We camped on a sandy bank along a bend in the river. A steep cliff rose across the river with mud packed swallow nests and a big sloppily built herons nest on it. The cliff was heavily undercut as if a huge scoop had gouged the bottom of the cliff from the surface of the water, up 20 feet. The bend was sharp and the gouge was evidence of the force of water and time on rock.
A well worn game trail led down to a little bay just south of the camp. Parakeets flew overhead, and the delicate and speedy pigmy kingfisher continually darted up and down the river. The forest was absolutely alive with birds, insects and mammal sign. This transition forest between the upland vegetation and the broadleaf forests of the lower elevations appeared to be a favorite of wildlife. This was born out a few hours later.
We were all sitting around the camp fire enjoying the stars and night sounds and chatting about how lucky we were to be where we were. A loud snap brought our heads up quick. Looking to an area just behind the tents, we strained in the dark to see what was there. Tony slowly brought up his flashlight, still turned off, and pointed it in the direction of the sound. Flicking it on, we saw eyes glowing like a cat, not 20 yards from us. Everyone froze, eyes glued to the glow. Then the creature moved. It was a huge tapir, acting as if it could care less about us. After 5 minutes of sniffing and moving its head back and forth, the beast turned and slowly wandered back into the darkness.