Piranha fishing is more wasteful than I thought. For bait, we used a huge chunk of beef that we would cut off into little pieces and put on our hooks. Piranhas are so quick to take the bait and move on, that at times it felt like we were feeding piranhas rather than fishing them. I only caught one, and it was too small to eat – the babies get thrown back. Rosario caught several, red-bellied piranha and white-bellied ones. Rosario explained that if the red-bellied sensed blood in the water, about 2,000 of them would converge on the scene and attack. But the white-bellied ones didn’t even need blood for a 2,000 strong attack. Then again, maybe I got the colours the wrong way around.
The meat of a piranha is similar to any low-fat white fish. Not much flavour, and somewhat chewy, but it isn’t bad. There isn’t much meat on them though, they are mostly bone. At the end of the day, we would have been better off just eating the meat instead of using it to fish them out, we would have had a lot more food.
Our base camp was far more comfortable than the jungle tour. We had a cabin, real beds with big mosquito nets. But there were two vultures that liked to hang around the camp. A little disconcerting to have these symbols of death just loitering around, waiting, even hoping for something bad to happen to us. On top of this, the ungodly sounds of the howler monkeys could be heard all day. I can’t describe the sound, other than to say it’s what you might expect to hear as you neared the gates of Hell.