We have descended down to river level (still 500 meters above sea level) at Atalaya where we boarded our boat for the river journey into the Peruvian Amazonian Basin. The river route will take us along the southeastern border of the Manu Nacional Reserve. This Reserve is 6,627 sq. miles in size (17,163 sq. km.); in comparison the whole state of Connecticut is 5,543 sq mi. We will stay at two different Ecological Reserve sites before reaching the end of the journey at Puerto Maldonado.
The boat has comfortable seating, everyone has a good view, and the roof protects us from the hot sun, and rain if that should happen. As it is near the end of the dry season the river is at a relatively low level. The driver of the boat, and his assistant at the front, take special care when we reach areas of rapids, and when the river spreads out into more wide areas. At times he just lets the boat drift with the river current which will naturally follow the river channel where it is the deepest.
The jungle glides by, at times a couple hundred yards to either side, while birds and other residents go about their business. The sight of the Cayman making his way into the river was a poignant reminder that swimming is not recommended.
Manu Wildlife Center will be our first residency site along the river, where we'll spend two nights and go birding in the area; one notable site being the Blanquillo Clay Lick.
Ciao for now