+Recently, the local tribe sent Rosolie and Duran to a place both legendary and ecologically marvelous: a massive lake with a "raft of vegetation and grass which supports a smaller dwarf forest," Rosolie says. The ecosystem is strong enough to walk on—at least in parts.
"Walking on the floating forest at night is a surreal and very spooky experience. The floating part isn’t very stable, one wrong step and you get plunged into the lake. It was an intimidating place but with careful navigation we found a completely alien environment. As we walked, we passed only the tops of the aguaje palms whose base lay rooted to the lake’s floor forty or fifty feet below," he says....
During their first expedition to the dwarf forest, Duran and Rosolie came upon the biggest anaconda they have ever encountered: "We spotted two tremendous anacondas. The largest was more than double the size of the largest anaconda [Duran] and I have ever measured (15ft 4 inches). She was so large it would have taken eight people to restrain her on land; on the floating forest there was no chance. When she saw us she started moving away. We both wrapped our arms around her and did our best to restrain her for measurements and documentation, but it was like trying to stop a bus, she was way too strong. She bolted for the water with us holding onto her. Hanging on longer would have meant following her into the water below the floating forest. We were left soaked and panting – in complete disbelief of what we had just seen."
Rosolie estimates that she was at least 25 feet long with a 70 inch girth—given the fact that his six foot arm-span could barely reach around her body. "From catching 15ft individuals on a fairly regular basis, we have a good frame of reference to verify that the female was saw that first night was significantly larger than double any we had previously encountered. The only actual measurement we have is that my arms barely touched around her body and I have a 6’ arm span. This means that the snake had a girth of something like 70 inches. We estimate her length to be easily upwards of 25ft. Snakes measuring over twenty feet are extremely rare; this one was a living legend. In future explorations, once again spotting her will be one of my primary goals."