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Peru 2000 an Amazon Adventure (part 2)

Allan James

 

Day 5
This is the day when the serious adventure begins. After Breakfast at 8am we repacked our bags and headed for our boat the Amazon Explorer where we were given our cabins for the rest of our journey down the Amazon.

 

The Amazon Explorer

 

                                                                                        The Amazon Explorer

They are a bit cramped with two bunk beds and a shower/toilet. I shared with Robin Warne from Huddersfield who joined us along with two other CSG members, Giles Barlow and Chris Ralph, who all came to Peru a week earlier and had done the grand tour of Cusco and Machu Pichu, which I fancy doing myself sometime in the future. The boat had an ongoing problem with its generator so we just got out the fishing rods and hung them over the sides and preceded to catch large hatchet fish, Triportheus sp., with would you believe it, bread rolls on the hooks, wow! what a start. We had still not left Iquitos yet because of the generator so we left the boat by skiff (long boat with outboard motor) and headed across to the opposite bank to do our first fish collecting. This was good training for our trip as I went up to my knees in the water as you sink in the muddy clay at your feet. We caught small characins (Hemigrammus sp) and pims (blochi and maculatus). After about an hour we headed back to the Amazon Explorer.


Aboard the Skiff

 

Aboard the Skiff

We then set off at 2pm for the Rio Nanay picking up a new generator on the way. After a short trip up the river we laid anchor and took the skiff across to our first village. We lighted and proceeded to follow Dr.Fish ( David Schleser) and Dr.Bird (Devon Graham) through the village. What really enthralled me here was a full-bodied game of football going on between two teams fully rigged out with strips and a commentary going on by megaphone! Nothing changes around the world where football is concerned, not even in the Amazon jungle. We fished, with our nets two shallow blackwater creeks at Padro Cocha where I caught my first catfish, an unusual one for me, a small gold parasitic cat and also small Ancistrus, Hyanuary tetras and a small Pike Cichlid which I later found out to be a male Crenichila lucius. The p.H of the stream was about 6.5 and the temp 75°F.

Our first night on the boat comprised of a meal of pineapples, avocados, carrots, tomatoes and Shovelnose Catfish (dourada), rice and bread, we then finished that off with a few beers. We then fished off the side of the boat and caught a few 10inch Cetopis (parasitic whale cats) I didn't think I would hear myself saying this about a catfish but they were gruesome looking and not the least bit pretty. Retired to bed at 1-15am after a few more beers.

Day 6.

Woke up with a rotten headache this morning, I think due to the noise of the generator, definitely not the beer! The weather so far has been overcast but nice and comfortable (70°-75°F). We had breakfast at 7am and headed down river and berthed at an Indian village of Atun Cocha where the headman of the village informed the party about a forest stream part of the way through the jungle. We walked the jungle path for about 20 minutes and I was enthralled with the amount of Butterflies flying around especially the Morpha which are electric blue and apparently it is illegal to take out of Peru, dead or alive. There was an abundance of different trees, hollow Balsa wood trees and one tree with porcupine type spikes (palm trees), which I can assure you are quite sharp and sore! We at last stopped at the clearwater stream but it was quite disappointing, as we didn't catch too many fish here, another small Pike Cichlid being my only catch. The weather is changing now and is getting quite sunny and hot so on with the sun cream and the silly hat. The water levels are still a bit too high this year and this makes it harder to catch fish.

We made our way back to the Amazon Explorer where we had the 'Dourada' again, done this time in a batter, which was delicious. We now headed again down the Amazon towards the Rio Orosa and stopped in the afternoon at a mud sandbar on the upper Amazon adjacent to a small Village, this was one of the funniest episodes of the trip especially trying to walk the gangplank from the boat and ending up to our knees in mud. If you have ever tried to walk in knee deep mud its not to be recommended especially when you start sinking in it and you suddenly realise that your traveling companions are all taller than you and I'm 6' 1"! I was pulled out by Steve, who by the way was standing on my feet under the mud, and a native boy who must have thought that we were all mad. Then Chris Ralph decided to follow my example and started sinking in the gooey mess and he is only 5ft odd! I don't know how we got him out with all the laughing that was going on, but we managed.

With all the hilarity going on, I never caught any fish. When we got back on board a (cold) shower was definitely on the cards. After we all cleaned up we all sat down to our dinner where the Chef had made a fruit cake which went down well with a cup of tea. We made our way into the Rio Orosa and on to the Madre Selva Forest Preserve, which is run by the Amazonian Project, this area covers 50sq. km. and is one of three on this clearwater tributary.

We berthed by the floating house/office and later started fishing from the deck pulling in Calophsysus macropterus, a large pim which is known as an Amazon vulture and will eat just about anything. We pulled in quite a few large pims here. I retired to bed at midnight after an enjoyable but hectic day and crashed out, apart from the ever-noisy generator of course!

All pictures © Julian Dignall @
Planet Catfish

Follow link to part 3 of An Amazon Adventure

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                                                                                                                             Article updated = January 19, 2018
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