This morning was the earliest morning of all, but it was for good reason. We had a long skiff ride to get into the heart of the Samiria National Reserve, the most protected part of the Upper Amazon here. We were on our way to have brunch at the reserve headquarters. On our way we took advantage of wildlife sightings and navigated the ever-changing river waters as floodwaters push carpets of water lettuce and water hyacinth around the waterways. At one point we had to take a shortcut because the river had gotten so choked up with the floating vegetation, which hides more treacherous objects for our boat’s propellers, logs. Our day was to be a full one, including partaking in the infamous Amazon plunge and looking for caimans along the Dorado River at night.
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.