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The Amazon River

Posted By David Mendosa On November 18, 2013 @ 9:04 am In Amazon, Peru | No Comments

When I finally reached Iquitos, Peru, my trip up the Amazon River got off to a great start. Even when you fly there, the trip from the States to Iquitos takes many hours. The bus from Boulder to Denver International Airport left at 4:50 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, and I didn’t get to Iquitos until Sunday morning at 11 after layovers in Miami and Lima, Peru (including all of 3 1/2 hours to sleep on Saturday night), and a stop in Pucalpa, Peru.

While this was a tough way to start a vacation, it was nothing compared with Teddy Roosevelt’s journey to the Amazon a century ago that en route I read about on my iPad. The River of Doubt is Candice Millard’s wonderful book about it.

Iquitos, where more than 400,000 people live, is the world’s largest city inaccessible by road. And no other city served by ocean vessels is so far from the ocean, more than 2,200 miles away through Brazil. Most imported supplies for the people of Iquitos come from Houston, a trip that takes much more time than mine, four months.

The Amazon River is the biggest river in the world in both length and volume of water, and the Amazon Basin covers 40 percent of South America. While I was able to explore only a small part of it, I’m sure that no one has seen it all.

As soon as the flight landed at the Iquitos Airport, the group I traveled with, Wildside Nature Tours [1], set off to visit the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Center [2]. The rare and endangered amazonian manatee is an aquatic mammal unique to the amazonian rainforest. The center rescues orphaned manatees that were the victims of poaching and reintroduces them back into the river.

We Took Turns Feeding the Baby Amazonian Manatees [3]

We Took Turns Feeding the Baby Amazonian Manatees

Click on the picture above to enlarge

On the grounds of the rescue center we saw a great variety of birds and other wildlife. I especially like to find raptors, and when I looked up, I found this one.

A Roadside Hawk in a Tree without a Road [4]

A Roadside Hawk in a Tree without a Road

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Green Iguana in Another Tree [5]

A Green Iguana in Another Tree

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Then, we boarded the 165 foot M/F Queen Violeta. This ship was an extremely pleasant surprise. It can accommodate 32 passengers, but we had only 30 plus a crew of 13 and two local guides. It’s bright, fresh, and clean and looks quite new. It has lots of windows and an open but covered lounge. I welcomed the air conditioning, although the temperature was surprisingly pleasant in the low or mid-80s.

Just before sunset, we took the ship’s two motorized skiffs close to the riverbank where we saw great egrets resplendent in the last rays of the sun.

A Great Egret Flies into the Setting Sun [6]

A Great Egret Flies into the Setting Sun

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Back to Our Ship at Sunset [7]

Back to Our Ship at Sunset

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This strange land kept me fully awake all day. But I slept well that night.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Wildside Nature Tours: http://wildsidenaturetours.com/

[2] Amazonian Manatee Rescue Center: http://www.ikitos.com/acobia-dwazoo/acobiaEN06.htm

[3] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/MG_0738.jpg

[4] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/MG_4200.jpg

[5] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/MG_4166.jpg

[6] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/MG_4267.jpg

[7] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/P1000961.jpg

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