May 21, 2018 - Delfin II
Hello Peruvian Amazon! And yes, from the get-go we understand that it rains a lot in the rainforest! We arrived yesterday by plane to Iquitos from Lima in the early afternoon. In small buses we drove across town – weaving among the thousands of tuk tuk motocycle-3-wheeled taxis – and then went by boat to the floating restaurant “Al Frio Al Fuego” for a delicious lunch. Back across the Itaya River we went by boat and boarded our small buses for a drive along the only road that connects the island city of Iquitos to the port of Nauta.
It rained and rained and we reach the port after dark and were welcomed on board our floating hotel the Delfin II by Olivia’s Jill Cruse and Hotel Manager Johnny Balerezo. Delfin II’s Captain Darwin navigated upriver for four hours while we slept, then tied the boat to a strong tree on the banks of the Rio Maranon.
It was still raining when we awoke on Monday morning, so we had a lazy start to the day. We enjoyed a bountiful breakfast, and then were fitted for rubber boots. We all came up to the lounge to meet shaman Carola of the Cucama people. She graciously answered our many questions and showed us the medicinal plants that she uses. Carola studied with her grandfather for eight years of training in the jungle. She performed a short ceremony for luck and health for all of us. Before lunch I gave a presentation with facts and maps of the Amazon.
By afternoon the weather had cleared, so we boarded the skiffs for a short ride to the Amazon Natural Park Reserve. We paddled and were paddled across a small man-made lake in wooden catamarans. We spied our first monkeys – dusky ti tis! Our guides led us thru the forest on a muddy and slippery path, climbing small hills at times, and all along the way they were teaching us and pointing out the interesting trees, seeds, ants, lizards and anything they noticed. We are all very interested to see and learn about whatever the guides can find!
We crossed a canopy bridge slowly and carefully, spacing ourselves and with gloves on our hands to protect from biting ants. Paddling back across the lake we could just make out the silhouettes of tiny squirrel monkeys jumping through the trees. By the time we reached the skiffs, night was falling and the last rays of the sun were a golden glow on the horizon beneath handsome puffy gray clouds. One of the spectacular vistas while on these wide rivers is the huge expansive of sky and clouds in all directions.
Skiff driver Primo and I took those who preferred a skiff rife out, and we explored the Yanayaquillo Creek. Highlights for the afternoon exploration were: long nosed bats perched on a tree trunk over the river, a tree full of squirrel monkeys, a sloth, a monk saki monkey resting high on a horizontal limb, and many brilliant birds. All of us – walkers and skiff riders alike - returned to the Delfin II with smiles on our faces and are eager to continue exploring this fascinating ecosystem in the days to come!
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