After we arrived back from our dolphin searching adventure in the morning (read Kieran’s post: Amazonian Dolphins), the rain did not bode well for ziplining that afternoon. Our plan had been to go searching in the morning for dolphins, then glide through the treetops in the afteroon.

So we had to change plans. We decided to watch Lander and Herzog carve wooden machetes for us, while learning about the use of the tool in the Amazon.

I bet Lander had quite a repertoire of things to do when the weather was bad. After all, weather in the Amazon is amazingly unpredictable.

Lander and Herzog each began shaving off parts of balsa wood to form machetes. Balsa wood is a light, flexible wood that is often used in the USA to make little wooden toy airplanes with very thin, almost paper wings. It was incredible to see them cutting it so smoothly.

Lander told us about how every boy and girl in all the villages of the Amazon learns how to use a machete starting at age three. He himself had mastered all the techniques and styles and angles to cut very well by Jasper and Kieran’s age. Even his three-year old daughter helps to clear their yard of weeds with a machete.

The wooden machetes were not sharp, but in the exact shape of a normal machete. They felt balanced, light, swift, and skilled as a normal machete should be.

It will be a treasure in Seattle. A wooden machete made out of balsa wood carved by our Amazonian tour guide at our lodge in the Amazon. It will be an incredible thing to put on my desk or hang on my wall.

Below: Machete Pictures



Below: Carving Pictures