Marañon River: San Jorge Community & Nauta Caño

Mar 06, 2019 - Delfin II

Today was one of those days when the unexpected happened, and we ended up in a different location than we intended to be when we started our day. However, this is the way all expeditions should be, as a true adventure could never be fully predicted!

Our morning was quite interesting, as we visited one of the remote villages that we rarely get to go during our trips. The community of San Jorge is located at the center section of the Marañon River and has approximately 300 inhabitants. It has a school and a little basic grocery owned by one of the locals. The most important structures of all, in any of these villages, are of course a church, and comparable in importance, a soccer (football) field for entertainment.

Our guests had the opportunity to stroll along the village’s cemented-walkways and learn about the simple life of the people from this region. There are no cars in the community, and the cell phone range is analog, which means no internet! Electricity is also expensive, as it is not yet provided by the government, but rather supplied by their own local gasoline-based generator. This generator is only turned-on three times a week and only for three hours at the time. This time is used for people to recharge their phones and to catch up with a bit of local signal TV time in one of the lucky houses that has a TV set.

As we strolled, we were greeted by the locals with smiles and invitations to enter their humble houses. Not much was inside, but the houses are filled with pride, as food and shelter are never absent in any of the houses within the community. We were all so engaged in the village experience that we ended up staying longer than we had intended; luckily this region is full of great alternatives and we quickly modified the program to have a second, but equally great, alternative for the afternoon.

Destiny proved to be in our side as we ended up having a great afternoon outing, with kayaking, SUP (Stand Up Paddling) and skiff rides in a place known as Nauta Creek. As we navigated on the skiff towards our kayaking location, we came to a sudden stop as we spotted the “holy grail” of the birds when it comes to birdwatching in the Amazon…Harpy eagle!

For the past seven years I have been coming to the Amazon to lead expeditions, and I have always been hopeful that one day I will be granted the opportunity to see this gorgeous bird. The last time it was sighted by any of the naturalists on board was a year ago, flying far in the distance. Today the sight was as good as it can get! Perched on a nearby tree branch, the harpy eagle turned its head several times, showing curiosity as it tried to figure out what we were. We don’t look anything like its favorite prey, which are sloths perched on trees, so after allowing us to take several hundred pictures, it took off. Although there were records of its existence in the reserve, there is not much more information regarding any of its nesting grounds or its general ecology in this region.

Everything that we saw and did today was terrific, but there is nothing that compares to the feeling of seeing such a magnificent animal perched only feet away from us! Cheers to the harpy eagle!
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About the Author

Lucho Verdesoto

Expedition Leader

Born and raised in the tropical country of Ecuador, Lucho is a passionate naturalist that has been working for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic since 1998. With a marine biology background, he started as a naturalist in the Galápagos Islands in 1994. Since then, he has filled numerous roles with Lindblad-National Geographic, such as naturalist, undersea specialist and expedition leader in the Galápagos Islands, Costa Rica and Panama, and Baja California.

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