This morning, we had our earliest start of the week, leaving the Delfin II even before sunrise. It was all worth it, as we had come to the most remote part of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve that we will visit this week: the Pacaya River, on the southwestern side of the park. It was a cloudy morning but beautiful all the same. We had some lovely bird sightings as we entered the reserve, including jabiru, festive parrots, and hoatzins. Near the hoatzins, three of our skiffs pulled alongside each other for a meal we won’t soon forget. Our naturalists donned white gloves and there, in the middle of the rainforest, we enjoyed our breakfast. Soon after we finished, we observed something incredible – a river otter making its way to the shore. After more exploration, we relocated to a more open, lake-like section of the river for our first swim in the Amazon, complete with colorful pool noodles, beers, and sodas. Pink river dolphins swam nearby as we soaked up the beauty of the moment. After lunch and a siesta on board, we got dropped off on the riverbank to walk a long section of beach that is only accessible in the low water season. At the end of our walk, we enjoyed fresh coconuts and some Amazon mud therapy. An after-dinner concert by an exceptional crew band was a wonderful way to end the day!
Today we explored Pahuachiro Creek before breakfast, looking for special sightings along the Maranon River. Pahuachiro Creek is a small body of water with beautiful forest on both sides. This area is home to creatures such as yellow-headed caracaras, black-collared hawks, large-billed terns, and some species of monkeys. In the morning after breakfast we explored Casual Rain Forest on the riverbank. As the name suggests, it is a rainforest! It is a vast green jungle with an interesting trail that leads through an amazing collection of giant trees and palms where many types of animals hang out. As we explored the forest, we had an encounter with the master of the jungle! We spotted a red-tailed boa slowly moving among the bushes. Its camouflage is impressive — without the expert eyes of the local guides we would have missed such an event. These forests are so full of life; besides the abundance of trees there are the many creatures here that we saw with our own eyes. On the ground there were snails and tarantulas, and the sounds of many insects that we cannot see due to their camouflage. The Upper Amazon is not only a vast green forest but also home to many human settlements divided into small communities close to the riverbanks. Today we visited Amazonas Community to learn about the local culture and way of life. It was very interesting and exciting to spend some time with the leaders of the community, hearing their stories about education, fishing, and agriculture. It was a very enriching experience for all the visitors. Over the years we have visited different settlements along the rivers of the Upper Amazon, and we have seen how their lives have improved in terms of education, empowerment, and production of fine handicrafts. Today we had an opportunity to buy some souvenirs produced by the women of the community. Their figures and weaving are amazing, very colorful and of good quality. All these items are made from natural palm fibers found in the surrounding forest. It was another amazing day in the heart of the rainforest!