“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

"Everybody dies. Not everybody really lives."

The saddest sound in the world is a man saying, "I wish I'd have done that."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Amazon River Trip, Peru

I looked forward to this trip with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.  Excitement is understandable--getting to experience the beauty and wildness of the longest river in the world.  The apprehension is perhaps my personal worry.  I have read too may stories about deforestation and ruin along the river.  I was afraid of what I may see.  Denuded forests?  Slash and burn ranches?  Or what I may not see: monkeys, macaws, sloths, river dolphins.

All these thoughts went through my mind again as our plane began its descent into Iquitos Peru.  We had a long flight from Lima and I had peered out the plane window most of the trip, trying to get a feel for what was happening in the vast forests below.  What I saw was comforting.  Most of the forests were an unbroken carpet of green.  Perhaps my fears were unfounded.

Iquitos is the main jumping off point on this upper part of the Amazon River.  It's a bustling, dirty, crowded, noisy port city on the river, the main shipping port for goods, people and trade on the river.  the only access to Iquitos is by boat or plane; no roads lead in or out. 

We boarded our boat, an old but nicely appointed river boat called the Aquamarina, on the riverfront there and set out into the swirling, muddy Amazon.  The river is wide here and we happened to be there when the river was particularly high from unusually strong rains.  I talked to a vendor in the Iquitos market and she said the water was as high as she had seen in 38 years.
Toucans were common
Capuchin monkey

One of many flooded villages

The locals were flooded out of their homes.  Many river villages were partially underwater. 

As we continued upriver we discovered that my fears about ravaged forests and scarce wildlife were unfounded.  Wildlife was everywhere.

Monk saki monkey

Green tree iguana

A 9 foot black caiman

Spotted six varieties of toucans.

Parakeets were plentiful.  We saw hundreds flying over daily.

We were hoping to see at least one three-toed sloth.  To our delight we saw 13 including on with a baby!

Sloth close-up

Red and green macaw

Yikes!  Nice looking tarantula.

And that famous snake of the Amazon, anaconda.  Our guide found this guy for us.

She's holding her baby.

This giant river otter came right up to our skiff.

Spider monkey

Saddleback tamarind monkey

Red howler monkey

He was curious.
We were invited into this home for a meal.
We visited a local family who invited us into their home for a meal.  Beautiful and friendly family.

And we fished for piranha.

No comments:

Post a Comment