Sheets of driving rain hammered through the dense foliage, shattering the once shimmering mirror of the stream into millions of pieces. Thunder rolled and ominous clouds crowded out the sun. I was shivering in a dugout canoe, my camera clutched firmly in my hands, partially protected beneath a quickly-soaking poncho. Fifteen yards ahead and to my right, guarding the right half of the narrow jungle creek, was an ill-tempered black caiman (relative of the alligator). For a reason unbeknownst to us, this creature was unhappy. Deep bellows accompanied by wild thrashing left little doubt of this in my mind.
"What do we do now?" I shouted at my guide over the torrential downpour.
Ok...wait. Because that has been working well. Twenty minutes had ticked by since we had first discovered the monster, and it showed little interest in moving from its location. A few years prior, a woman was attacked by a caiman in the lagoon that fed this waterway, leaving the guides especially wary of the large predator. This is insane, I thought to myself. Tossing sticks in the thirteen-foot reptile's direction had only resulted in agitated snapping of the beast's jaws, before it settled back into the reeds. Time stretched. Rain continued to pour.
"I guess we are going to go now," my guide decided.
"Don't make any noise, we are going to sneak past him!"
Done. I had no urge to provoke something that could flip the canoe and devour all of us with relative ease. The guides dug their paddles into the murky water, powering the boat forward. Several tenuous seconds and swift paddle strokes later, and we were past the crocodylian. A sigh of relief and a sense of wonderment. Just another day in the Amazon.
That was five months ago. So much has happened since. I had the chance to experience so many new things. See places I've dreamed of visiting my whole life. Share special moments with people. I hiked to 16,000 feet in the Andes. Swam with sharks in the Galapagos Islands. Fulfilled the lifelong dream of seeing Machu Picchu. Kayaked with orcas in British Columbia. Rafted the Middle Fork of the Salmon River with my girlfriend.
Now, I sit, cooped up in front of a computer screen. Dragging clips here and there, syncing audio, reviewing final product. It's the downside of this job. Videos are coming to completion every week, though. And with that, exciting news. Going into this job working for ROW Adventures, it was unclear how long the job would last. I had May through September locked in, and after that...there was no plan. A few days ago I received an email explaining that my videos are exactly what the company was looking for. They want to send me on more trips. South America, Africa, and Europe are all possibilities. It's pretty awesome for me to see my work paying off in a big way. So now, I wait on a schedule. And edit. In this interlude between adventures, I'm excited to share some of these visual journeys. Keep an eye out!