We started this morning with a 5:30 AM wake-up call to board the skiffs and explore Nauta Creek before breakfast. Along our way, we passed a ranger station where local villagers work to protect their environment from overfishing and logging. We’ve seen these stations throughout the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, along with signage and other attempts to maintain the unique environment. At this ranger station, workers gave us about 80 baby sea turtles to release deeper into the reserve. These workers collect sea turtle eggs to protect and incubate them until the turtles hatch to ensure they will be around for future generations. We all had the opportunity to place these wiggly babies into the creek. On our way back to the ship, we stopped to watch several squirrel monkeys playing and leaping among trees. We had seen them before, but not so many and not so clearly that we could enjoy their sport.
After breakfast, we went out again to see the giant lily pads that are famous in the Amazon Basin. Even though this attraction is out of season, our illustrious expedition leader and esteemed naturalists found this special pond where the locals plant these lily pads. In addition to the lily pads, this forest offered pygmy marmosets. We also enjoyed talking with the local villagers, with whom we could practice Spanish.
Following a relaxing siesta, during which we watched gray river dolphins play next to the ship, we disembarked again for San Francisco Village. Here we learned about the work of Minga Peru – the Amazonian organization supported by the LEX-NG Fund – and their efforts to rehabilitate the forest, encourage sustainable fishing practices, and build on the health and education of local women. Four of the San Franciscan villagers spoke to us to describe their work with Minga Peru and how it has affected their lives.
To cap off the day – and our stay in the Amazon – we took one last skiff ride out to the beginning of the Amazon River. Here we all had the opportunity to toast to our experience, surrounded by an incredible sunset. While we had spent the entire expedition in the Amazon Basin, this was our first time being on the Amazon River itself. All that’s left after that magical moment is the goodbyes.
Peru Haiku by Shirley Coggon
Mosquitos and mud
Abundant, exotic life