San Francisco Village & Clavero Lake

Nov 07, 2018 - Delfin II

Today we had a very interesting morning visiting a small village along the easternmost portion of the Marañón River known as San Francisco. We arrived shortly after breakfast and walked around town using the concrete walkways that go throughout the community. We learned about the different plant species that they grow in the public areas and in small orchards around the houses, like the conspicuous aguaje palm tree. Its shiny and scaly oval fruits, the size of ping-pong balls, are consumed by people throughout the region in many different ways; later we actually had a delicious dessert made with them at lunch. We met many of the villagers who happily showed us how they do many of their daily chores, like pounding the newly-harvested rice in a mahogany mortar to get rid of its peels or squeezing sugar canes at a manual wooden press to obtain the sweet juice that is used to make brown sugar. A group of women showed us how they get the fibers out of palm trees and how they use natural dyes to turn them green, red, orange, and many other colors to make handcrafts. Then we all gathered to listen to a some of the local inhabitants that have benefited from the social programs of MINGA PERÚ, a local organization that works throughout the Loreto region empowering women by showing them how to stand up for their rights, encourages and capacitates them to start productive projects to help their families’ economies. We heard testimonies from both women and men and learned more about life in the Amazon.

We continued navigating downriver and arrived at the confluence of the Marañón and the Ucayali Rivers; we all gathered in front of the bridge to admire the place where the mighty Amazon River gets its name and toasted to celebrate it before turning into the Ucayali.

During the afternoon we arrived at Clavero, an old oxbow lake, where some of the more adventurous among us went for a refreshing swim, gaining considerable bragging rights and a good story to tell friends and family back home. Then we all boarded the skiffs to go exploring the area and looking for wildlife. We found many interesting creatures, but the most notorious one was, without a doubt, the pygmy marmoset. We watched in awe a group of the world's smallest primate, smaller than a squirrel, as its members moved around their home tree with great agility, sometimes pausing long enough for a picture. What an amazing creature, one of the many jewels of the Peruvian Amazon!

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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