ENTRY FIVE (June 10, 2004) "EMBARKING"

An early call came from HelSur this morning while the team was taking breakfast and before they knew it, the sound of the helicopter buzzing Cusco was heard overhead. With a rush, all moved to gather their belongings. Cinematographer, Erin Harvey grabbed his digital camera to grab some footage of this large bird overhead- the same one that would take them deep into the Painticolla region within the hour. Paulino hurried to gather last minute food supplies, and Evie, a local, made arrangements with the police to escort the team through the city, since the Festival of Corpus Christi was still underway.

The team bid farewell to Monica Dermenjian whose assistance with negotiations with HelSur were priceless. Pleased to make it effortlessly through the airport, they found an old friend waiting for them on the tarmac- their copilot from the 1999 expedition, Carlos Reategui, was to be their pilot on this expedition. The team flew over the Incan ruins of Tambocancha and the Lago de Negro. Hoping to stop to document the sites, conditions were too cloudy and high winds would make landing the helicopter in this area too dangerous. On to north of the Lago de Angel, an unmapped area until the last expedition (1999), and the beginnings of this one.

Landing was precarious as they swiftly unloaded equipment, watching the wheel of the helicopter begin to sink in the soft terrain. The wind was thunderous and compounded by the whirling propellors overhead. Greg reported a sense of calm and serenity once the helicopter left. All became so peaceful and calm.

Paulino, Roberto, Goyo and Erin negotiated a difficult climb to scope out a base camp. The team settled south/southeast of Lago de Angel where they will begin their exploration and documentation of ruins and a cave with triangular monoliths to which the team wants to return.

Weather in the 30's this evening, they report and all are donning EMS fleece wear and are unaffected by the temperature. Paulino and Goyo prepare a soup for dinner. The horses should arrive in a few days to carry them further and deeper in the jungle.

~ Greg Deyermenjian