Monday, September 24, 2012

Amazon cruise (night cruise, morning cruise, jungle walk and pink dolphins ) Peru, September, 2012

On the first night we take the small boats up a small river to spot night animals, early morning boat trip, jungle walk to our first village, and swimming with pink dolphins.

Night boat trip
The boat has small skiffs that hold 10 guests and one naturalist.  We use them to go up the small side streams.  On the first day we take them up a stream so small that there are just a few inches of space between the skiff and the river bank.  One of the animals we see is a fishing hawk eating a fish.  He holds it with his claws and grabs chunks off with his beak.  We see some flying fish, herons, a troop of monkeys, a bat, a shooting star and a lot of fireflies.

As it gets dark Rudy pulls out a spotlight and starts scanning for caimans.  During the ride back to the big boat Rudy catches a 2-year old black caiman and a 1-year old speckled caiman.  He even wraps the mouth of the young one so that we can touch it.

Early morning trip
We take a boat trip before breakfast and spot cattle egrets on Amazonian cattle (rare, no really, the jungle doesn't gross grass), black vultures (including one with the wings spread to dry in the sun), a flock of bright yellow orioles in a rice fields, multiple pairs of parrots and a horned screamer (Google an image to see the weird unicorn like feather on its head).
Amazon cattle and the cattle egrets

Bird spotting

After breakfast jungle walk
We go out to find a Queen of the Jungle tree.  These are really large and used to be all over, but of course they were great for making plywood so now they take some looking to find  :(

We also walk through a small village, Atuna, which has 50-70 people total.  They keep Muscovy ducks and a spotted river turtle that will some day be dinner.  We also buy some handicrafts from the locals-a carving of a catfish and the needlecrafted parrot are perfect reminders of our time here.  The locals do a lot of fishing for their own dinner and to sell.  We saw two guys going upstream with a cage in the water that held 10,000 catfish they were going to sell at the market.

Up the Pacaya river to swim with the pink dolphins
On our afternoon boat trip up the Pacaya river to a lake, we see a three-toed sloth.  We see the same one on the way back down, though he has managed to move just enough to be upside down-super cute.  We also spot another troop of monkeys. Near the beginning of the lake we see lots of cormorants, egrets, herons, wood storks and Javiru.  They are hard to photograph, but here are a couple photos of the flocks.

Then we were at the lake and Holy Cow there are the pink dolphins. We see three or four of them feeding, basically you can really only see the fin as it pops out of the water for a second before going under.  They don't seem too concerned about us.  And then we get to hop in the water and swim with them!  These are not trained dolphins that come up to us for petting, but they really are unconcerned about us.  So I stay quiet and drift away from the main group and soon they are feeding about 6 yards away from me.

On the boat ride home we get an amazing sunset...

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