This special place is bordered by two major rivers, the Marañon and the Ucayali, putting it literally on the edge of civilization. Our ship “anchored” as we do on the river (you tie up to a sturdy tree), and just across from us we could see an oil drilling site. The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is a stronghold for the wildlife of the upper Amazon. We had exceptional views of that wildlife, from jabiru wood storks to three-toed sloths and an anaconda that had just eaten another resident, a spectacled caiman. How fortunate that someone had the foresight to set aside this wild place so that others could enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of an intact tropical rainforest.
Our last day to explore the Amazon’s richness has arrived. With nostalgia, we began the day with a fabulous breakfast made by the hands of our expert, native Amazonian chefs. The river was calling us again. With the skiffs ready, we boarded them and set off to enjoy the Amazon one last time. Our destiny was a wonderful creek with many stories to share. Birds flew by like they did all week. We observed one sitting on top of a large tree. It was noticeably large in size and had a strikingly colorful bill. “It is a toucan,” the guide said. What a privilege to observe such a beautiful bird. The journey went on. The river is endless and majestic, harboring all sorts of life everywhere. The Amazon gives us the best gift, the gift of life. We enjoyed a brief moment of silence to hear the sublime sounds of Mother Nature. The last outing of the journey had arrived, this time to visit a small community of the Amazon. They welcomed us with a display of handcrafts made by their skillful hands. We bought some of their wares, which they sell to help support themselves in this difficult and remote place. Our guests enjoyed discovering a different culture, with traditions and a unique living style. Deep in the jungle, isolation makes it necessary for people to learn survival skills, like our ancestors did before they moved to the urban sectors. It feels great to contribute to the economy by purchasing the people’s creations. We are now saying, “See you soon, great Amazon River. See you soon, great people. It was a great voyage. We will never forget you.”