Tuesday, January 4, 2011

GreenTracks Christmas Riverboat Expedition

On the 22nd of December the historic riverboat Clavero set sail from the town of Nauta on a 7day/6 night GreenTracks Riverboat Expedition to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The Clavero was built in 1876 in Paris for the Peruvian Navy where it served as a gunboat, expedition boat and mail carrier. Restored and improved several times, currently the ship has 6 air conditioned cabins, an air conditioned dining room/bar and a top-deck observation area.

Besides enjoying the ambiance of the ship, and a sumptuous Christmas Eve dinner, the intrepid travelers participated in three or four excursions each day. By small boat they spotted a colorful array of birds, explored small creeks and fished for piranha. At night they went out by small boat to look for caiman, where they caught and released a 2 foot-long Black Caiman, and marveled at a star-filled sky and the night sounds of the rainforest. They hiked jungle trails in search of monkeys and saw ten Howler Monkeys, a troop of Squirrel Monkeys and heard Capuchin Monkeys. Oscar, the guide on this trip, pointed out and explained the use of many trees and plants by the people of the rainforest for medicines and construction materials. They also visited to two small villages to see how the local people lived in a rainforest environment and saw crops of bananas, yuca (manioc), papayas and corn.

Here are some photos from the trip. Click on photos to enlarge.

The Clavero on the Samiria River.

The Clavero navigating upriver to explore the rivers and inland lakes and view the diverse wildlife.

Cabins on the Clavero have been painstakingly restored in the style of the 19th century.

The Clavero Dining Room boasts a native hardwood floor and a panoramic view.

Christmas dinner included a turkey, jungle sweet potatoes and Piranha that had been caught that same day.

The giant oriole known as the Crested Oropendola uses hanging nests to protect them from predators.

Massive buttresses support this Ceiba tree, which actually has a very shallow root system.

Blue and Yellow Macaws display their colors in flight.

Famed for its reflective rivers the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is known as the "Espejo de la Selva" or Jungle of Mirrors.

And for good reason. This is the same photo as above, but upside down.

One never knows what will be found when hiking through the rainforest.

The Giant Water Lilies (Victoria Amazonica) can get up to 5 feet in diameter.

Spectacular sunsets are common like this one of a rainy sunset on the Marañón River.

For more information see  GreenTracks Amazon Cruises page.