After arriving at the confluence of the Ucayali and the Marañon Rivers last night, we continued our exploration of the Peruvian Amazon by navigating on the Marañon today. The Marañón River borders the northern end of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and its waters are the livelihood of many small communities, including Nauta, where we boarded the beautiful Delfin II a few days ago.
This morning, we explored the Amazon in a different way, by hiking a jungle trail at Casual. We entered the rainforest equipped with rubber boots and lots of enthusiasm, and we learned how local people use the native plants. A couple of local men helped us see and photograph inhabitants of the forest. We observed tarantulas, spiders infamous for their impressive looks and large size. They are actually very gentle creatures. We also saw tiny and incredibly colorful poison arrow frogs, a large boa constrictor, and even a small baby green anaconda, the world’s biggest snake.
We continued our navigation through the Marañón River and arrived at the mouth of the Yanayacu-Pucate basin around lunchtime. There, the sediment-loaded white waters of the Marañón mix with the tannin-rich water of the Yanayacu-Pucate, which attracts a lot of dolphins. We had the pleasure of watching two species of river dolphins (the larger pink and smaller grey ones) all afternoon. Even during lunch, we enjoyed watching the dolphins from the dining room! Several times, individuals jumped out of the water to regale us with uncommon full-body views. Others chased fish, and one pink dolphin even played with a stick in its mouth.
Some adventurous souls went for a swim and obtained bragging rights. Shortly afterwards, we all boarded our skiffs and explored the Yanayacu-Pucate. We spent a great evening spotting many birds, including red-bellied and scarlet macaws, ringed, green and Amazon kingfishers, yellow-headed and black caracaras, and many more, including a rare sighting of a red brocket deer. At some point, we just simply turned off the boat’s engine to listen to the dolphins’ exhalations around us accompanied by the melancholic calls of the undulated tinamous…pure beauty and an awesome end to another day exploring Amazonia!