Sometimes it takes awhile to get to an out-of-the way place. We arrived yesterday to Nauta and started our navigation down the Río Marañon and up the Río Ucayali. The landscape (or jungle-scape) can be overwhelming, so we need to train our eyes, we need to figure out what is the aberration in the landscape, what looks like a leaf or a branch but is not. Maybe that vertical branch is the hanging tail of a green iguana basking in the early morning sun – and it was! Maybe that swirling, floating log is a swimming anteater – and it was! What a fortuitous way to start our expedition in the Amazon Basin. Luck tends to favor the vigilant, and we have learned that getting up early, and questioning the oddity in the landscape, has a wonderful payoff.
After another delicious breakfast we went to a local village called Amazonas to learn about the traditional way of life and how it’s changing. While we were there a few dozen of the local children followed us around and posed for photos, we watched a demonstration about pressing sugarcane juice for drinking or fermenting, we learned about how to use traditional plants to make dyes, and we visited the local school house. After lunch we utilized the skiffs to explore two small streams and found even more rare birds including the white-headed marsh tyrant, slender billed and snail kites, a red and white spinetail, and a grey breasted saber-wing. We then went to the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers where they form the Amazon River and had a champagne toast to celebrate the last night on the Amazon. On the way back to the ship we stopped at a small island and had a moment of silence to enjoy the sound of tens of thousands of canary winged parakeets flying across the water to roost.