Our final day's journey down the Rio Madre de Dios brings current realities into perspective. No longer is the river a place of an unspoiled natural wonder. The riversides are now replete with mining operations, & the resultant detritus, dredging for mineral wealth; one can only wonder what transpires beyond the jungle foliage (visual barrier) 100 feet back from the river's edge. The mining licences of many of the operators has long since expired (if ever existed), and the department officials responsible have not the resources to begin to regulate the vast activity. Hence, not much wildlife to see on this 7 hour section of the river - Bummer.
Arrival to riverside Los Amigos dock is at the bottom of a long steep series of stairs to a plateau above the river. Acknowledging the climb may be a bit too ardurous for a lady with a boken foot, there is a motorized chariot awaiting Lidia (& the luggage !) for transport above. Lidia said the ride was so harrowing that she will opt to walk the staircase down at time of departure; rather than meet an early demise on the return descent !
We enter our cabin and realize we are not the only inhabitants ? There are at least 1,000 insects of various species having a convention throughout the cabin (convention hall). We notify site management and a service person arrives to inform us:
1) They don't bite (what a relief)
2) The cleaning crew probably left the door open (good to know they did not break in)
3) He will spray inside while we are at dinner (no mention of a vacuum to remove 1,000+ corpses, clean bedding, or personal gas masks).
We are in need of a shower before dinner, do so, and based on numerous of the winged conventioneers who evidentally felt the same need & so joined us in our showers, I petitioned the site manager for another cabin. He complied and our stay that night, & the next, were much less a shared rooming experience (i.e. bug free).
On a positive note the sunset view from the lodge site about 300 feet above the river looking out over the rain forest was spectacular; photographs just don't do the sight justice. And, the bug-free cabin and dining options were comfortable & tasty, respectively.
Our Audubon Journey draws to a close. Lidia has surpassed 2,000 bird species for her 'Life List' this past week; I'm not sure if that is another 'feather' in her cap ?
Tommorrow we have a rapid river ride to Puerto Maldonado where we are transferred to the airport and the Austin group begins their journey back home. Lidia & I will hang out in Pte. Maldonado for a few days and enjoy 'modern city life'.
Ciao for now.