the thrill of seeing so many beautiful birds flitting about so closely. We could hear the high-pitched squeak of the hummingbirds and feel the whir of their wings as they dove into the nectar feeders for breakfast. I want to reiterate here that we were never serious bird-watchers in the past. It's only since we've lived aboard the boat that we've developed an interest. Being this close to them, brings out the twitcher in everyone.
We observed for more than our hour, alternating a sip of tea and a click of the camera, until the breakfast gong chimed. We likened the gong to a Pavlovian response as all the twitchers filed obediently into breakfast (perhaps some were salivating, we didn't notice). The talk at the communal tables was all bird talk until they learned we'd just sailed around the world … and then they were interested in birds we'd seen during our travels.
We were invited for a guided morning walk on the Discovery Trail. There were just the three of us and Natalie was a knowledgeable, pleasant guide. She pointed out flora as well as fauna. It was hot and tropical rain forest steamy. Cicadas buzzed. We spotted several birds and heard the extremely loud and vocal bellbird long before we saw him. He did, indeed, sound like a bell.
There were several huge anthills in our travels … leaf cutter ants. We watched them for a bit as they did their thing. Industrious little fellows, Natalie told us this hill served just one queen, was estimated to be 12 years old and went 30 feet deep.
We spotted a hummingbird nest with mama snuggled tightly into place. A wonder she fit!
Then the tour was over, it was time to check out and we reluctantly left Asa Wright. We retraced our serpentine route down the hillside and back to Eastern Main Road. The road narrowed and became rougher the further east we traveled. David swerved back and forth avoiding major potholes. In some cases, the road disappeared altogether with old, small signs warning about “landslip areas”. We finally left the steamy inland and reached Trinidad's rocky east coast.
We stopped en route when we saw a “Shark Oil and Honey” shack. Quite the combo and we were curious! Lin negotiated a local honey purchase. We passed on the shark oil and drove on.
We finally arrived at Salybia Nature Resort, our big splurge for two nights. From the outside, it appeared to be heavenly … but looks can be deceiving.