Ucayali River: Belluda Caño and El Dorado River, 5/17/2023, Delfin II
The Ucayali River is usually considered part of the Amazon because we include the longest tributary in the overall length. We did a skiff exploration up Belluda Caño, a little offshoot of the Ucayali. We observed squirrel monkeys, brown capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths, a southern tamandua anteater, and many birds. One skiff even spotted a monk saki monkey. In the middle of the afternoon, we enjoyed an Amazonian fruit tasting from naturalist Jorge.
Later in the afternoon, we explored the El Dorado River by skiff and came across a village where local children found a porcupine in the river. We stayed out until well after dark to look for black and spectacled caimans.
R. Aaron Raymond started his career as an underwater photographer, which blossomed from his love for the ocean. He grew up on a sailboat diving for abalone off the coast of California. He loves to photograph landscapes, nature, and wildlife - anythin...
Today is the last full day of our expedition, and what a magnificent day it was! We have truly been amazed by the beauty of the forest and our daily encounters with wildlife. On our last day, we maximized our time and departed very early in the morning. We headed to visit a small creek known as Pahuachiro. It made for a great final skiff ride, as we encountered many of the birds we have seen before, and even some new ones to add to our bird list! Later in the morning, we went to terra firma and hiked over a trail known as “Casual.” This trail is named after a small village located a few miles away, and it truly provided us with marvelous encounters to complete our Amazon expedition. Some of the locals joined us and became “local guides,” hiking through the forest and returning with precious cargo…snakes, tarantulas, poison dart frogs, etc. So many curiosities would have escaped us if we had been by ourselves, and the assistance of local people in spotting wildlife was very much appreciated! It all finished where we started, but the area looked somehow different. Locals had created modest stands to display handcrafts and carvings that some of our guests purchased as souvenirs! Right after we returned, we navigated to the confluence of the Marañon and the Ucayali Rivers and enjoyed a nice “camu-camu sour” to celebrate our navigation on the Amazon River itself! Lunch was served shortly after that. We enjoyed a great presentation on the region’s Indigenous folklore, which was presented by one of our naturalists. Our afternoon was spent visiting a nearby village known as Amazonas community, which gave us an understanding of what it is like to live here. Food tasting, strolling in the village, and even more shopping was not a bad way to finish our day and our expedition in the great Upper Amazon!
In the morning, some guests had a great time kayaking or standup paddleboarding. Others went on a skiff exploration up Supay Creek. As usual, we saw hundreds of birds. Highlights included an olive whipsnake crossing the lake and the chance to finally take a good photo of a kingfisher. In the afternoon, we had a lovely presentation by photo instructor Aaron. Afterward, we enjoyed more skiff explorations up the Yucuruchi Creek, the first tributary of the Ucayali River. We saw dozens of additional species of birds, squirrel monkeys, and two very outgoing and playful red howler monkeys.
Today we had the chance to explore one of the most remote areas in this region, the Pacaya River. The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is composed of multiple rivers and creeks. All these waterways bring an incredible amount of water from the inner Amazon basin. Rich in nutrients and minerals, this water mixes with the main river systems, which, in time, flow right into the Amazon River. Our journey started early. For a few hours, we traveled on our skiffs along the Pacaya River. The landscape in this area is somehow even more beautiful than what we have seen so far, and it feels even more pristine. Our journey was quite eventful, and we stopped several times to observe troops of howler, squirrel, and capuchin monkeys foraging in the treetops. Impressive flocks of snowy egrets, neotropical cormorants, and the famous “jabirus,” or wood storks, were a common sighting today. We journeyed deep into the reserve and spent quite a bit of time observing. Our efforts paid off, as we even encountered a capybara crossing the river. The cavy was, of course, photographed by many! Our great galley crew made the journey to surprise us with a delicious lunch along the river. We even got to jump in a lake to refresh ourselves. As we were swimming in the relaxing waters, we were surprised by pink river dolphins that circled the lake, adding another highlight to an already terrific day!