Before the sun even thought about brightening the eastern sky, National Geographic Explorer was off the capital city of Guyana. This was not our actual destination for our first full day in this small South American country but a chance to meet the local Guyanese pilot who would assist our passage through the shallow waters at the mouth of the river. As we traveled upriver, we enjoyed the opportunity to view some of the birds moving from place to place. As breakfast ended, we stopped to meet the customs and immigration officials who would be checking us in and completing our entry paperwork.

The forest closed in the farther we progressed upriver. At one point in the middle of the river, the ship slowed, and we dropped anchor. This spot provided us an opportunity to get out in the Zodiacs for a closer look at the lush rainforest. A number of bird species were tallied, and a sloth was spotted high in a tree. The day warmed up in the intense tropical sun, so we all returned to the ship for lunch.

In the afternoon, we took another Zodiac trip to Fort Island, where the restored ruins of an old fort provide a park setting. The ride was interesting since a wind blowing from the river’s mouth caused the outgoing tide to form a series of waves. As we visited the site, the ship moved downriver. With a calming wind, the trip back was much shorter and not as bumpy. During cocktails and recap, the chatter was indicative of our excitement to be in the tropics. We are looking forward to more experiences ahead.