Today was our last full day on Delfin II, and we had a wonderful day exploring on the banks of the Marañón River. The Marañón is the second longest river in Peru. It measures over a thousand miles long from the headwaters high in the Andes to where it empties into the Ucayali River, just a few miles downstream from where we were exploring today. A section of the Marañon River is carved deep into a canyon in the Andes that has been described as similar to the Grand Canyon in the US. In this section of the river, over 300 miles, a steep slope gives rise to class IV rapids, which are popular for rafting.
Today, we had the chance to get our second glimpse of the rainforest ecosystem during a morning walk on shore. After a short skiff ride, we were immersed in the green plants, muddy trails, and towering trees. Accompanied by a few local guides, we spotted a variety of wildlife, including a few different species of spiders, frogs, and snakes. We also heard many species of birds calling in the forest. Our guides taught us about the complex and fascinating topic of tropical ecology. One highlight was standing under a giant strangler fig and learning how the fig tree uses a host tree to gain access to the daylight at the top of the layered canopy.
In the middle of the day, we were treated with a presentation from Chef Omar Peña, who taught us how to make ceviche in the Peruvian style. It was quite informative. At the end of the presentation, we were able to sample some of the excellent ceviche.
In the afternoon, we had a new experience on this voyage when we went to visit a local community called Amazonas. We were led by a local group of women who have organized themselves. We listened to presentations regarding health projects in the village, including the construction of new, above-ground toilets and a rain catchment system. We learned about work in the village and surrounding areas by a local NGO called Minga Peru. We also learned how women dye palm fibers to make handicrafts and souvenirs. After the presentation, many of us ended up perusing a handicraft market for souvenirs. It was a very insightful visit to learn about the local culture and way of life.
On our way back to the ship on skiffs, we enjoyed a wonderful sunset and a distant rainbow.